Maine is the worst state in the country for Lyme disease, study says

Maine tops a new list as the worst state for Lyme disease (photo: Thinkstock)

STATEWIDE (WGME) - A new study of government data is ranking Maine as the worst state in the country for Lyme disease.

The website 24/7 Wall Street reviewed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control, which shows Maine had 86.4 cases of Lyme disease for every 100,000 people in 2016.

Maine’s incidence of confirmed Lyme disease cases of 86.4 per 100,000 residents in 2016 was by far the highest of any state. It was also more than 10 times higher than the national incidence rate of 8.1 cases per 100,000 residents. As the state with the greatest share of rural residents, many people in Maine are likely to be close to grassy and wooded areas where disease-carrying blacklegged ticks tend to live.

The report is based only on confirmed cases, which are reported to the CDC.

Health providers reported more than 1,800 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases in 2017, according to the Maine CDC.

Symptoms include a "bullseye" rash, arthritis, fatigue, chills, fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.

The Maine CDC says these four strategies will help prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

  1. Use an EPA-approved repellent
  2. Wear protective clothing
  3. Perform daily tick checks
  4. Use caution in tick-infested areas
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