Lyme Disease Risk Anticipated Higher in 2017

“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,” Mead added.

Researchers often describe Lyme as the “Great Imitator,” because its symptoms can vary widely from person to person.  Additionally, Lyme warning signs mimic other diseases, often confounding health care providers.

Once seen only in the New England area and in a small portion of the state of Wisconsin, Lyme disease is now recorded across the U.S. and has also been identified in 60 other countries around the world.  However, the disease is still clustered mainly in these 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What to do about Lyme disease is being debated by scientists and others.  However, researchers agree that Lyme disease is not going away.  “I think we’ll just keep seeing more and more,” said John Aucott, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.

“Alan Taege, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Infectious Disease, concurs with this assessment and also attributes the weather to the spread of Lyme. “With more of a warming trend … we’ll see an increase in cases during the winter months,” said Dr. Taege.  “If you look at comparative numbers from 15 years ago, you can say it’s true now.”