Special Report

12 Worst States for Lyme Disease

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12. Maryland
> Incidence of Lyme disease: 20 per 100,000 residents
> Confirmed cases: 1,194 (8th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 6.1% (18th lowest)
> Pct. adults physically active: 79.0% (20th highest)

Maryland’s location in the South Atlantic region is a hot spot for disease carrying ticks. There were 1,194 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Maryland in 2017, more than in all but seven other states. The state’s Lyme disease incidence rate of 20 incidents per 100,000 is the 12th highest among states and more than double the 9.1 per 100,000 national rate. Another 697 probable but unconfirmed cases of Lyme in the state in 2017 were not factored into the rate.

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11. Minnesota
> Incidence of Lyme disease: 25 per 100,000 residents
> Confirmed cases: 1,408 (6th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 4.4% (3rd lowest)
> Pct. adults physically active: 81.5% (7th highest)

More than 80% of adults in Minnesota report getting some physical activity in their leisure time, one of the higher rates in the nation. As the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota has lots of space for outdoor activities in rural areas. People who spend their leisure time outdoors in areas with ticks like Minnesota are at greater risk of contracting Lyme disease. There were 1,408 confirmed cases of Lyme in Minnesota in 2017, or 25 for every 100,000 people. The incidence rate of Lyme in Minnesota does not include the more than 900 likely but unconfirmed cases.

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10. West Virginia
> Incidence of Lyme disease: 28 per 100,000 residents
> Confirmed cases: 503 (13th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 6.1% (18th lowest)
> Pct. adults physically active: 72.2% (6th lowest)

More than half of West Virginia’s residents live in rural areas, where Lyme disease-carrying ticks are likely to be found. The number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in West Virginia has risen significantly in the last few years, increasing from 112 in 2014, to 243 in 2015, to 297 in 2016. In 2017, there were over 500 confirmed cases in the state, or 28 for every 100,000 people.

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9. Wisconsin
> Incidence of Lyme disease: 31 per 100,000 residents
> Confirmed cases: 1,794 (4th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 5.4% (10th lowest)
> Pct. adults physically active: 80.5% (12th highest)

Along with Minnesota, Wisconsin is one of two Midwestern states to rank on this list. The incidence of Lyme disease per 100,000 people in Wisconsin increased from 26 in 2016 to 31 in 2017. Wisconsin residents who are infected with Lyme are more likely than most Americans to seek medical treatment. Just 5.4% of Wisconsin residents are without health insurance compared to the 8.7% national uninsured rate.

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8. Connecticut
> Incidence of Lyme disease: 39 per 100,000 residents
> Confirmed cases: 1,381 (7th highest)
> Uninsured rate: 5.5% (12th lowest)
> Pct. adults physically active: 80.7% (11th highest)

Lyme disease derives its name from Lyme, Connecticut — a town where, in 1975, a number of residents reported unusual arthritic symptoms. The bacteria that causes the disease was identified in 1982, and five years later, Lyme was designated a disease of great public importance. Lyme disease remains a major concern in the state, infecting about 39 people in 100,000 in 2017, nearly four times the nationwide incidence rate.

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