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Characteristics of reported Lyme disease cases in Allegheny County, 2014

Komazec, Kristin (2015) Characteristics of reported Lyme disease cases in Allegheny County, 2014. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Background: Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by infected ticks that, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications. Pennsylvania leads the nation in annual cases, but knowledge of its incidence and distribution throughout Allegheny County has been lacking. The objectives of this essay are to describe characteristics of 1) county Lyme disease cases that occurred in 2014 and 2) case investigations submitted to the Allegheny County Health Department for the same year. Methods: Data for analysis were obtained from surveillance data originally collected by the ACHD for public health purposes. Statistical software was used to perform descriptive statistics, including counts, percentages, and incidence, on confirmed and probable year 2014 cases by age, sex, symptom onset, geography, and clinical characteristics. Descriptive statistics were also performed on case investigations to describe details and follow-up of year 2014 reports received and investigated by the ACHD. Results: Of the 1445 case investigations analyzed, 745 (51.6%) were classified as confirmed and 65 (4.5%) as probable per CDC case definition. Overall incidence in males was greater than females (77.69 versus 52.83 per 100,000), and highest incidence was in males ages 5-9 years (19.22 per 1,000). Clinical onset peaked in June (36.38%). Erythema migrans was the most common symptom in confirmed cases (70.07%), followed by arthritis (45.91%). Cases were reported in 86 residential zip codes, with incidence generally higher in northern regions. Most initial reports were submitted electronically (90.0%), included a laboratory test result (97.8%), and lacked clinical information necessitating follow-up investigation by the ACHD (97.4%). Follow-up information was obtained through investigation for 1313 cases (90.9%), most frequently from healthcare provider (67.38%). Conclusions: Knowledge gained from this descriptive study has public health relevance for Allegheny County, where Lyme disease is endemic and a growing problem. Characteristics of county cases show demographics most affected and reflect national patterns with some deviations. Follow-up investigation, while labor-intensive, produces useful information that can inform case classification and education, prevention, and treatment efforts. Future research should focus on improving provider reporting and identifying alternative surveillance methods so that this useful public health data may continue to be captured.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Komazec, Kristinkak198@pitt.eduKAK198
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLinkov, Faina Yfyl1@pitt.eduFYL1UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMartinson, Jeremy Jjmartins@pitt.eduJMARTINSUNSPECIFIED
Date: 20 August 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2016 16:51
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 11:56


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