CDC: Lyme disease infections increase tenfold

Report: 300K people contract disease each year

INDIANAPOLIS - New estimates released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 300,000 people contract the tick-borne Lyme disease every year.

Officials said those numbers mark a tenfold increase in cases.

“Initially, Lyme disease presents as a rash and can progress to fever and flu-like illness," said Dr. Jennifer House with the Indiana State Department Of Health.

The CDC said the new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the nation and highlights the urgent need for prevention.

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Officials with the Indiana State Department of Health said there were 63 confirmed cases of Lyme disease last year, but health experts believe that figure is likely underreported.

Most infections happen in the spring and fall.

Lisa King and her children said they knew about the health dangers associated with ticks.

“My 13-year-old daughter did have a tick that attached once and I didn't catch it right away and I noticed it had a ring-like rash around it. And I took her to the doctor and they put her on antibiotics right away and she didn't have any problems," King said.

Most cases are confined to the northeast and north central U.S.

Health officials warned the disease is spreading and suggested checking for ticks and using insect repellents, especially in wooded and grassy areas.

Most people recover from the disease with antibiotics, but if it is left untreated, Lyme disease can cause arthritis and even neurological problems.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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