Map: Lyme Disease Cases In Mass., By Town

Click through the Massachusetts town-by-town map of confirmed Lyme disease cases from 2005-2010. This data is current as of June 18, 2010 and is subject to change. The data used in this map was taken from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Related On Confirmed Vs. Non-Confirmed Cases: How Much Lyme Disease Are We Living With?


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  • Jctrader

    The map would be more informative if it were “cases per capita,” rather than overall incidence.  Does Boston have a scary-high incidence, or a very low one?  The map suggests the former, but that’s not so.  For example: the town of Sharon had 19 cases in 2010, across a population of 17,612.  Boston had 32 cases in 2010, across a population of 617,594.  So one in a thousand Sharonites develops Lyme disease, whereas one in 20,000 Bostonians does.  So the incidence rate in Sharon is 20 times as high as it is in Boston.

  • edavis

    It would be helpful if there was also a  map showing cases per 100o or 100,000 people living in each town. In this way we could see if the difference in prevalence was related in part to population density.

  • Cheezaley

    I’d also like to see an overlay with deer populateion

  • Diseasmgmt

    this is precisely the subject of Why Nobody Believes the Numbers, the new book about healthcare innumeracy.  Boston had 45 cases, while Chilmark has less than five.  First, this chart is not adjusted for the town’s population.  Obviously Boston will have the most cases — it has the most people.  Second, the 2010 data was compiled June 18, 2010.  Hardly a complete sample for the year.    Third, I’m sure Chilmark had more than 5  cases in 2010 — I myself know two people who got it.  But both were there for only a couple of weeks and were probably recorded on the charts as being from their home  towns.   Obviously Chilmark is full of ticks –it’s on Martha’s vineyard and there are deer everywhere.   So please try again with the chart but read the book first.

  • listener

    Does this chart show origin of cases, or residence of those infected?  If it’s the latter this doesn’t do anyone much good, since people aren’t passing the disease to each other.  Very useful would be a map showing risk of  infection by area–a map showing incidence of Lyme Disease found in tick population samples per area.  Are they even testing that way?

    • listener

      My point here being people travel wide and far to spend time in the woods, so who knows where they got infected…

      • Kathy C

         I was wondering that too.  Plenty of city dwellers head to the beach and that’s where they might pick up deer ticks. 

  • Keith Forest Brownb

    Has anyone considered the possibility of guinea fowl?  When I first moved here, I would get ticks on me and panic. Someone told me that if I had a few guinea fowl around, the ticks would disappear.  I didn’t believe them. It has been six years now and since the adoption of 3 guinea fowl, I have been tick free.  BTW, I am a farmer and I am out in the woods and fields daily and so are my guinea fowl.  

  • Dannsmith123

    It would help if deer hunting was allowed or a program to reduce the deer population was initiated. Twenty years ago the deer population in this area was dramatically less due to hunting. The deer carry the ticks into the areas where humans are and due to there size they carry and sustain literally THOUSANDS of ticks there by increasing the tick population and the incident of lyme disease. This truly is an epidemic health issue that has gotten little attention or results.

  • Alexander Davis

    Deer are the primary host of the adult egg-laying deer ticks which
    require a blood meal from a large mammal. 
    Each adult tick can lay 3000 eggs which hatch into larvae and then
    nymphs, hosted by small mammals like mice. 
    Going after the deer breaks this cycle. 
    Bridgeport CT, lowering the deer population 74% resulted in a 92% decrease in
    nymphal deer ticks. In Groton CT the deer population was reduced from 77 per
    square mile to 10 per square mile, and the Lyme Disease incidence decreased by
    83%..  As explained in this information, “Simply
    reducing deer numbers to natural levels, without any other actions of any kind
    taken, can eradicate Lyme Disease.”  :


  • Chester

    Jesse,  I noticed it was built with Google Fusion Tables.  Could you provide more details on how you did it?

    • Jcosta

      I just took the 6 years of data given to me by the Department of Public Health and uploaded into Fusion Tables. They really did all the work. I just needed fuse it into another table with visual representation of the towns in Massachusetts. There is lots of documentation on the web about it and the people at Google are friendly and more than helpful on the Fusion Tables Forum.

      • shazdancer

        Wonderful work, Jesse! The Mass DHHS and the state Lyme Commission should hear about this. I have found it very difficult to get the state to pass these stats along, so having them in a convenient form like this really makes it convenient.

        Living in the Berkshires, I find the difference between Great Barrington and surrounding towns compelling. These statistics report confirmed cases that had to have met strict reporting criteria, not just “maybe” cases. Why such a difference? The environment is no different in, say, Sheffield.

        Cases of Lyme simply aren’t being reported as often in these other towns. Which is one of the problems with understanding the serious of this disease. We don’t even know how prevalent it truly is.

      • JL1997

         Is it possible to re-draw this data showing Lyme infections as % of local population, as opposed to just total # of Lyme infections reported?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phyllis-Mervine/823198103 Phyllis Mervine

    It’s instructive to click on each date in succession, starting with 2005, to see how numbers of reported cases rise, then fall dramatically. What happened in 2008 to make 2009 so much “safer”?  That would be the year the new reporting criteria adopted by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (and implemented by the CDC) kicked in. Massachusetts’ number of reported cases showed a 40% drop, from 4,019 in 2008 to 2,380 in 2009– and the incidence fell from 61/100,000 to 36/100,000.

    To join others in your state on an online support and information group, go to http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/massachusettslyme. If you are not in Massachusetts, copy the URL and substitute your own state name.  South Carolinians, insert a hyphen before “lyme.”

    Phyllis Mervine

    • Jcost

       The data is current until June 18, 2010. Apparently there are still cases being reported from 2009 and 2010. Every town, city and county has there own process for reporting which is why I believe the numbers are still subject to change. Looking at the data, the question you need to ask is whether lyme disease is more prevalent in the state or is the reporting just getting better? Or both?

  • Sheila Velazquez

    I live in a town with no reported data, yet two in my family, including myself, were treated for Lyme in 2010. The numbers are obviously underreported.

  • mary

    Very much under reported… since 2005 we have had 5 different cases of lyme in our household, not one was “reported”.

  • Mbstack

    TOTALLY AGREE WITH MARY – cases completed underreported.  Took my friend to hospital a week ago from Scituate and have another friend in Cohasset who has had chronic Lyme’s for years.  Who is keeping a log of this – come on!

  • Vickiconnolly

    underreported and also many inaccurate, false negatives with the basic testing from my understanding.  I wonder how many more people have it that even know…

  • DanP

    I would prefer a map that shows cases per 1000 population.  As it is, Boston looks like a big hotspot, and I think this is misleading.

  • Richard Laferriere

    Nice work compiling the data of confirmed cases in this form. However, I noticed that data from the town of N. Attleboro is missing. Thank you.

    • Jcosta

       Thanks for pointing that out Richard, it’s there now. The lyme and the town data were not linking up. Two different pieces of data with two different spellings… “-boro” & “-borough”

  • benswasey

    Hi, all. Many of you brought up underreported Lyme cases when referencing our map. For more on the disparity between confirmed and non-confirmed cases, WBUR’s Carey Goldberg has this piece: 
    http://www.wbur.org/2012/06/28/lyme-prevalence - Thanks. 

  • Jerryleonard999

    very interesting maps:

    Did Lyme Disease Come From Plum Island?

    • Manduhai

       Plum Island, Connecticut