Lyme Disease Threat in Surprising Places

Excerpted from Huffington Post : (04/09/2014)

Earlier studies by the University of California found squirrels in California to be infected by the Lyme bacterium. The researchers note “A survey of 222 western gray squirrels in California showed an overall prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection of 30 percent.” They also looked at human infection rates and found a strong correlation between squirrel infection rates and reported human cases of Lyme disease.

If you are living in Connecticut, upstate New York, or Long Island you may very well be aware of Lyme disease, from friends and family who have had Lyme or even news reports. You may approach the outdoors with some caution, wearing long pants tucked into socks in an effort to ward off ticks.

But what if you live in California, the Midwest or Canada? Research tells us that you could also be at risk for Lyme. While Lyme might be less well known in these areas, it is an emerging, documented threat.

So it turns out that Lyme is not a regional disease isolated in the Northeast, but a national and even international health threat, with cases in Switzerland, the U.K., and even China.

Lyme disease cases have been expanding in the U.S. The number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease grew from 19,804 in 2004 to 29,959 in 2009, according to the CDC.

Then, in 2013, the CDC revised its estimate way upward, 10 times the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease every year. The new total is now around 300,000, the CDC says.

According to the CDC report:

‘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… ‘

So let’s take a look at how Lyme is showing up in perhaps unlikely places, carried by surprising hosts.

Of course deer carry deer ticks. But they are also carried on the white-footed mouse, chipmunks, shrews, prairie dogs, birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and skunks. So even if there are no deer around, you could still be at risk for coming into contact with Lyme-disease carrying deer ticks.

For more:

~ by Rob on April 10, 2014.

2 Responses to “Lyme Disease Threat in Surprising Places”

  1. Yes it is in the Midwest. I live in Oklahoma, have never been to the upper east coast area and am not an outdoor type of person. I have 3rd stage lyme that was registered with the cdc after diagnosis in November 2013. My life is a wreck and I’ve been trying to find out what is wrong for years now. When my doc suggested being tested for it I thought it was nuts. It came back positive for several strains.

    • Lenda,
      You are so right, and due to years of denial, so many around the country are at risk of turning a treatable illness into a chronic nightmare.

      I have believed for some time now that the people in the heartland have a greater exposure to TBI just in the fact that culturally the heartlanders are more apt to partake in wilderness activities as well as spend more time with horses, pets, etc.

      I wish I knew how to influence a greater group of people as to how bad a threat this epidemic is, and that those institutions we’ve learned to trust, such as the CDC, doctors, etc., are currently providing misleading and dangerous information.
      I wish you the best,

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