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Cases of Lyme disease increase 34 percent in Connecticut 5-21-06
Cases of Lyme disease increase 34 percent in Connecticut
May 21, 2006
HARTFORD, Conn. --Cases of Lyme disease in Connecticut increased 34
percent last year, primarily because there were more animals for
disease-carrying ticks to feed on, state health officials said.
The state Department of Public Health said there were 1,810 new cases
of Lyme disease reported by health care providers in 2005, up from
1,348 in 2004. The rate of Lyme disease in the state last year was 53
cases per 100,000 people.
Windham County had the highest rate in 2005, 173 cases per 100,000
people. Litchfield County was next with 164 cases per 100,000, and New
London County was third with 120 per 100,000.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 19,804
cases of Lyme disease across the country in 2004, the latest year for
which statistics are available. That translated to a rate of 6.7 cases
per 100,000 people. Connecticut's rate in 2004 was 39.6 cases per
Lyme disease is more prevalent in northern states where deer ticks that
spread the ailment live.
Symptoms of the disease include skin rash, depression, dementia, loss
of reflexes, muscle aches and blurry vision. The CDC says most cases of
Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of
antibiotics, and recommends prevention efforts including using insect
repellent and removing ticks promptly.
Health officials told the Greenwich Time that an increase in the number
of deer, mice, chipmunks and other animals ticks feed on helped more of
the insects survive last year.
Kirby Stafford, chief entomologist and vice director of the Connecticut
Agricultural Experiment Station, a state-supported research institution
based in New Haven, said weather conditions influence the populations
of animals ticks feed on, which in turn affects how many ticks get
"The gross number is kind of tied with the deer population, because the
number of deer is one of the main determinants of what the overall
number of ticks is," Stafford said.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., is sponsoring a bill that would
expand federal efforts to prevent, treat and research Lyme disease and
other tick-borne illnesses.