(CBS News) – Lyme disease may be grossly under-reported in the United States. Government researchers say the tick-borne infection affects about 10 times as many Americans as previously indicated by confirmed case reports.
About 329,000 cases of Lyme disease occur every year, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in their analysis of a nationwide health insurance claims database for 2005 through 2010.
That’s much higher than the 30,000 confirmed and probable Lyme cases reported to the CDC in 2010.
But it tracks fairly well with a previous CDC estimate of about 300,000 Lyme disease cases annually, said lead author Dr. Christina Nelson, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of vector-borne disease.