Lyme Disease Detected in Nebraska

On December 10, 2021, a joint news release by Winnebago Public Health Department and Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department was published by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Nebraska announcing that Borrelia burgdorferi has been detected for the first time in the State in both ticks and humans in Thurston County. Thurston is the fourth County to record populations of  blacklegged ticks in Nebraska. Other counties with recorded populations of blacklegged ticks include Douglas, Sarpy, and Saunders. These counties were identified in 2019. 

This news release describes the first detection of Borrelia burgdorferi in Nebraska’s blacklegged tick populations, as well as documenting two locally acquired cases of Lyme disease in humans.

A coordinated investigation took place between DHHS, the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, the Winnebago Public Health Department and other state public health partners. Two patients who had reported positive for Lyme disease had also reported possible exposure to ticks during the same time frame and in proximity to one another in Thurston County. A subset of ticks collected in these areas were sent to both the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Disease and Creighton University for testing and confirmation of the B. burgdorferi  bacteria in these specimens.

In the interest of public health and prevention, Nebraska DHHS also issued a Health Alert Network Advisory to primary care, infectious disease, laboratories, infection control, and public health in the state alerting to the presence of multiple tick-borne diseases in the state.

Read the full press release here

Read the Health Alert Network Advisory here

Read more LDA articles on ticks & TBDs in Nebraska here