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Lyme Disease in the U.S. is '10-Times Underreported'

Public Health

The disease strikes about 300,000 people each year, according to new information released by federal health officials.

| August 21, 2013

Lyme disease strikes about 300,000 people each year, according to new information released by federal health officials. The new estimates suggest the disease is 10 times more common than previously thought.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the new estimates, which were also released Sunday night at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases in Boston.

Usually, only 20,000 to 30,000 illnesses are reported each year, making it the most commonly-reported tick-borne illness in the country. For many years, CDC officials have known that many doctors don't report every case and that the true count was probably much higher.

The new figure is the CDC's most comprehensive attempt at a better estimate. The number comes from a survey of seven national laboratories, a national patient survey and a review of insurance information.

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