Is Lyme Disease Contagious?

Are Tick Bites the Only Source of Lyme Disease?

Know someone with Lyme disease? You may be wondering if it’s safe to get close to a partner or child who is currently suffering Lyme disease. Or you may have gotten the disease yourself and worry about infecting others! Either way, here’s a rundown of how and when people are at risk of contracting Lyme disease…and you’ll be relieved to know, the list of ways to get Lyme disease is pretty limited.

 

Are there other ways to get Lyme disease? 

There is no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person-to-person. For example, a person cannot get infected from touching, kissing, or having sex with a person who has Lyme disease.

Lyme disease acquired during pregnancy may lead to infection of the placenta and possible stillbirth; however, no negative effects on the fetus have been found when the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment. There are no reports of Lyme disease transmission from breast milk.

Although no cases of Lyme disease have been linked to blood transfusion, scientists have found that the Lyme disease bacteria can live in blood that is stored for donation. Individuals being treated for Lyme disease with an antibiotic should not donate blood. Individuals who have completed antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease may be considered as potential blood donors. Information on the current criteria for blood donation is available on the Red Cross website.

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals.

You will not get Lyme disease from eating venison or squirrel meat, but in keeping with general food safety principles, always cook meat thoroughly. Note that hunting and dressing deer or squirrels may bring you into close contact with infected ticks.

There is no credible evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted through air, food, water, or from the bites of mosquitoes, flies, fleas, or lice.

Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).
– via www.cdc.gov

What About the Connection Between Humans and Dogs with Lyme Disease?

Not only are humans at risk of getting Lyme disease from ticks, but our furry friends are at risk as well. Although there is no evidence of Lyme disease spreading from a human to a dog (or vice versa), you’re both at risk together if you spend time outdoors. If you don’t want yourself or your dogs to get Lyme disease, preventive measures really are important. Let’s take a closer look at how Lyme disease can spread to either you or to your pooch.

Even though the vector tick is called the deer tick, its feeding habits are not restricted to deer. They also feed on dogs and so are frequently in close proximity to people who have dogs. There is no evidence that Lyme disease can spread directly from dogs to humans. However, the same type of tick that could infect a dog can also feed on people. There is a potential for humans to be infected due to the fact that we tend to spend time in the same places as our dogs do. If our dogs are picking up ticks, we certainly could be as well.

When are people likely to be affected by Lyme disease?

In a 2011 CDC study, it was determined that there is a definite association between the incidence of canine infections and human infections. CAPC reports some of the findings from that study:

“Human Lyme disease incidence was effectively zero when the canine seroprevalence was <1.3 percent.”

“Among 14 states with canine seroprevalence >5 percent, median annual human Lyme disease incidence was about 100-fold higher (24.1 cases/100,000 population) and positively correlated with canine seroprevalence.”

In other words, in places where Lyme is more common in dogs it’s also more common in people.

Dogs in endemic areas should be tested yearly. A positive test demonstrates that vector ticks may be present and have the ability to transmit disease to humans. Aggressive tick prevention and control should be practiced everywhere but particularly in areas where these diseases have been demonstrated to exist. Vaccination for Lyme disease is more controversial, but many experts recommend vaccination especially in Lyme endemic areas. – via Pet Health Network

Do you or someone you know currently have Lyme disease?