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“CDC Wonder” database keeps us wondering about actual Lyme stats (Pat Smith asking the right questions says it all)

Posted By: CrystalRiver
Date: Friday, 12-Jan-2018 11:41:21

“CDC Wonder” database keeps us wondering about actual Lyme stats (Pat Smith asking the right questions says it all)

Pat Smith is the President of the Lyme Disease Association and was recently named to the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. The following blog is re-published from the LDA website.

By Pat Smith

The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) reports that the total number of CDC reported 2016 Lyme cases are now available. Never saw them? Not surprising. In the past, the CDC consistently reported Lyme numbers on a weekly basis, as they do with the other reportable diseases in its MMWR Report, which is published weekly. The last weekly case numbers reported, however, were reported one year ago for 2016.

The CDC annual year end summary of reported Lyme case numbers in MMWR–confirmed, probable, and total–were consistently reported in the past about each 3rd week of August for the preceding calendar year. The past two years, that system has changed. In fact, the 2016 numbers came out in November 2017, and they are now very difficult to locate. Thinking I had missed them, LDA wrote and asked CDC at the end of October when/where they were to be published, as the CDC website message about new reporting was unclear about that issue. CDC sent LDA two links when they came out in November.

In the summer, the LDA had asked CDC informally in a phone call why the weekly numbers were missing. CDC indicated it no longer publishes the weekly numbers due to states saying it was too confusing, and they did not want them published, and The Council of State & Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) really had control over what is published in MMWR. None of that made sense to me at the time, and it still does not make sense, and no other diseases were affected by this change in practice.

Some questions about the new reported Lyme data include why is the state of Hawaii no longer listed as N, not reportable, as it has been in the past, but only as 0 cases? Big difference between the state not reporting a disease and the CDC indicating there were 0 cases, although there could be 0 cases. Why are New York City numbers broken out from New York State numbers in one area and combined in another? Why has the State of New York never had a note on the CDC report indicating that a huge % of its counties are not even included in CDC reported numbers, a question I have posed to CDC in the past.

The LDA on its NY case map indicates “In 2015, 25 NY counties used a sampling method to determine Lyme disease case numbers. The Council of State & Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), charged with surveillance, does not allow CDC to include those estimated numbers to be reported by CDC in the national counts. Thus, NY State had 8,272 Lyme cases including those 25 county numbers by State count, but CDC was only able to report nationally 4,314 Lyme cases for the State of New York.” CDC could use a short note to indicate that only xx counties are represented in its reported case numbers for New York. This omission of reporting at least 25 NY counties in a high incidence state affects the entire total case numbers for the US, plus it can influence policy in New York if those policy makers do not understand the system.

More at this link: https://www.lymedisease.org/cdc-wonder-pat-smith/

------------------------------------------------


Many Blessings,
CrystalRiver




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