Nation

Lyme disease more common than previously thought

ATLANTA (AP) — Lyme disease is about 10 times more common than previously reported, health officials said Monday.

As many as 300,000 Americans are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.

Advertisement

Usually, only 20,000 to 30,000 illnesses are reported each year. For many years, CDC officials have known that many doctors don’t report every case and that the true count was probably much higher.

The new figure is the CDC’s most comprehensive attempt at a better estimate. The number comes from a survey of seven national laboratories, a national patient survey and a review of insurance information.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘It’s giving us a fuller picture and it’s not a pleasing one,’’ said Dr. Paul Mead, who oversees the agency’s tracking of Lyme disease.

The ailment is named after Lyme, Conn., where the illness was first identified in 1975. It’s a bacteria transmitted through the bites of infected deer ticks, which can be about the size of a poppy seed.

Symptoms 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.

Advertisement

In the US, the majority of Lyme disease reports have come from 13 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The new study did not find anything to suggest the disease is more geographically widespread, Mead said.

___

Online:

CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com