Lyme Disease Spreading Across U.S.

HYANNIS – The Cape and Islands have long had some of the highest incidences of Lyme Disease.

But new research shows the illness is spreading across the country. In fact, it has now been diagnosed in patients in all 50 states.

The tick-borne disease first appeared in New England and spread quickly across Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

The bacterial infection can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including joint aches, fatigue, facial palsy and neck stiffness.

A national clinical lab examined the results of 6 million blood tests doctors had ordered to diagnose Lyme disease in their patients.

Pennsylvania now has the dubious distinction of having the most positive cases last year at 10,001.

Sixty percent of all the nation’s cases come from the six New England states and Pennsylvania combined.

Quest Diagnostics said positive results grew by 50 percent in New England and by 78 percent in Pennsylvania from 2016 to 2017.

Positive tests spiked in some areas not traditionally linked to Lyme disease. Florida, for instance, had 501 infections, up 77 percent since 2015.

California had 483 people with positive test results – a 194.5 percent increase from 2015.

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