Lyme Disease rages in Northeast, Report
Lyme Disease rages in Northeast, Report

Lyme Disease rages in Northeast, Report

Health officials say the long, tough winter did nothing to stifle the tick population in the Northeast. They say ticks are primed to increase in population and continue to spread Lyme Disease.

Last year, Lyme disease cases reached nearly 1,400 in Maine, the highest number since the state started tracking the cases.

Officials say the number of Lyme disease cases nationwide has held steady over the past few years but it’s grown in northern New England.

National tick populations depend on local climate conditions, said Darlene Foote, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A federal report released last week said climate change could bring warmer winters that make diseases like Lyme more prevalent.

State health officials are required by law to report cases of Lyme disease to government authorities. Ninety-five percent of the cases reported in 2012 were in New England, the mid-Atlantic states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maine’s Lyme disease cases have grown steadily every year since 2010, when there were 752 cases. In 2013, there were 1,376 cases, the highest since the state started tracking the data. Vermont and New Hampshire have also seen steady climbs in Lyme cases in the last few years, state data show.

Nationally, cases have wavered between 30,000 and 37,500 cases every year since 2008, CDC data show. Massachusetts had the most cases in 2012, the most recent year for which nationwide data are available, CDC records say.

Maine’s deer ticks have grown in distribution, Sears said. A decade ago, the insects were localized in southern and coastal Maine and now have spread statewide, said Charles Lubelczyk, a field biologist with Maine Medical Center. Areas of central and eastern Maine have become particularly dense with ticks, he said.

One reason the tick population has grown is because the recent mild winters have allowed the deer population to thrive, Lubelczyk said. Adult deer ticks attach to deer to feed and mate.

As the deer and tick populations thrive, cases of Lyme disease grow, Lubelczyk said. Maine’s burgeoning tick population has also caused a rise in other tick-borne illnesses, including babessiosis, which infects red blood cells, and anaplasmosis, which infects white blood cells, Sears said.

“We don’t see anything to halt it,” Lubelczyk said.

Lyme disease symptoms include headache, fever and joint pain; in advanced stages, the disease can cause muscle weakness, numbness or pain in nerve areas, and heart problems. Lyme advocacy groups encourage people to frequently check for ticks after walking or hiking in wooded areas and to wear clothing that reduces skin exposure.

“We had a long, hard, cold winter that did nothing to reduce the tick population,” said Happy Dickey, founding director of MaineLyme, an advocacy group. “We need to incorporate prevention into our daily life.”


  • About News

    Web articles – via partners/network co-ordinators. This website and its contents are the exclusive property of ANGA Media Corporation . We appreciate your feedback and respond to every request. Please fill in the form or send us email to: [email protected]

    Check Also

    Brian Laundrie news: 'We're not wasting our time,' police commander says

    Brian Laundrie news: ‘We’re not wasting our time,’ police commander says

    VENICE, Fla. – Six days into the search for Brian Laundrie, police in North Port …

    Leave a Reply