Lyme Disease is one of the most rapidly emerging infectious diseases in North America according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Researchers have revealed a new map pinpointing the highest risk areas.
Researchers have found the high infection risk areas confined mainly to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest and low risk in the South. The results were published in the February issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Yale researches spent 3 years doing research by dragging fabric through the woods to collect ticks. The researchers are hoping their new map can help improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease. Previous risk maps were mostly reliant on reports of human infections, but those can be misleading, according to the study, because the disease is both over- and under-diagnosed.
The study also provided new information about the infection rate among ticks, according to researcher Diuk-Wasser. About 1 in 5 ticks collected were infected which was more than researchers expected and that percentage was fairly constant across geographic areas, she said.
The symptoms of Lyme Disease can be tricky as not everyone gets the classic bulls eye rash associated with being bite by a tick. Symptoms may include:
- Stiff Neck
- Swollen Joints
and if undetected it can can lead to:
- Bell’s Palsy
- Slow Heartbeat
- Neurological damage
If you suspect anything with these symptoms be sure to see your doctor for antibiotics as soon as possible to avoid further complications. If you test is negative be sure to go back in 2 weeks to be tested again as some can be false negatives. (Especially if you get in early after the bite).
Back in December we wrote how 2012 was expected to be on of the worst years for Lyme Disease due to the low acorn production in the Northeast. So be prepared when you are outdoors, wear protective clothing and use deet spray to avoid being bit by a tick.