Children in Vermont are at high risk for contracting a tickborne disease. According to the CDC, the highest Lyme disease infection rates occur in children, ages 5 to 15. Of the over 300,000 people infected in the U.S. each year, one in four is a child.

Pediatric Lyme and tickborne diseases may have unique presentations and symptoms. For example, the Vermont Department of Health’s 2014 Lyme Surveillance Report showed less than half of Vermont children with a confirmed case of Lyme disease had a “Bulls-Eye” rash.

In addition to well-known symptoms such as joint pain and fever, children with Lyme disease may have:

  • Mood Swings
  • Vision Problems
  • Headaches and Stomachaches
  • Hyperactivity/ADHD Symptoms
  • Autism-like Behaviors
  • Oppositional Behaviors
  • Self-Mutilating Behaviors
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Trouble with Processing Speed and Memory
  • Vocal/Motor Tics
  • Sudden Onset Anxiety Disorders
  • Light and Sound Sensitivity
  • Difficulty Focusing
  • Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Irregular Rashes
  • Lethargy

Young children may not recognize or volunteer these signs and symptoms. School Nurses and Educators are in a unique position to recognize tickborne diseases in children. Please share resources with your child’s school and community.

 “Some of these symptoms may be very subtle, so it is difficult for [parents and] teachers to realize that they are dealing with a sick child, rather than a child who is daydreaming, or simply trying to avoid his school work.”
—S. Berenbaum, LCSW