Study: Lyme Disease is a Public Health Problem
(HealthDay News) — The estimated annual incidence of Lyme disease (LD) is 106.6 cases/100,000 persons in the United States, according to a report published online August 12 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Christina A. Nelson, MD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of a nationwide database of health insurance claims for 2005–2010 to identify patients with clinician-diagnosed LD.
The researchers identified 985 inpatient admissions and 44,445 outpatient LD diagnoses in 103,647,966 person-years. Overall, epidemiologic patterns were similar to U.S. surveillance data. The highest outpatient incidence was seen among boys aged 5–9 years and adults aged 60–64 years. Based on extrapolation to the U.S. population and correction for coding, the annual incidence was estimated at 106.6 cases/100,000 persons, with about 329,000 cases occurring annually.
"In conclusion, our findings underscore that LD is a considerable public health problem, both in terms of number of cases and overall health care use," the authors write. "As with other conditions, underreporting in the national surveillance system remains a challenge. Continued research and education are necessary to enhance prevention efforts and improve diagnostic accuracy to reduce the effects of this disease."