When, in the spring of 2019, I moved to rural Massachusetts to be with my soon-to-be fiancée, the first thing I learned to do was look for ticks. Before you went inside, you checked—arms, legs, any exposed skin. Sometimes they came in on our housemate’s dog; once, my wife plucked one from the housemate’s scalp, then stored it in the freezer in a Ziploc bag. If the housemate began to run a fever, or break out with a bull’s eye rash, the doctors could test the tick for Lyme.
Every year, half-a-million Americans contract Lyme disease. Reported cases have grown since the 1990s; originally endemic to New England (it is named for Lyme, Connecticut), Lyme has begun appearing across the Midwest and as far afield as Alaska. For most patients, Lyme is unpleasant—fever, chills, headaches, the usual—but not life threatening. A few weeks of antibiotics, and they’re back to their old selves.
Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
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