Lyme disease reportedly caused three deaths in Northeast - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Lyme disease reportedly caused three deaths in Northeast

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Three young adults died in the last 13 months due to Lyme disease, according to boston.com. The disease created an undetected heart inflammation in the adults, causing the deaths.

A man died in November of 2012 after veering off the road in his car; a tissue bank doctor noticed unusual patterns on the man's heart. That incident prompted a federal study that says death from Lyme disease is becoming more common.

All three deceased patients were between the ages of 26 and 38, boston.com said. They were all from the Northeast and none of them were known to have Lyme disease before dying. Only four deaths caused by Lyme were previously reported.

Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting an investigation, but so far their research says that deaths from the disease are rare.

"This is not a new phenomenon," said CDC Scientist Dr. Joseph D. Forrester in the boston.com article. "However, given the severity of what happened and the tragedy of three young people to die suddenly, it was very important to investigate these cases."

There are approximately 300,000 cases of Lyme disease every year nationwide, but most of the cases occur in the Northeast. Only one percent of patients are said to have severe heart inflammation, which is treated with antibiotics. However, the fact that healthy people, showing no signs of the disease, can suddenly die from it is worrying to public health officials.

"The discovery ... made all of us nervous,'' said Catherine M. Brown, Massachusetts public health veterinarian in the article.

Stanley Plotkin, emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and a vaccine expert, believes that a vaccine against Lyme disease is necessary.

"I think it is unconscionable and a discredit to all parties-public health, manufacturers, Lyme activists-that no Lyme vaccine is available to humans while there is one for dogs," he said in the article.

To read more, visit boston.com.

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