Could race affect the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease?
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. 
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
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. 
- 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.
- Fix AD, Pena CA, Strickland GT. Racial differences in reported Lyme disease incidence. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152(8):756-759.