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One RI County Ranks Among Worst in US for Lyme Disease – GoLocalProv

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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A new study finds that one Rhode Island county has among the highest percentage of those contracting Lyme disease.

The risk for exposure to vector-borne diseases caused by bug bites may increase as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks can spread viruses and bacteria, including Zika, bubonic plague, and Lyme disease.

“Of all tick-borne diseases in the United States, Lyme disease is the most prevalent. According to a 2018 study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of tick-borne disease in the U.S. and its territories more than doubled from 2004 to 2016, with Lyme disease making up 82% of these cases,” writes Wall Street 247.

37. Washington County, Rhode Island
> Lyme disease cases 5 years through 2018 per 10,000 people: 102
> Lyme disease cases 5 years through 2018: 1,293
> Worst year for Lyme disease since 2000: 394 in 2002
> Total population: 126,242

Washington County is the only county in Rhode Island that ranks among the worst counties for Lyme disease. It has the third-highest median household income among those counties, at $81,301 annually. According to the 2020 County Health Rankings, 92.2% of the population has access to exercise opportunities.

Overall, the worst in the U.S. is Jefferson County, Pennsylvania — the Keystone state has 20 of the top 50 counties for the disease.

“Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by western black-legged ticks on the Pacific coast and deer ticks in the rest of the country. The ticks tend to inhabit wooded areas and long grasses. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause an array of symptoms, including arthritis, facial paralysis, and nerve pain,” writes Wall Street. 


Using data from the CDC, 24/7 Tempo compiled the 50 worst counties for Lyme disease in the U.S. Cases of Lyme disease are most prevalent in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest. 

Ticks generally must be attached for at least 36 hours in order for the bacterium to spread. In most cases, transmission happens through the bites of tiny (less than 2mm), immature nymphs that go undetected on the skin. 

Nymphs feed during spring and summer, so extra precautions should be taken when outdoors during these times. Precautions include wearing insect repellents, treating clothing and gear with permethrin, and inspecting your body and clothing for ticks after spending time outdoors. Here are 16 tips for preventing coronavirus and other viral infections.

Click here to see the 50 worst counties for lyme disease

To identify the 50 worst counties for Lyme disease, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the number of Lyme disease cases reported between 2014 and 2018 for every 10,000 people in the 3,143 counties tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD).

Population data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey and are 5-year averages.

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