U.S. Lyme disease cases vastly underreported - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

U.S. Lyme disease cases vastly underreported

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Lilli Day © iStockphoto.com / Lilli Day

MONDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- About 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, which is about 10 times higher than the number of cases reported each year to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a new report.

The findings are from three ongoing CDC studies that are using different methods to determine the number of Americans diagnosed with the tick-borne disease each year.

One study is analyzing six years of annual medical claims information from about 22 million people, another is based on a survey of clinical laboratories and the third is an analysis of self-reported Lyme disease cases from a survey of the general public.

More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the nation. However, these new findings suggest that this figure is well below the actual number of cases.

"We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater," Dr. Paul Mead, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC's Lyme disease program, said in a CDC news release. "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."

Most Lyme disease cases reported to the CDC occur in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of cases occurring in 13 states, according to the news release.

The preliminary estimates were presented Sunday at an international conference on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, held in Boston. The final estimates will be released when the studies are completed.

In addition, the CDC and other researchers are trying to find new ways to kill ticks and prevent tick-borne illnesses in people.

"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," Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of CDC's division of vector-borne diseases, said in the news release. "We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem."

A community approach would include homeowners trying to kill ticks in their own yards, and communities tackling a number of issues, such as rodents that carry the Lyme disease bacteria, deer that play a role in the ticks' lifecycle, suburban planning, and the interaction between people, deer, rodents and ticks.

The bacterium that causes Lyme disease is transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye type rash. Left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

To prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, the CDC advises people to: use insect repellant; check for ticks daily; shower soon after being outdoors; and call their doctor if they get a fever or rash.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about Lyme disease.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Stopping Tinnitus In Its Tracks

    Stopping Tinnitus In Its Tracks

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:15:06 GMT
    Terry Price had tinnitus: a constant high-pitched ringing in the ears. He had to give up music and even contemplated retiring. Now, researchers are planning a clinical trial to test Vagus nerve stimulation.
    more>>
    Terry Price had tinnitus: a constant high-pitched ringing in the ears. He had to give up music and even contemplated retiring. Now, researchers are planning a clinical trial to test Vagus nerve stimulation.

    more>>
  • Growing Stem Cells In Space?

    Growing Stem Cells In Space?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:15:09 GMT
    Hemorrhagic stroke is responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths. It happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.more>>
    Hemorrhagic stroke is responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths. It happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.more>>
  • New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:00:21 GMT
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.
    more>>
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.

    more>>
  • Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:15 PM EDT2014-04-21 22:15:09 GMT
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.
    more>>
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.

    more>>
  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.