ATLANTA (AP) - Lyme disease is about 10 times more common than previously
reported, health officials said Monday.
As many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each
year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.
Usually, only 20,000 to 30,000 illnesses are reported each year. For many
years, CDC officials have known that many doctors donít report every case
and that the true count was probably much higher.
The new figure is the CDCís most comprehensive attempt at a better estimate.
The number comes from a survey of seven national laboratories, a national
patient survey and a review of insurance information.
ďItís giving us a fuller picture and itís not a pleasing one,Ē said Dr. Paul
Mead, who oversees the agencyís tracking of Lyme disease.
The ailment is named after Lyme, Conn., where the illness was first
identified in 1975. Itís a bacteria transmitted through the bites of
infected deer ticks, which can be about the size of a poppy seed.
Symptoms include a fever, headache and fatigue and sometimes a telltale rash
that looks like a bullís-eye centered on the tick bite. Most people recover
with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can cause arthritis and
more severe problems.
Online: CDC report: