Be careful out there, nature lovers. According to Quest Diagnostics, one of the foremost medical labs in the country, Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states.
A lot of people in the Northeast part of the country that were relatively free of tick infestations had believed that they were relatively safe from Lyme disease. The disease has long been a scourge of hikers and other people who tromp around the underbrush. The disease is a bacterial infection and symptoms include joint aches, fatigue, facial palsy and neck stiffness. Lyme disease commonly manifests as a rash that looks like a bullseye, with rings circling out from the bite. Treatment is done by an oral antibiotic, which cures most infections, though doctors are still studying the long term effects.
According to the Washington Post, the numbers tell the story of the spread.
This news comes from a report from the clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics, which analyzed the results of 6 million blood tests doctors had ordered to diagnose Lyme disease in their patients. The report found that Pennsylvania had the most positive cases last year: 10,001. The Pennsylvania tally, along with that of the six New England states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — accounted for about 60 percent of the country’s Lyme disease cases. Positive results grew by 50 percent in New England and by 78 percent in Pennsylvania from 2016 to 2017. However, the number of positive tests spiked in some areas not traditionally linked to Lyme disease. Florida, for instance, had 501 infections, up 77 percent since 2015. California had 483 people with positive test results — a 194.5 percent increase from 2015
. So there you go. Keep your socks high and keep your sleeves long.