CDC: Lyme Disease 10x More Common That Previously Thought - WSPA.com

CDC: Lyme Disease 10x More Common That Previously Thought

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Health officials say Lyme disease is about 10 times more common than previously reported. The new findings aren't surprising to one Upstate Man. 

Buddy Murray has been battling with Lyme Disease since 1999 after he was bitten by ticks in Fletcher, North Carolina.

"It's like the worst case of flu you've ever had," says Buddy Murray.

Murray says many in the Carolinas may not realize they've been bitten by a tick with Lyme disease because Deer ticks that carry the disease are rare here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Previously, the CDC said the number ranged from 20,000 to 30,000. But CDC officials have known that doctors don't report every case, and the true count was probably much higher.

The CDC surveyed labs and reviewed insurance information to come up with a better estimate, which was released Monday.

“We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater,” said Paul Mead, M.D., M.P.H, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC’s Lyme disease program. “This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.”

Click here to read the entire report from the CDC.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted through the bites of infected deer ticks. Symptoms include fever, headache and fatigue. It is treated with antibiotics.

In the U.S., cases are most common in the Northeast.

The CDC recommends people take steps to help prevent Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases:

  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks daily
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

“We know people can prevent tick bites through steps like using repellents and tick checks. Although these measures are effective, they aren’t fail-proof and people don’t always use them,” said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem.”

To remove a tick pull it out gently with tweezers. Ticks can be sent off for testing if the tick is kept alive.

For more information on Lyme disease, click here.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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