The number of Northeast counties where the risk of Lyme disease is at least twice the national average skyrocketed from 43 in 1993-1997 to 182 in 2008-2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. In some instances, Lyme disease can be fatal.
The disease is transmitted through the bites of infected deer ticks, which can be about the size of a poppy seed. The CDC found high-risk counties in 17 states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota.
The New York State Department of Health further explains that the disease can affect any age group especially individuals exposed in woody and grassy environments, most actively during the summer time. “Despite the substantial increase in the number of counties with high incidence, the limited movement of the geographic centers suggests relatively constant rates of geographic expansion in all accessible directions”.
Now Kelley has tremors, psychological issues, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, organ issues and she hasn’t been able to work for the past 8 years. More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC every year, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States, the CDC says.
A young pop singer who battled Lyme disease was recently on the cover of People magazine.
These include infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, irregular heart rhythms, arthritis, and problems with memory and concentration.
Some counties have dropped off the high-risk list, including those in Virginia, Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina where significant clusters were reported in the 1990s. It was 80 percent effective after two booster shots.
Another manufacturer had developed a second promising vaccine at the time, but it never pursued licensing following their competitor’s lawsuits. “It’s then sent to the lab. Depending on the patient’s needs – if they need a consultation with neurology or, if it’s a more complex case, an infectious disease doctor – we have the ability to coordinate that as well”.
The CDC study also found that Lyme disease is increasingly creeping south and west, though as you can see from the first map, cases remain concentrated in areas already recognized as hotbeds for the infection.