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Expert warns of worst summer for Lyme disease in years

Category: Lyme Disease

Lyme disease cases tend to pick up during the summer months, but experts are saying that this year could be particularly bad. Individuals who live in forested areas where they may come in contact with ticks should consider Lyme disease testing to ensure they do not have the condition.

Richard Ostfeld, of the Carey Institute of Ecosystem Studies, told MedPage Today that the reason why this summer is likely to see such a high prevalence of Lyme disease dates back to the fall of 2010. There was an unusually large crop of acorns that season, which helped keep a large population of white-footed mice alive through the winter of 2011. These rodents happen to be the favorite hosts of ticks, which spread Lyme disease.

The mice continued to breed throughout 2011 and early 2012. Now, Ostfeld said the population is the highest it has been in the last 20 years. This means there will be many ticks spreading Lyme disease to humans.

Individuals who live in the Northeast where there is a very high population of mice and ticks may want to consider Lyme disease testing. The condition may start off relatively mild, but if left untreated it can lead to potentially serious joint, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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