Could race affect the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease?

African-American, man, student

A recent article published in Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases by Moon and colleagues  reviews individual and community risk factors and incidence rates for Lyme disease within 38 counties in Pennsylvania. [1]

 

Using data from Geisinger electronic medical records, researchers identified 9657 Lyme disease cases diagnosed between 2006 and 2014 in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Are African-Americans less likely to be diagnosed with Lyme disease? Click To Tweet
African-American, man, student

Only 1.4% of Lyme disease patients in central and northeastern Pennsylvania are African-American, according to a medical records review.

Moon and colleagues found that more than 97% of the Lyme disease patients were white non-Hispanic. Only 0.9% were Hispanic and 1.4% were black non-Hispanic.

The authors suggest that “The low-density semi-rural and suburban communities close to wooded, brushy, or grassy landscapes favored by ticks are more likely to be white and affluent,” and therefore put this population at a greater risk.

However, different socioeconomic levels, involvement in outdoor leisure activities, access to health care, and awareness of Lyme disease may also play a role. “There is some evidence,” the authors write, “that African-Americans may be at higher risk than whites for delayed diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease,” writes Moon, citing a study by Fix. [2]

 

Related Articles:

Lyme disease diagnosis almost missed in patient with Babesia

Lyme disease in children rising in Pennsylvania: An inside look

References:

  1. Moon KA, Pollak J, Hirsch AG, et al. Epidemiology of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania 2006-2014 using electronic health records. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018.
  2. Fix AD, Pena CA, Strickland GT. Racial differences in reported Lyme disease incidence. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152(8):756-759.


6
Be Part Of The Conversation

avatar
3 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
Eugene WadeMX HayesDr. Daniel CameronJennifer I.Joe Belcher Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
MX Hayes
Guest
MX Hayes

I’m african american suffering from Lyme Borreliosis and Candida for a few years. I’ve gone from physician to physician without treatment. I’m tired and weary. I see the disparity of treatment with regards to demographic info. My mother died from the same symptoms I’m experiencing. I just want help. I’ve spent my life savings on life sustaining treatments for my mother and I. In Alabama but willing to travel but require a physician who accepts Medicare/ Medicaid and Igenex results!

Eugene Wade
Guest
Eugene Wade

Hello sir.

Did you ever get help or diagnosed?

Jennifer I.
Guest
Jennifer I.

Interesting, however in my case, white female undiagnosed for 20+ years with access to endless doctors who had no clue and treated me horribly, so …

Joe Belcher
Guest
Joe Belcher

Could being a Southerner affect the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases?