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Scientists Predict Worst Lyme Disease Season In Md. In Years

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- The impact of an above-average tick season is hitting Maryland families hard this summer.

As Maryland approaches peak tick season, doctors are reminding Marylander to cover up. Scientists predict this could be the worst lyme disease season in years.

More than 1,200 cases of lyme were reported in Maryland in 2015 and this year is expected to be even worse.

It's a devastating disease that can often go undetected.

"I was operating under the myth that you have to have a bulls-eye rash," said lyme disease victim Susan Green.

About 30,000 cases of tick-borne lyme disease are reported every year, but that number may just be a fraction of cases.

The lyme disease test often turn up false-negatives.

"Early lyme disease, like within the first three weeks or so of the tick bite, it's not that effective. It's sometimes only 30 percent effective," said Dr. Leigh Vinocur of Medstar Health.

Ninety-six percent of lyme disease cases come from just 14 states, many of them are from Maryland and thanks to a mild winter, it's expected to be a bad summer for ticks.

The hard-hitting symptoms of tick-borne diseases can be felt for years.

"I lost use of both my hands, I couldn't control my limbs. I had twitching throughout my body. My memory was completely wiped out," Dr. Vinocur said.

Vinocur said a new test in the study phase may make diagnosis easier, but for now, prevention is the best way to keep lyme out from under your skin.

"Come in, take a shower, do a tick check, and make sure that you don't see any ticks," she said.

Doctors emphasize that not every tick bite leads to lyme disease, especially if you get them off soon, but a trip to urgent care could give you some antibiotics to prevent the disease.

Maryland averages about 1300 lyme disease cases every year.

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