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Lyme Disease Cases Grossly Underestimated

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Lyme disease is one of the most common infections in the United States, but a recent study published in the journal†Emerging Infectious Diseases†finds that it may afflict far more people than national statistics suggest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2014 nearly 35,000 Americans had probable or confirmed cases of this tick-borne condition, which can produce arthritis symptoms. However, public health officials have long believed that the number of people in this country who develop Lyme disease is far greater. The problem is that the annual estimates are based on reports submitted by labs and health-care providers to state and local health departments. But itís widely believed that many cases are never reported, resulting in an underestimate of how many people actually develop Lyme disease in a given year.

For a more accurate estimate, CDC researchers analyzed a national database of health insurance claims filed by doctors who treated patients with Lyme disease, a source that may be less prone to underreporting. By this estimate, about 329,000 Americans are treated for Lyme disease each year.

Clearly, itís never been more important to take precautions against tick bites (by protecting exposed skin with clothing and/or insect repellent) when outdoors, especially if you live in the Northeast or upper Midwest, where†the majority of Lyme-causing tick bites occur.

Posted in Arthritis on March 11, 2016


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Health After 50 Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the editors cannot be answered in this space.

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Widely unreported and grossly under treated, even if reported. Insurance companies will often deny needed treatment when a doctor is willing to treat Lyme aggressively.

Posted by: Dunenuthin | March 11, 2016 6:34 AM

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