The War on Lyme...and About Lyme

Aug 29, 2013

Lyme disease gets its name from the Connecticut town, and it’s always been a problem here...but it’s spreading, as far North as Maine and south down to Virginia. Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC says that due in part to the “reforestation” of the Northeast.

We often don't feel a tick on us because they secrete chemicals that numb us to their presence. While they can stay on us for up to one week, the threat of infection is low if we remove them within 36 hours.
Credit John Tann on Flickr Creative Commons

The CDC estimates that there are about 300,000 people infected every year...but only about 10% are reported. Why is that? One reason is the lack of a good diagnostic test to determine who has the disease, making it harder to diagnose and treat. To complicate matters further, doctors less familiar with the disease are treating some people who aren’t sick and not treating some that are. And, if doctors are having trouble with diagnosis, how good are we at spotting the symptoms when we see them?

Today, we talk to someone from the CDC, a local doctor who’s an expert on Lyme, and a journalist following the Lyme wars.


Dr. Paul Mead is the Chief of Epidemiology and Surveillance Activity for the Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  

Dr. Steven Luger is a family practice physician with Hartford Healthcare Medical Group and a national expert on Lyme disease

Beth Daley is an environmental reporter for the Boston Globe