TOUCHED BY LYME: "300,000" number catches media's eye
When the CDC bumped its estimate of annual Lyme cases from 30,000 to ten times that, it made the evening news.
I blogged last week about the unprecedented wave of recent media coverage about Lyme disease. Turns out, we hadn’t seen nothin’ yet.
On Monday, August 19, the CDC announced that it had raised its official estimate of how many cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year, from 30,000 to 300,000. (No matter that way back in 2004, the CDC stated on the record that official numbers were likely underreported by a factor of 10. Suddenly, putting that big number—300,000—in an official government press release made the news media sit up and take notice.)
All the major news outlets carried the story, some of them going into deeper detail than others. Here are links to a sampling if you want to check them out yourself.
In addition to a news story, the Poughkeepsie Journal (in New York state) ran an editorial entitled “Lyme fight must go beyond change in numbers.” In addition to having more accurate reporting of cases, the newspaper suggests a number of changes:
That would include providing doctors with more protections if they are treating long-term cases of Lyme. It also would include establishing a federal advisory committee to ensure that all medical points of view are being represented before public health policy decisions are reached in relation to Lyme.
Sound proposals have been offered for years, but little action has been taken. Armed with new numbers, advocates must continue the fight for a better and broader fight against Lyme.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.