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Nearly 500K Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease

If you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive, you’re more likely to get Lyme disease. It is important that common-sense precautions are taken in tick-infested areas. There are differences in the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. In phases, they usually emerge, but the stages may overlap. Initially, a rash that looks like a small, red bump (similar to a mosquito bite) may occur at the pace of the bite. Over days, the rash (erythema migrans) expands slowly and can grow to a width of 12 inches (30 centimeters). Usually, it is not itchy or painful, but it can feel warm to the touch. One of the hallmarks of Lyme disease is erythema migrans, but the rash is not produced for anyone with Lyme disease. Some individuals grow this rash on their bodies at more than one location. The rash may be followed by fever, chills, exhaustion, body aches, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes.

According to a recent study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, an average of almost half a million Americans is reported to have obtained a diagnosis of Lyme disease per year from 2010 to 2018. Researchers reported 118,780 individuals with the appropriate code for Lyme disease from 2010 to 2018 in the new study. Of these diagnoses, in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest, 81 percent occurred among residents of 14 high-incidence states, and another 8 percent among residents of adjoining states. The researchers also wrote,“Evolving electronic medical and laboratory systems should help fill demonstrable data gaps and enable more robust and reliable monitoring of changes in the magnitude and spread of the disease. Effective interventions are needed, and improved awareness among clinicians and the public is paramount to foster early and accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

It is important to see a doctor when you have been bitten by a tick and start showing any of the serious symptoms. The longer the tick stays attached to your skin, the higher the chance of having the disease. If you think you have been bitten and have Lyme disease signs and symptoms, contact your doctor, especially if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. Lyme disease treatment is more effective if it begins early. 


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