Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorA new report from the CDC has some startling stats: the number of people sickened by Lyme Disease is 10 times higher than we thought.

Number wise, that equals 300,000 people per year.

Lyme is an infection spread by deer ticks. The bite of an infected tick can cause fever, chills, headache, and is characterized by a unique bulls-eye rash.

What’s scary about Lyme is that some people go on to develop lifelong symptoms from the disease, including fatigue, muscle weakness, and nerve problems.

Early symptoms can show up 3-30 days after the bite. Later symptoms can be months to years, if untreated. Antibiotics are usually effective against Lyme.

Experts are not 100 percent sure why the rate was so underestimated — better awareness, better diagnosis, and better reporting are all thought to play a part.

The only good news about this: Lyme is almost unheard of in Colorado.

The number of cases in our state is as follows:

2002- one

2003-2007- zero

2008- two

2009- zero

2010- one

2011- zero

It’s estimated 96 percent of cases take place in 13 states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The message: if you visit these areas and then develop an illness with a rash, then Lyme should be considered as a diagnosis.

(Don’t leave the state, and your chances of illness are nil.)


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