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Risk Factors for Lyme Disease

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Lyme Disease

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem.

A person can develop Lyme disease with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

Lyme disease comes from a Lyme disease-infected tick. There is a risk in any area where there are ticks. Other things that raise the risk are:

Geographic Location

In the United States, Lyme disease is found most often in:

  • The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic—Maine to Maryland
  • The North Central region—Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • The Pacific Northwest—northwestern California and Oregon

Time of Year

Ticks are most active in warmer months. This varies from region to region, based on the temperature.

  • Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central US—Risk is higher between April and November.
  • Southern U.S.—Ticks are active year-round.
  • Other areas vary, based on the temperature.

Outdoor Activities

The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher in those who:

  • Work outdoors in jobs—such as surveying, landscaping, forestry, gardening, and utility service
  • Do outdoor activities—such as hiking, camping, hunting, and gardening


Ticks that carry Lyme disease are more apt to live in wet, green, brushy, or wooded areas. They are less likely to be near pruned, well-cared-for plants. Living near or visiting wooded or brushy areas can increase your risk.


Lyme disease is most common in children 5 to 9 years old, and adults between 55 to 69 years old. This is likely due to outdoor activities that expose them to ticks.


  • About Lyme disease. Lyme Disease website. Available at: https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/about-lyme. Accessed November 11, 2021.
  • Lyme disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed November 11, 2021.
  • Lyme disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/lyme-disease. Accessed November 11, 2021.
  • Transmission. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html. Accessed November 11, 2021.


  • David L. Horn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.