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A flat or unfed adult female deer tick.

UMASS Amherst

A flat or unfed adult female deer tick.

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Lyme disease is now the second most common reported infectious disease in New England. But nearly 40 years after it was first identified in the US, the most basic questions about it remain mired in polarizing controversy: Who has the disease? Why do some people remain sick after treatment? And how should they be cared for?

It’s a debate with significance far beyond Lyme, reflecting gaping differences in how segments of the medical world and the public cope with scientific uncertainty. With tens of thousands of people contracting Lyme, or other tick-borne diseases, in Massachusetts each year, the Globe is taking an in-depth look at the disease, the patients, the debate, science and testing.

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