Dorann Morra was diagnosed with Lyme disease as a teenager, now new numbers show the disease is much more common than previously reported.
The CDC estimates around 300,000 people each year are diagnosed with the tick borne disease. Usually only 20-to 30 thousand cases are reported each year.
"We've always suspected there are at least 10 cases of Lyme for everyone that shows up at the CDC," said Dr. Daniel Cameron with Northern Westchester Hospital.
Researchers looked at data from three studies to try to get a more accurate picture of Lyme disease in the U.S. The majority of cases are in 13 states in the northeast and upper Midwest. Doctors say Lyme disease is often mis-diagnosed. Some patients find themselves going from one specialist to another, only to find out they've had Lyme disease for years.
Early symptoms include a rash of flu like symptoms, fever, headache and fatigue. But if the disease goes untreated it can lead to joint pain, neurological problems and even heart issues.
"If you catch Lyme within first weeks, it's so much easier to treat; often a few weeks of antibiotics," Dr. Cameron said.
Dorann says it took doctors two years to figure out she had Lyme. "I believe if I had been diagnosed quicker and treated, a lot of my symptoms would have lessened," she said.
She still suffers with painful joints and exhaustion, but says she's feeling better since she started her latest round of antibiotics.
Jericka Duncan - CBS News
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