CDC estimates about 300,000 Lyme disease cases in the U.S. - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

CDC estimates about 300,000 Lyme disease cases in the U.S.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new report by the Centers for Disease Control shows Lyme disease cases in the U.S. are actually ten times higher than what is reported to the CDC each year.

The CDC says it receives around 30,000 reports of Lyme disease each year, but after a new study they say that number is closer to 300,000. Medical officials and patients say that the change needs to start at the doctor's office.

"I believe it is time that the guidelines need to be changed. People are suffering and this isn't just the common aches of just normal daily living," said Doctor Ronald Stram of Stram Center.

Dr. Stram treats patients with tick borne illnesses and he says he doesn't follow the medical guidelines, but rather treats the patient's symptoms. He treats 72-year-old Robert Kosak, who says he was diagnosed with Lyme disease only after seeing multiple doctors who told him he didn't have it based on testing. The doctor warns that testing isn't always accurate.

"It's put the brakes on my whole life. So it's been very hard," said Kosak.

Kosak says he removed a tick from his arm in June of 2012, but was not treated for Lyme disease until February of 2013. He says the tick borne illness has caused severe joint pain in his knees and also some neurological problems.

"Getting in and out of bed getting on off the boat getting in out of the shower getting my pants on getting my socks on it's a creative challenge," he said.

According to the CDC, it used a national patient survey, reviewed insurance information, and surveyed several national laboratories to come up with its final count to come up with the 300,000 number.

The number doesn't surprise nurse practitioner Jennifer Mager, but she says she does find the lack of testing for it shocking.

"It's interesting that sometimes these patients come to us after having seen multiple specialists and nobody has ever considered testing them for Lyme Disease," she said.

Dr. Stram says that mandatory reporting, as well as follow up studies during the treatment of Lyme disease could help the thousands that are not receiving adequate care.

 

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