The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public that Lyme disease may be much more common than once thought. At a recent conference on tick-borne diseases, CDC officials shared that there might be as many as 300,000 people infected with Lyme disease in a given year, even though annual reported cases average around 20,000 to 30,000.
The CDC came up with this shocking new number after analyzing several national laboratories and reviewing patient surveys and insurance statistics. According to the CDC’s press release on the matter, the results suggest that the “true number of cases” might be as much as 12 times higher than what’s reported. “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,” Paul Mead, M.D., M.P.H., chief of epidemiology and surveillance for the research initiative, is quoted as saying.
The press release also states that Lyme disease is most reported in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions. Symptoms to watch out for include fever, low energy, headache, and a telltale skin rash. As the CDC continues researching Lyme disease and its scope, it suggests that the public take pains to avoid infection by wearing repellent, doing tick checks every day, showering after spending time outside, and getting any fevers or rashes checked out by a doctor.