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Local Lyme statistics may be lower for feds

Dec 07, 2016 12:03 am
John Ferro reports in The Poughkeepsie Journal that Lyme disease cases locally are being underestimated in federal statistics. In 2009 the state health department began allowing counties to review a sample of laboratory tests for Lyme and then estimate the total number of cases. But the estimates don't use the same definition as the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So counties such as Dutchess and Ulster have fallen in national rankings of case counts and per-capita rates of infection, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal investigation. "We are going to lose those dollars," said Dutchess County Legislator Donna Bolner, chair of the Dutchess County Tick Task Force, said of federal funds available to fight Lyme. Reports from 2012 through 2015, show New York averages $2 million a year in National Institutes of Health grants for Lyme, behind Connecticut and Texas. "In New York state, they are only investigating 20 percent of their (lab results) and then they extrapolate to a full number," Dr. Jeffrey Engel, the executive deirector of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists said. "But the national system needs every single case. It's just not reconcilable." Read the full story in The Poughkeepsie Journal.