How Widespread is Lyme?
Ticks exist on every continent except Antarctica, meaning that tick-borne disease is just as widespread. Borrelia Burdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, is the most commonly diagnosed. Patients typically contract more than one tick-borne disease, known as co-infections.
Climate change is also a factor. Higher temperatures over longer time periods have caused tick habitats to expand, increasing rates of the disease. According to a study, Europeans have the highest occurrences, with up to 20% of the population having been diagnosed in some areas. It also states that 9% of North Americans have had Lyme.
In addition, studies in the United States have found tick populations carrying Borrelia living on California beaches. This is contrary to the general public perception that you can only get it from walking in the woods.
Same Issues, Different Places
The fact that Lyme is everywhere has not deterred the same issues from plaguing patients. European and Canadian Lyme activists continually cite examples of misdiagnosis, ineffective treatment protocols, and an aversion to facts from the highest levels of health administration, which is similar to their American counterparts.
Documentaries such as The Red Ring highlight these struggles on a global scale and describe how these issues have led to an increased burden on our healthcare systems. However, awareness is only step one. Systemic changes need to be made soon.
What Can Be Done?
As a non-profit, Project Lyme’s mission is to eradicate the growing problem of tick-borne disease. There are many issues that need to be addressed in order to make this happen including:
- Patients and doctors need to better understand the disease.
- The general public needs better education on tick bite prevention.
- More research needs to be conducted on diagnostics and therapeutics for chronic forms of the disease
Project Lyme has done a variety of things to achieve our mission including
Project Lyme believes this is just scratching the surface of what can be accomplished in the area of education, prevention, and research. And now more than ever progress is important given that close to 1 in 7 people on Earth have been impacted by Lyme.