During the late 1970's, an outbreak of what was then called "Lyme Arthritis" in and around Lyme Connecticut, started the events that have become a nightmare for those stricken with it and has since spread from coast to coast. .
In 1981, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer and colleagues, managed to isolate the source as a corkscrew spirochete transferred to humans from ticks. They named the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, after its founder Dr. Burgdorfer. This was three years after it was discovered the Ixodes dammini tick (now called Ixodes scapularis) was the vector of this terrible disease. In 1992, the medical community accepted the name "Lyme Disease". Dr. Burgdorfer himself contracted the disease, possibly from the infected urine of lab rabbits. (9).
Exactly where this organism originated, and how long it has been infecting people around the world, no one knows. Signs and symptoms, similar to how Lyme disease manifests itself, has been described in European literature as far back as the early 1700's. A German doctor described Lyme disease in the early 1880's, and in great detail in the 1900's by the Swedish physician, Avid Afzelius. Doctor Afzelius described the "ring like lesion" (Erytheme migrans Afzelius) and his belief the disease was transmitted by the bite of the Ixodes tick. It is, however, speculated that infected ticks came to North American ports via imported furs over a century ago. As the population expanded, so did the disease. (9).
We now know that Lyme disease has been proven to be spread by other vectors as well as the Ixodes dammini tick. It is also spread by the; Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes pacificus, Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, Ixodes neotomae, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris ticks. There are also new types of vectors besides the tick spreading the disease, such as: the flea, the mosquito, squirrels, mice, raccoons, rabbits, birds, and even some dogs and cats.