Lyme Disease: The Up and Coming Disease of the 1990's

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1989
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Noxon, James
Johnson, Christine
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Iowa State University Digital Repository
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Abstract

A significant discovery came about in 1975 because of two observant housewives. One of them, a physician's wife, noticed a tendency towards the diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis within her community. She knew that this disease did not normally occur in clusters and decided to report the observation to the State Health Department. The other housewife reported the unusual occurrence of arthritis occurring from young to old in four of her family members. Dr. Allen Steere, M.D., and co-workers decided to investigate their reports. They discovered that within three villages of Connecticut - Lyme, Old Lyme, and East Haddam - a high frequency of arthritis was reponed. The high frequency suggested that some infectious agent was involved. They also noticed that the majority of cases occurred in the summer or early fall. This seasonal tendency implied involvement of an arthropod vector. At that time, not much more was learned about the disease. However, because of its geographic tendency, the disease was appropriately named Lyme Disease (LD).

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