CDC revises Lyme Disease Estimate to 300,000 New Cases per Year

Deer Ticks on Long Island

Lyme disease actually affects 300,000 people per year according to new estimates released by federal health officials, which is 10 times higher than previously thought. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the new estimates at the International Conference on Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases. There are normally 20,000 to 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported annually making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the country, yet CDC officials have speculated that many doctors do not report every case of Lyme disease and that the actual count was much higher.

Lyme disease is named after Lyme, Conn., where the illness was first identified in 1975 and is a bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick, which can be about the size of a poppy seed. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a fever, headache and fatigue and sometimes a telltale rash that looks like a bull's-eye centered on the tick bite. Most people recover with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can cause arthritis and more severe problems.

A majority of the Lyme disease cases in the United States have been reported in 13 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

To prevent against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases like babesiosis, rickettsiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the CDC urges people to wear insect repellant, check themselves daily for ticks and shower soon after being outdoors.

If you find a tick, use a fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure as to not twist or jerk the insect so parts don't break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water. Stay clear of "folklore remedies," says the CDC, including painting the tick with nail polish or Vaseline, or using fire or heat to detach the tick from skin.

The agency added that efforts are underway to identify new methods to kill these ticks and prevent the disease in people. Community approaches like tasking homeowners to try to kill ticks in their own yards, or local efforts towards disrupting the disease's life-cycle between deer, rodents (which can carry Lyme bacteria), ticks and humans could help reduce risk. "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," Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said in the press release. "We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem."

Contact Top Quality Exterminating if you suspect you have ticks or to obtain a FREE no-obligation quote. Our pest control technicians are qualified to recognize the signs of a tick infestation and take the necessary measures to eradicate the problem. Top Quality Exterminating services Long Island and Queens.

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