Routes of transmission

How is Lyme disease transmitted?

  • Via insect/tick vector
  • Blood transfusion
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Vertical/transplacental

In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more and have taken a blood meal before the Lyme disease bacteria can be transmitted. Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs as they are smaller and remain undetected for longer. Nymphs are less than 2 mm and start to feed during the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, but they are much larger are usually detected before transmission of disease can occur.

Although relatively rare, the transmission of Lyme disease can occur via unprotected sexual intercourse and via vertical transmission from mother to child.

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