Lyme disease has now spread to all 50 states and the District of Columbia following a significant uptick in cases between 2016 and 2017, according to a new study by clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics.
The black-legged tick carries Lyme and other diseases. Now, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have residents who have tested positive for Lyme, a bacterial infection that can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including joint aches, fatigue, facial palsy and neck stiffness.
Lyme Disease is transmitted by blacklegged ticks infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.
"Our data show that positive results for Lyme are both increasing in number and occurring in geographic areas not historically associated with the disease", researchers wrote in a press release.
The agency said that around 30,000 cases of the disease are reported by state health departments and Washington, DC every year.
The new study comes just a few months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that cases of tick-borne diseases had more than doubled over the past 13 years.
Lyme carditis occurs when the bacteria gets into the heart and interferes with the way the organ regulates heartbeat.
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Levine said that as long as Lyme disease and Lyme carditis are caught early, they can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
The Vermont victim lived in Franklin County and was middle-aged but the name and sex were not revealed due to confidentiality reasons. California had 483 people with positive test results - a 194.5 percent increase from 2015.
Lyme disease remains most prevalent in the Northeastern United States.
Lyme disease is still most prevalent in the Northeast, with seven states - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont - accounting for 60 percent of all cases past year.
"Antibiotics will take care of Lyme and antibiotics will take care of this manifestation we've been talking about, carditis", Levine said.
According to CNBC, Valneva, a French company, is working on a vaccine for Lyme disease that was recently approved for fast-track by the FDA.