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How to You Know If You Have Lyme Disease

Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho, File)

Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ma (WGGB) — The ticks are out, and they’re infecting hundreds of thousands of Americans with a bacterial illness,  more often than experts previously thought.

About 300,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to new estimate released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. That number is 10 times higher than the number of cases reported annually to the CDC.

So how do you know if you have Lyme disease?

ABC40’s Dave Madsen posed the question to ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser in an interview Wednesday afternoon. He said most people will develop the bull’s eye rash.

“So there’s a red center and then a white circle and a red circle around that and it gradually gets larger. 80% of people will have that along with flu like symptoms: fever, malaise, body aches. But 20% of people will be atypical. So if you’ve had a tick bite and you have any fever or body aches you should be seen. If you have arthritis or chest palpitations or weakness or dizziness, those can also be signs of Lyme disease.”

And that’s why Dr. Besser said it’s important to check for ticks after you’ve been outside.

If you remove the tick within 48 hours of its attaching, he says you can totally prevent Lyme disease.


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