Lyme disease transmission to humans by Ixodes ticks is thought to require at least 36-48 hours of tick attachment.
We describe 3 cases in which transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, appears to have occurred in less than 24 hours based on the degree of tick engorgement, clinical signs of acute infection, and immunologic evidence of acute Lyme disease.
Health care providers and individuals exposed to ticks should be aware that transmission of Lyme disease may occur more rapidly than animal models suggest.
A diagnosis of Lyme disease should not be ruled out based on a short tick attachment time in a subject with clinical evidence of B. burgdorferi infection.
Source: Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Nov 20, 2011. PMID:22104184, by Hynote ED, Mervine PC, Stricker RB. International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.