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New Lyme Disease Bacteria Discovered in the Midwest

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new lyme disease bacteria discovered in the midwest

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic and other Midwest health professionals, announced new bacteria associated with Lyme disease. The new bacteria, Borrelia mayonii (B. mayonii), is specifically linked to causing Lyme disease in humans.

Prior to this discovery, Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) was the only Lyme disease bacteria believed to be in the United States. Currently, health professionals believe this bacterium is contained to the Midwest, more specifically in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The new bacterium showcases a few different symptoms than the previous bacteria. Like B. burgdorferi, B. mayonii causes fever, headache, rashes and neck pain in the early stages and arthritis in later stages. But the new bacterium is also associated with nausea and vomiting, a more widespread rash and a higher concentration of bacteria in the blood. Doctors say antibiotics already used to treat Lyme disease appears to be effective in treating the new strain.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness, transmitted through infected blacklegged “deer” tick bites. To decrease the likelihood of contracting tick-borne illness, take proper preventative measures, such as using insect repellant, bathing or showering as soon as possible after extended periods spent outdoors, doing a full-body check for ticks and checking clothing, gear and pets for ticks.