Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, specifically the black-legged or deer tick. The life cycle of Lyme disease involves both the bacteria and the tick.
Here are the stages of the Lyme disease life cycle:
- Tick larvae: The tick larvae hatch from eggs in the late summer or early fall and are not infected with the bacteria at this stage.
- Tick nymph: The larvae molt into nymphs the following spring and summer. Nymphs are the most common tick to bite humans and are most active during the warmer months. If a nymph tick is infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, it can transmit the bacteria to humans during its bite.
- Adult tick: Nymphs that have fed and molted become adult ticks in the fall. Adult ticks are larger and more visible than nymphs and are also active during the warmer months. If an adult tick is infected with the bacteria, it can also transmit the bacteria to humans during its bite.
- Humans: If a tick bites a human and transmits the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the bacteria can cause Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a rash, fever, headache, fatigue, and joint pain.
- Host animals: Ticks can also bite and infect animals, such as deer and rodents, which can serve as hosts for the bacteria.
Overall, the life cycle of Lyme disease involves the transmission of the bacteria from infected ticks to humans or other animals, which can then spread the bacteria to other ticks and continue the cycle.