Human cases of tick-borne Lyme disease explode in MI

This is a March 2002 file photo of a blacklegged tick, or deer tick, under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I.

DETROIT (AP) — Lyme disease cases have spiked in Michigan due to the spread of blacklegged ticks in the state.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the ticks often carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi with them. The bacteria can transfer when they bite a human or animal and can cause Lyme disease, a serious infection that can be permanently debilitating when it’s not treated early and well.

There were less than 30 human cases of Lyme disease reported in Michigan in every year between 2000 and 2004. But the number had jumped to 90 reported cases by 2009, and by 2013, it was nearly 170 cases.

Officials with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the number of Lyme disease cases nationwide could be 10 times higher than what’s reported.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press