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Published On: Mon, Aug 19th, 2013

CDC estimates 300,000 Lyme disease cases diagnosed annually in US

Preliminary estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. The preliminary estimates were presented Sunday night in Boston at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases.

This 2007 photograph depicts the pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye”, which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman’s posterior right upper arm, who’d subsequently contracted Lyme disease. Image/CDC/ James Gathany

This 2007 photograph depicts the pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye”, which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman’s posterior right upper arm, who’d subsequently contracted Lyme disease.
Image/CDC/ James Gathany

According to a press release today, the federal health agency says the early estimate is based on findings from three ongoing CDC studies that use different methods, but all aim to define the approximate number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. The new estimate suggests that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number. 

“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.”

Most Lyme disease cases reported to CDC through national surveillance are concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of cases in 13 states, according to the release.

Related Story: Common Lone Star Tick implicated in Lyme Disease bacteria found in southerners

“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,” said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem.”

The CDC says Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.

''black-legged ticks'', Ixodes scapularis Image/CDC

”black-legged ticks”, Ixodes scapularis
Image/CDC

Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods says the CDC. In addition, they say most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics; however, these claims are hotly contested by Lyme disease advocates.

LISTEN: A few words on the Maine Lyme disease law, LD597, with MaineLyme.org President Constance Dickey

CDC recommends people take steps to help prevent Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases:

  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks daily
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today.

Displaying 25 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. […] and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That makes Lyme disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than […]

  2. […] far as Lyme disease, the Maine CDC reported  1,285 confirmed and probable cases in 2013 compared to 1,111 in […]

  3. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more […]

  4. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more […]

  5. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  6. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  7. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  8. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  9. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  10. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  11. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme diseaseare diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  12. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  13. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  14. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  15. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  16. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  17. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  18. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  19. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  20. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  21. […] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more go […]

  22. […] disease has been a big topic in the media lately after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released preliminary estimates of prevalence of Lyme disease, which revealed numbers that were 10-times more […]

  23. […] Carlson’s infection comes at the same time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released it’s preliminary estimates of the disease at 300,000 people […]

  24. Pine 4 Better Daze says:

    Is Lyme disease something we can thank the U.S. government for??!
    In a season 2 premiere of ‘Conspiracy Theory’ ( With Jesse Ventura ), on tru-TV on Oct.
    15, 2010, Ventura did a program with a report on Plum Island. The Plum Island animal
    research lab and animal disease center, located off of the northeast tip of Long Island,
    New York, was apparently involved in bio-weapons research from its inception.
    The facility on Plum Island was started by the U.S. Army after WW II and is now under DHS
    with more than 1,300 labs (germ labs) all over the country.
    Dr. Eric Traub, former Nazi scientist, was brought to the U.S. after WW II to set up a
    ‘germ-warfare lab’ at Pum Island. As an incubator facility for germ warfare, mosquitos
    and wood ticks were used to carry disease….
    Lyme disease was named after Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first reported. And it
    so happens that Lyme, Conn. is across Long Island Sound from Plum Island.
    Plum Island may have been the source of Lyme disease carried by ticks and infected
    ticks from experiments done there may have been spread by birds.

    Plum Island apparently infected ticks with all types of diseases, including anthrax. An
    accident at the facility in 1978 involved hoof-and-mouth disease. Livestock are kept
    in pens on the island.
    A fired employee had safety issues at the facility when there was a power failure and
    they used duct tape to “seal” doors in lab buildings.
    On the program, the chief scientist at Plum Island, Dr. Roger Breeze, when confronted
    by Jesse Ventura, admitted that infectious disease could be spread by people working
    at the island.
    In light of the disturbing reports about Plum Island, the facility has moved and now has a new home in Manhattan, KS: the ‘National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility.’ Building
    a ‘bigger, more dangerous’ facility in the middle of the country was a bad idea because
    any outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in the middle of cattle country could be
    disastrous and any outbreak of infectious disease from there could be serious.
    Congress made the decision to build “NBAF’ there, but politics and big money may have been behind the move to Kansas!

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