Tips to prevent Lyme disease - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tips to prevent Lyme disease

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is much more than actually reported.  The CDC reports more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year, "making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States."  However, the CDC estimates the actual number of cases may be around 300,000. The preliminary estimates were presented Sunday night in Boston at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other 


"We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater," said Paul Mead, M.D., M.P.H, chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC's Lyme disease program. "This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention."

The CDC is using three studies to refine the estimates and better understand the overall burden of Lyme disease in the United States and will publish finalized estimates when the studies are complete. Efforts are also underway to come up with methods to kill ticks and prevent illness in people.

"We know people can prevent tick bites through steps like using repellents and tick checks. Although these measures are effective, they aren't fail-proof and people don't always use them," said Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H, director of CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. "We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem."

Here are some tips:
  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks daily
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

 

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