The CDC reported on November 14, 2018 that state and local health departments reported a record number of cases of tickborne disease to the CDC in 2017. Cases of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain spotted fever), babesiosis, tularemia, and Powassan virus disease all increased: from 48,610 cases in 2016 to 59,349 cases in 2017.
The CDC warns that the 2017 data capture only a fraction of the number of people with tickborne illnesses: under-reporting of all tickborne diseases is common, so the number of people actually infected is much higher.
The CDC reported that between 2004 and 2016, the number of reported cases of tickborne disease doubled, and researchers discovered seven new tickborne pathogens that infect people.
The CDC stated that a number of factors can affect tick numbers each year, including temperature, rainfall, humidity, and host populations such as mice and other animals. Tick densities in any year vary by region, state, and county. Numbers of reported tickborne disease cases are also affected by healthcare provider awareness, testing, and reporting practices. Finally, during any given year, people may or may not notice changes in tick populations depending on the amount of time they or their pets spend outdoors.
According to a recent CDC Vital Signs, the United States is not fully prepared to control these threats. Local and state health departments and vector control organizations face increasing demands to respond to ticks and tickborne diseases. The CDC states that proven and publicly accepted methods are needed to better prevent tick bites and to control ticks and tickborne diseases.
Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationwide, while studies suggest the actual number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is more likely about 300,000. Despite these numbers, a recent national survey reported that nearly 20 percent of people surveyed in areas where Lyme disease is common were unaware that it was a risk. Additionally, half of people interviewed in another study reported that they did not routinely take steps to protect themselves against tick bites during warm weather.
While nearly 95 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, infected ticks can also be found in neighboring states and in some areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
Other less known, but serious tickborne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus, and babesiosis. These diseases tend to be concentrated in specific parts of the country. Babesiosis and anaplasmosis occur in the same areas as Lyme disease—mainly in the Northeast and upper Midwest. More than 60 percent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases occur in five states: Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of the misdiagnosis of Lyme disease in the United States, you should promptly find a Lyme disease lawyer who may investigate your Lyme disease claim for you and represent you in a Lyme disease malpractice case, if appropriate.
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