Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in Lyme disease cases as the Commonwealth through Nov. 27 has reported more than 10,000 cases, about one-third of all cases in the US that have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (31,479).

Ixodes scapularis/CDC

This compares to 7,400 cases in 2014 and 5,900 in 2013.

In April, Pennsylvania health officials reported for the first time the presence of the Lyme vector, the blacklegged (deer) tick, in all 67 counties.

Lyme disease is a huge problem in the US and Pennsylvania, both medically and financially.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 329,000 cases occur in the United States each year.

CDC studies have found that reported cases of Lyme disease underestimate its true incidence by a factor of ten, indicating that tens of thousands of residents in the commonwealth may be infected with Lyme disease each year.

In addition, over $1 billion in annual medical expenses in the United States have been attributed to Lyme disease as well as up to $10,000 per patient annually in lost productivity. Lyme disease patients required 87 percent more visits to the doctor, and 71 percent more visits to the emergency room in comparison with those without Lyme disease.