Lyme disease spreads to all 50 states, report finds


Every state, including the District of Columbia, has reported residents who have tested positive for Lyme disease, according to a new report.

No longer is the disease simply an issue for people living in New England, where it first appeared. A study from Quest Diagnostics found that doctors in every state have diagnosed residents with the troublesome bacterial infection, according to the Washington Post.

The study analyzed 6 million blood tests administered by doctors checking for Lyme disease in patients expressing possible symptoms.

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The disease was still the most prevalent in the Northeast, with the study finding that Pennsylvania reported the most cases last year, with 10,001, effectively raising the state’s positive results for Lyme disease by 78 percent over 2016.

For reference, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. in 1995 was just over 10,000. There were a little over 25,000 just two decades later in 2015.

Along with Pennsylvania, Quest’s study found that U.S. cases were still concentrated in the six New England states, with those six — and Pennsylvania — accounding for 60 percent of confirmed cases last year.

Florida and California, places not traditionally known for risk of Lyme disease, saw cases spike 77 percent and 194.5 percent since 2015, the Post reported.

The disease, which is not always easy for doctors to diagnose, is spread through ticks and results in symtoms including fever, headaches, fatigue, and a bullseye-like rash; untreated cases can result in joint problems, or issues with the heart or nervous system.

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In the days following Quest’s results, CNBC reported on a French company called Valneva, which is working to develop a vaccine for Lyme disease, and recently received fast-track status from the FDA.

Described as another breakthrough, a proposed test for Lyme disease, called Nanotrap and developed by Ceres Nanosciences, uses a urine sample to detect the bacteria that leads to Lyme disease. Hoping to soon get FDA approval, the test could be available by 2019.

Caroline Judelson is a writer for Fox News Lifestyle. 



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