Lyme disease can be dangerous and painful, but it hasn’t been associated with many deaths until recently. Of the course of one year, three people died of Lyme. Does this mean we should be worried about a deadly strand of the tick-borne disease?
In short, no. Evidence from the cases doesn’t show that there is a new strand of the Lyme. If anything, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials want us to use this discovery to illustrate the importance of tick awareness.
The first case covered in this new report happened over a year ago in November of 2012. After a Massachusetts man died, his organs were donated for transplant. Upon analysis of heart tissue, doctors found signs of Lyme carditis. Lyme carditis affects the heart and happens in 1% of Lyme patients. When serious, it can modify the opening and closing of heart valves, resulting in irregular heartbeats.
This one case would not have raised eyebrows in the health world if it had been the only case, but in less than a year, two other people have died from Lyme carditis in the Northeast. Health officials are urging doctors to become more familiar with both the symptoms of Lyme and Lyme carditis that include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and fainting.
Dr. Joseph Forrester, an epidemic intelligence officer for the U.S. Public Heath Service investigated the cases. The CDC sent the reports on the cases out to health care providers to make them more aware. “Additionally, we are working with state and local health departments in high-incidence Lyme disease states to review available surveillance and mortality data to look for trends, or risk groups in people who develop Lyme carditis,” Source.
Despite three fatal cases in a year, health officials don’t see a cause for panic, just vigilance. It’s important to check for ticks after spending any extended time outdoors and take notice of any changes in your health if you have been bit by a tick. If possible, it does help if you can keep the tick a plastic bag after removal.
At Mosquito Squad, we take protecting our clients from ticks very seriously. We utilize a combination of a barrier spray and tick tubes to decrease the tick population on our clients’ properties. Using tick treatments on your yard is a good first step in protecting against tick bites, and thus, Lyme disease.
If you have questions on Mosquito Squad’s tick control services, please contact your local office. We’d be happy to help.
In the meantime, we at Mosquito Squad would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!