Hope for Lyme disease victims: Researchers race to develop new tests — and a vaccine
In the midst of relaxing summer days and long-awaited vacations, there's a tiny enemy that's causing oversize worry: ticks.
Blacklegged ticks infected with the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi are wreaking havoc in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central states, as well as the West Coast, particularly in northern California. Lyme disease accounts for more than 80 percent of tick-borne diseases and, even if caught and treated, can cause long-lasting and debilitating symptoms.
In May the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of people getting diseases from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas has more than tripled in the United States, with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016.
In just the past year, celebrities Kelly Osbourne and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid both released memoirs detailing their agonizing struggle with the disease and why it took so long for doctors to diagnose it. In fact, before finally testing positive for Lyme, Osbourne's doctors told her she had epilepsy.