While first named after the town here in the Nutmeg State where a case was diagnosed, the disease has been around since at least the last (until the next one, now predicted for 2027) ice age, and at least one British parasitologist worries that it’s the fastest spreading nasty in Europe.
On any ranked list of nasty diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas in the Western world, Borrelia burgdorferi, would have to lie near the top.
These bacteria cause Lyme disease, which was first recognised in the US in the early 1970s among patients in Lyme, Connecticut.
However, the oldest known case was the Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman – a 5,300-year-old Copper-age mummified individual – discovered in the Italian Alps.
Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing diseases in the Western world – the threat it poses has become increasingly apparent in recent years.
Estimates suggest that more than 300,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in the US and more than 65,000 cases a year are diagnosed in Europe.
What a political science expert knows about non-human parasites is open to question, but I was struck by this suggestion from a layman that the disease may be caused by incest. Who knew?