Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lyme and other tickborne diseases

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in Maine. Cases have been increasing each year in Maine, and occur in all 16 counties. More than 1,395 cases of Lyme disease were reported statewide in 2014, a record high for Maine.  Lyme disease is most common among school age children and mature adults over the age of 65. Most infections occur during the summer months. A total of 71 cases have already been reported in 2015.
The most common early symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding red rash that occurs 3-30 days after being bitten. Fever, headache, joint and muscle pains and fatigue are also common during the first several weeks. Later features of Lyme disease can include arthritis in one or more joints (often the knee), Bell's palsy and other cranial nerve palsies, meningitis and carditis (AV block). Lyme disease is treatable, and the majority of patients recover after receiving appropriate therapy.
Lyme disease is a reportable condition in the State of Maine.  Providers should report all diagnosed erythema migrans rashes and all positive lab diagnoses.  Cases can be reported by fax at 1-800-293-7534 or by phone at 1-800-821-5821.
Other tickborne diseases: 
Other diseases that are carried by ticks in Maine include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Powassan and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are all reportable in Maine.
In 2014, providers reported 191 cases of anaplasmosis, more the twice the number of cases reported in 2013.  Providers reported 42 cases of babesiosis, a slight increase from 2013.  Four anaplasmosis cases and one babesiosis case have already been reported in 2015.  
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