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During the four years, 1980 to 1983, 83 Minnesota residents have been diagnosed with
Lyme disease. Sixty-five of the patients were male. The median age of patients was 39 years with a range from one to 77 years. Seventy-five (90 percent) had onset in 1982 and 1983. Of these latter cases, 56 (75 percent) recalled a tick bite three to 27 days prior to the development of erythema chronicum migrans. Patients experienced possible exposure to Ixodes dammini in at least 24 (28 percent) of the 87 Minnesota counties; however, over 50 percent had reported exposure in one of eight east-central counties near or immediately west of the Wisconsin border. Serologic studies for antibody against the Ixodes dammini spirochete were completed on 30 patients with onset in 1982 and 1983. Of 28 patients with paired acute and convalescent serum samples, only two (7 percent) had fourfold rises in antibody titers.
Lyme disease is an emerging public health problem in Minnesota. Additional studies are needed to define the risk of
disease by geographic area within the state. Physicians statewide should be alert to the possibility of
Lyme disease among their patients, since only 39 percent of patients with onset in 1982 and 1983 were exposed in their county of residence.