Thousands of people in West Virginia have been struck down by a mystery tick-borne disease

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Experts have raised the alarm about the growing threat of tick-borne Lyme disease, as cases begin to soar with rising temperatures.
Statewide, cases reached 1,052 last year — and are expected to surge to similar levels this year.
This year, Lyme disease cases have already surged to record levels in North Eastern states including New York and Massachusetts.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted when someone is bitten by an infected tick that are prevalent in grassy and wooded areas.
The condition has attracted attention due to the large group of celebrity sufferers – including Justin Bieber and Bella Hadid who were both diagnosed with Lyme disease — likely after spending time in the countryside.
Experts say Lyme disease is mysterious because antibodies against the bacteria often can’t be detected for several weeks after infection, even as someone suffers symptoms.
Massachusetts is also raising the alarm over other tick-borne diseases which are rising, including the rare Powassan virus.
Experts say the best way to avoid a tick bite is to cover exposed skin with long-sleeve tops, trousers and socks.


As cases of tick-borne Lyme disease start to rise in tandem with rising temperatures, experts have issued a warning about the growing threat posed by this disease.

The health department of one West Virginia county has issued a warning, stating that the number of cases of the illness in the state has increased from a few to hundreds in recent years.

In interviews with local media, department administrator Howard Gamble stated that “if a tick has bit you and it is embedded into your skin, you need to see a healthcare professional.”. ‘.

The number of cases in the state was 1,052 last year, and this year is predicted to see an increase to comparable levels. Less than 300 cases annually existed ten years ago.

In North East states like New York and Massachusetts, Lyme disease cases have already risen to unprecedented heights this year.

March had the highest ever recorded rate of ER visits for tick bites, with 69 visits per 100,000 ER visits; this is significantly higher than the average of 43 visits during the preceding seven years.

In addition, this year’s tick outbreak was earlier than usual; bites were documented in Minnesota and New Hampshire as early as February, well ahead of the typical April tick emergence date.

The bacteria that causes Lyme disease is spread by tick bites, which are common in grassy and forested areas.

If left untreated, it can result in nerve damage, heart issues, exhaustion, and personality changes in addition to the typical bullseye rash that surrounds the bite site.

Antibiotics are one treatment option available to doctors, but if the early warning signs are ignored, a diagnosis may not be made for months.

Many celebrities have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, including Bella Hadid and Justin Bieber, who both got the diagnosis after spending time in rural areas. This has drawn attention to the condition.

The reason Lyme disease remains mysterious, according to experts, is that antibodies against the bacteria are frequently not found for weeks after infection, even when symptoms are present.

This means that patients frequently receive the incorrect diagnosis, leaving their symptoms undiagnosed.

Due to longer summers that allow ticks to remain active for longer, infections have been increasing annually in the US since 2014; in 2022, there were almost 63,000 cases reported.

The illness was spreading to new areas, according to Mr. Gamble.

Cases jumped by 28% over the prior year in 2022, according to official data.

With up to 212 cases per 100,000 people, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine this year had the biggest outbreaks nationwide.

Additionally, other tick-borne illnesses, such as the uncommon Powassan virus, are becoming more prevalent, and Massachusetts is warning people about them.

Seizures, trouble speaking, paralysis, and other severe neurological symptoms affect about 10% of virus-infected individuals.

In the Massachusetts town of Sharon, it was first reported this year, raising concerns.

Tick activity is typically highest from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November, according to experts, though they caution that this time of year is getting warmer.

The creatures frequently cling to the margins of grasses along walkways, patiently waiting for a person to pass by before pounceing.

Occasionally, upon sensing activity and heat beneath them, they may also fall from trees.

Because they are hanging on low-lying grasses, branches, and other objects, they can easily catch our legs as they fall to investigate what’s happening, according to Gamble.

According to experts, wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, and socks over exposed skin is the best defense against tick bites.

If a tick bites, hold it at the head to extract it. It might help prevent an infection to leave the head behind.

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