Lyme Disease Facts and Statistics
329,000 new cases each year in the US
Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the US and Western Europe. In September 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their estimates, indicating that more than 329,000 new cases were contracted each year in the US — an increase of up to 10 times what was previously believed.
Half a million patients struggling with long-term late-stage Lyme
Reported in all 50 US states and more than 65 countries worldwide
The disease which was first discovered in New England (Lyme, CT) has been expanding its footprint across the country with hot spots in the northern midwest and on the coast in California.
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease
In California, infected ticks found in 42 of 58 counties
On the West Coast, the primary carrier is the Western blacklegged tick, or Ixodes pacificus, and its principal host the grey squirrel. (This differs from the East Coast where the Eastern Blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, is the principal carrier and the white-footed mouse its primary host.). The Western blacklegged tick has been found in all but two California counties (56 in total) and infected ticks have been discovered in 42 counties.
Current diagnostics miss up to 60% of acute cases
The current “gold standard” diagnostic for Lyme disease is a two-tiered ELISA/Western Blot blood test measuring human antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi. This diagnostic is an indirect measure of infection, detecting the body’s immunologic response to infection rather than detecting the Lyme bacteria itself. It misses up to 60% of cases of early-stage Lyme disease, as it can take weeks for the body to develop measurable antibodies against the infection.
Early treatment typically successful but many patients go undiagnosed for years
Most never recall being bitten
Less than half ever show the telltale bullseye rash
As many as 20% continue to experience symptoms even after treatment