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ATLANTA, Ga-Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Lyme disease rates have hit record highs in 2000.
The tick-borne illness carries the following symptoms: fatigue, sore joints, and potential nervous system and heart damage. Officials suspect the increase in homes being built in wooded areas may explain the increase in reported cases. In 2000, there were 17,730 cases-an increase of 8% from 1999.
Officials recommend people who are in wooded areas check themselves for ticks, receive a vaccination, and wear insect repellant. The majority-95%--of all cases are reported in 12 states. The majority of these are in the northeastern portion of the US.
Lyme disease was discovered in 1977, after a cluster of children in Lyme, Connecticut fell ill with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Further investigation found the bacterium was being transmitted by deer ticks.
Information from www.sfgate.com, www.cdc.gov