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Contact For LYME Disease Information  |                                                                                                                                                                 
Lyme Disease in Interior Western States
November 2010


Lyme disease information for Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah
is very limited. The disease has been reported in all of these states but the
numbers of cases have been few, either because the disease is indeed
rare or reporting procedures are flawed.

Reporting requires meeting CDC testing criteria which are based on East
Coast Lyme cases. The differing strains of Lyme disease found on the
West Coast may make this reporting procedure of questionable value
and misleading to both patients and physicians.  For this reason, the
relatively few CDC cases that have been reported for surveillance
purposes are omitted.

Health authorities in these states tend to be minimally informed about
Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. Information for online
support groups is provided at the end of  this article.


Mapping the national distribution of blacklegged ticks in 1998.
This map clearly shows a trend from southern California to southern
Nevada, northernArizona, and western Utah. An interesting aspect of
this map is that it is based on data compiled by David Dennis and
others at the CDC.  At the time, David Dennis was the Lyme disease
information officer at the CDC. It was also done at a time when Lyme
information was more truthful, before the information on Lyme disease
became distorted in about 2003 to accommodate insurers, pharmaceutical
companies, and the failed Lyme vaccine as well as CDC employees
with Lyme disease testing and vaccine patents.

Where tick-borne diseases are found (from IDEXX, a veterinarian testing
laboratory). Readers should note that in states where Lyme disease is
downplayed by health authorities or not generally recognized,
veterinarians tend to not order Lyme disease tests. Hence, results
are directly impacted by the low numbers of Lyme disease tests ordered.


Arizona’s denial of Lyme disease is contradicted by the canine cases
reported by IDEXX (link above). It is also contradicted by the CDC
report mapping the presence of Ixodes ticks, the ticks that carry Lyme
disease, in Arizona in the article referenced above -
Mapping the national distribution of blacklegged ticks in 1998.”

Arizona Department of Health Services
An important update, April 2013, by the ADHS acknowledging Lyme
disease in Arizona and presence of the vector tick.

Tina Garcia’s story states the situation in Arizona very well.

Arizona Lyme Disease Association
Support groups are located in Phoenix, Tucson, and Northern Arizona.


Information provided by Idaho health care authorities is virtually
nonexistent.  Lyme disease and other tick borne infections are
reportable in Idaho.. It is presumed that Lyme cases must meet
CDC testing criteria which results in very low numbers of reported

Panhandle Health District

Idaho Lyme Disease Support Group


Until very recently, Montana has not had a reported case of Lyme
disease.  According to research, the Ixodes ticks that are known
to harbor Lyme disease have not been found in Montana.

There have been a significant number of reports about an illness
mimicking Lyme disease in and around the Yellowstone National
Park area. A recent hypothesis is that Lyme disease may be carried
in another form by another type of tick. It may also be a reason why
CDC recommended tests fail to pick up the disease and that Lyme
treatments work for this illness.

Montana is to be commended for their openmindedness and investigation
of this manifestation.

Montana Public Health 2007

Montana Lab Tries to Identify Tick-Borne Disease, New York Times 2003

Mysterious tick disease afflicts Montana 2003

Tick borne disease in Montana, The Missoulian 2004

Out-of-state bites boost Lyme disease cases, Billings Gazette 2009
(Note; Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC offers his biased and misinformed views.)

Sleuthing Mysterious Tickborne Disease a Chilling Endeavor 2004,
Montana Dept. of Public Health

Bitterroot home to tick that carries bacteria for relapsing fever - NBC report January 2015
Tickborne Relapsing Fever, Bitterroot Valley, Montana, USA - CDC report February 2015


Information for Lyme disease in Nevada is scarce.

The CDC map above, “Mapping the national distribution of
blacklegged ticks in 1998,”
shows the southern counties adjoining
Arizona and Utah as having Ixodes ticks. The study “Spacial Patterns 
of Lyme Disease Risk in California”

() shows the counties near
Lake Tahoe as being favoraable habitat for the Ixodes pacificus
tick that carries Lyme disease. The IDEXX map of reported canine cases
shows cases noted in Nevada, fewer than Arizona and Oregon but greater
than Idaho and Washington.

There is little doubt that Lyme disease is in Nevada, but with no specific
studies the extent cannot be determined.

Nevada State Health Division


Nonprofit warning Utahns about Lyme disease risk, symptoms
Information about preventing and correctly identifying Lyme disease
This is an excellent article about Lyme Disease in Utah.

Utah Lyme Disease Alliance (ULDA)
Lyme disease, scientific name BORRELIOSIS, IS FOUND in Utah.

Ticks of the Genus Ixodes in Utah - 1960

This excellent study by Brigham Young University, although dated,
compiles Ixodes tick information for Utah. This study was done before
Lyme disease was recognized in the United States. Pages 37-39
provide detailed maps of Ixodes tick distribution in the 1950's. Without
intervention, tick populations can increase both in terms of numbers and
in geographical distribution.

Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in Ixodes pacificus

Note; Examines genetic variation in tick populations of western states.

Map of areas studied -

This map clearly shows western Utah as endemic for Lyme disease.

See also the map referenced above in the “Maps” section.
“Mapping the national distribution of blacklegged ticks in 1998.”

From The Utah Department of Health – March 2010…

“Most people who have Lyme disease in Utah were actually bitten by
a tick from another state.”

The Utah Department of Health is obviously not well informed about Lyme
disease.  They rely on CDC test recommendations including the extremely
poor Lyme ELISA screening test.
The Lyme ELISA is based on a single East Coast strain. The strain
variations in the West may make the test even less accurate or totally insensitive.

The Lyme disease information provided by the Utah Department of Health
has many incorrect statements such as “About 70-80% will have a red macule
or papule that expands slowly in a circular manner, often with a central
clearing (referred to as a “bulls-eye” rash).” Studies have shown that the
rashes are much  fewer than 70-80% and that the rash is not always a classic
“bulls-eye.” The information is also otherwise flawed.

Woman walks again after missed Lyme disease diagnosis Nov. 2012
(The comments following the article may also be helpful.)

Chronic Lyme disease hobbles Spanish Fork woman Dec. 28, 2009

A comment found on the Internet…
I'm in Alpine. I'm CDC positive as is stated on my lab reports through
LabCorp. This disease is in Utah and has been for many years as is
seen in the case of Jennica Noorlander in March 1993, Deseret News,
and a woman sited in a case study entitled, "Stillbirth Following Maternal
Lyme Disease." This study involves a woman who was bitten on a hike
in the Wasatch Mountains in 1984. It is written by Alan MacDonald, MD,
Jorge Benach, PhD. and Willy Burgdorfer, PhD in 1987 in the New York
State Journal of Medicine, Volume 87. Willy Burgdorfer just so
happens to be the person the Lyme bacteria was named for as he
is the one who found the bacteria.

Utah Lyme Disease Support Group 

Online Support Groups


    This is a reference and support group for Lyme (and associated
    diseases) patients,
 their care givers, medical professionals, and
    anyone else interested in  knowing  more
 about this disease and
    how to cope with it. We are a service of the  Arizona Lyme
    Association (AZLDA), a branch of the national Lyme  Disease
    Members: 174
    Created: 4 years ago 

    Idaho Online Lyme Support is a virtual meeting place and source for
    information and
emotional support for people with Lyme and other
    tick-borne diseases living in Idaho.
    19 Members, Archives: Membership required

    Montana Lyme Support is a virtual meeting place and source for
    information and
 emotional support for people with Lyme.  Please
    note: the moderator of this group
caught Lyme in Montana!!!
    Members: 16
    Created: 3 years ago

    Nevada Online Lyme Support is a virtual meeting place for people with
    Lyme and other
 tick-borne diseases living in Nevada.
    Members: 19
    Created: 3 years ago

    Utah Online Lyme Support is a virtual meeting place for people with
    Lyme and other
 tick-borne diseases living in Utah - even if you acquired
    it somewhere else.
    Members: 61                           
    Created: 3 years ago

Geographic Distribution of Ticks in the United States - CDC Maps 2012 In Copyright since 2000