Vermont Resident Dies of Rare Lyme Disease Complication

A Vermont resident has died of a rare Lyme disease complication, called Lyme carditis.

The Franklin County resident, whose name, sex or age was not released, is the first person to die of Lyme carditis in the state.

Lyme carditis occurs when the disease bacteria moves into the heart tissue, and alters the normal heart rhythms, something the CDC says is called “heart block.” Along with the common symptoms of Lyme disease like body aches and a fever, those with Lyme carditis often have heart palpitations, shortness of breath and fevers.

“It’s my sad duty to report this loss,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said, according to NBC 5 in Burlington. “While Lyme disease is increasingly common in Vermont, Lyme carditis itself is very rare.”

According to the CDC, just 1 percent of all reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S. become Lyme carditis. Between 1985 and 2018, there have been nine cases nationwide.

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The Vermont health department sent out advisories to all doctors to watch out for any patients complaining of heart issues.

“Lyme and other tickborne diseases can cause serious illness,” Levine said. “But Lyme disease, including Lyme carditis, is treatable.”

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