Lyme Disease Costs May Exceed $75 Billion per Year The CDC’s recent increase in estimated Lyme disease cases per year means we also need to update how we view real-world economic costs for Lyme patients.

By Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA

I recently submitted a projected cost of illness analysis for Lyme disease to the federal Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group.

The conclusion is that the number of people with chronic Lyme disease likely ranges between 1 and 3 million, and the annual cost—for chronic Lyme disease alone—may top $75 billion a year.

Dr. Xinzhi Zhang, CDC study of lyme diseaseThe cost estimate is based on a study by Dr. Xinzhi Zhang, an epidemiologist who works for the Centers for Diseases Control.1 (Not to be confused with Dr. Ying Zhang at Johns Hopkins.)

The number of people estimated to have chronic Lyme disease is based on studies of treatment failure rates for both early and late Lyme disease. Treatment failure rates range from 35% to 50%.2–6 Studies that show lower treatment failure rates are based on ideal diagnosis with prompt antibiotic treatment of 20 days or more, and they gauge treatment success by “objective” criteria—like resolution of a rash caused by Lyme disease.

In contrast, patients measure treatment success by whether they are restored to health—and that is the measure that we used……… Join or login below to continue reading.

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