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Lyme disease not as prevalent in Southeast

Category: Lyme Disease

New research appearing in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health says that, although many people in the Northeast and Midwest require Lyme disease blood tests after being bitten by a tick, residents of the Southeast region of the U.S. don't have to worry about Lyme disease as much as other tick-borne illnesses.

"The lone star tick is by far the most abundant tick in the Southeast, and which species of tick bites you is critical because different ticks carry different diseases. In the Southeast, you are unlikely to be bitten by the blacklegged ticks that spread Lyme disease," said study author Ellen Stromdahl, entomologist from the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

The scientists' report points to a study where 13 out of 20 tick bite victims were prescribed antibiotics for Lyme disease. However, almost none the of ticks removed from these individuals were known to spread the vector-borne illness. Researchers say that spotted fever rickettsiosis and ehrlichiosis are conveyed through infected ticks in the Southwest, but Lyme disease blood tests administered to southerners normally produce negative results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that of the nearly 30,000 cases of Lyme disease confirmed during 2009, the majority took place in the Northeast or Midwest.

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