A new estimate on Lyme disease suggests that about 300,000 Americans are sickened each year, which is about 10 times higher than the number of cases reported, according to an analysis of the latest information by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Scientists from the agency base their projection on findings from three ongoing studies that are designed to better gauge the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. CDC researchers reported the preliminary findings yesterday at a tickborne disease conference in Boston.
Ongoing studies are based on medical claims information for about 22 million insured people, a survey of clinical laboratories, and self-reported Lyme disease cases from a survey of the general public, the CDC said in a press release today.
Paul Mead, MD, MPH, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for the CDC's Lyme disease program, said in the statement that routine surveillance shows only part of the picture and that the real number of Lyme cases is much greater. "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," he said.
Most Lyme disease infections reported through the CDC's national surveillance system are from the Northeast and Upper Midwest, according to the CDC. Almost all cases are reported from 13 states.Mike Coston at Avian Flu Diary also has the story.