Originally created 04/29/00

Lyme disease tracking indicates increased case numbers



ATLANTA -- The number of reported cases of Lyme disease increased by 70 percent over a six-year period ending in 1998, the federal government said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 16,802 reported cases of Lyme disease in 1998, compared to 9,909 cases in 1992.

The CDC, in a report released Thursday, attributed the rise to more incidences and improved reporting of the disease.

Over the six-year period, 92 percent of reported cases were in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island and two north-central states -- Minnesota and Wisconsin, the CDC said.

The majority of reported cases had onsets of disease in June, July, or August, corresponding with the seasonal feeding activity of the tick, the CDC said.

Lyme disease is spread by ticks and causes fever, fatigue, headaches and arthritis-like symptoms. It is the most commonly reported disease spread by an insect in the country, the CDC said.

A Lyme vaccine was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration.