Lyme Disease Much More Common Than Previously Thought: New CDC Estimates 300,000 Cases Annually

By Chris Weller on August 19, 2013 4:15 PM EDT

Deer ticks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data claiming the previous figures of 30,000 Lyme disease diagnoses were low by a factor of 10. (Photo: Flickr, fairfaxcounty)

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is nearly 10 times higher than previous estimates. A series of varied, ongoing studies places the new total around 300,000 annual cases, CDC said in a statement.

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Word of the new data came Sunday night at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases, where experts from various fields — including veterinarians, ecologists, clinical researchers, and entomologists —gathered to share discoveries and advances related to tick-borne diseases. It was there that news broke about three ongoing studies expanding the previous estimate of 30,000 annual cases of Lyme disease to 300,000.

"We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater," said Paul Mead, M.D., M.P.H., chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC's Lyme disease program. "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."

Read the rest at MedicalDaily.com.

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