Uptick In Indiana Lyme Disease

Rash

Classic Bulls-eye Rash

A news report today notes an increase in reports of Lyme disease in Indiana. The CDC reports over 100 Indiana cases of people diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013. This compares to only 35 a decade ago. Is Lyme disease spreading into areas that previously had low incidence? Or are people and doctors more aware of the symptoms leading to a change in reporting? Increased awareness is good if it leads to better prevention and earlier treatment.

Lyme disease tests are notorious for false negatives. The rash pictured above left was from an Indiana resident who had not traveled out of state for several months. The resident tested negative for Lyme, but was given the standard antibiotic treatment for Lyme bacteria. Physicians agree that Lyme should be treated early. However, weeks may be required for factors to produce a positive test. As doctors as a group become more aware, the standard response may change from waiting for positive confirmation of Lyme to treating people who present a classic bulls-eye rash but test negative with antibiotics.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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