A single tick bite can have debilitating consequences. Lyme disease is the most common disease carried by ticks in the United States, and the number of those afflicted is growing steadily—from 10,000 reported cases in 1992 to 30,000 in 2009. If caught early, Lyme and other diseases spread by ticks—known as tick-borne diseases—usually cause only mild symptoms and can be treated easily; however, if left untreated, these diseases can cause severe pain, fatigue, neurological problems, and other serious health problems.
At the request of the National Institutes of Health, the IOM held a workshop October 11-12, 2010, to examine the state of the science in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Speakers discussed current research and knowledge gaps; criteria for diagnosing tick-borne diseases; the groups most vulnerable to acquiring tick-borne diseases; and the experiences of those with tick-borne diseases. This document summarizes the workshop.