By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new estimates on Lyme disease in the United States and showed an estimated 476,000 people are diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease each year.

The new calculation is roughly 10 times higher than the number of reported Lyme disease cases, which was nearly 48,000 in 2018.

Black-legged tick
Ixodes scapularis, a Black-legged tick/CDC

Authors of the Kay Hagan Tick Act, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (D-MN) requested the data and responded to the new estimates:

“This new data showing that Lyme disease remains vastly under-reported by a factor of 10 underscores the fact that tick-borne illnesses are a serious and growing public health threat,” said Senator Collins.  “As the authors of the Kay Hagan Tick Act that created a national strategy to fight tick-borne diseases, Senator Smith and I pushed for the release of this powerful tool to assist researchers working to track and eradicate Lyme disease.  Now that we have a clearer picture of the challenge that we are up against, we are better positioned to protect Americans’ health.”

“This report confirms that Lyme disease is a serious and growing public health problem in the United States,” said Senator Smith. “Now that we have this data, it’s incumbent on us to advance the national strategy outlined in the Kay Hagan Tick Act. Such prevention and treatment efforts will help curb the spread of tick-borne diseases so that Americans can enjoy spending time outside safely.”

Additionally, as requested by the Senators, the CDC has published a new dashboard to help researchers collect real-time data.  This information on emergency department visits for tick bites by time, region, age, and sex will be updated weekly instead of annually and can better indicate when people in different parts of the country may be at the highest risk for tick bites.

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease and the most common vector-borne disease.