Vermont Reports First Death From Rare Lyme Disease Complication

Aug 6, 2018

The Vermont Department of Health has confirmed that a Vermont resident has died from a rare complication from Lyme disease called Lyme carditis.

It was the first such reported death in the state.

According to the department, though Lyme disease has become more common, this particular complication is rare, occurring in about one percent of cases.

Lyme carditis occurs when the bacteria that cause Lyme disease enter the heart, interrupting its electrical signals and causing it to beat too slowly.

Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the public should not be alarmed about Lyme carditis. Still, he advised that anyone experiencing Lyme-related symptoms seek medical treatment.

"Antibiotics will take care of Lyme and antibiotics will take care of this manifestation we've been talking about, carditis," Levine said.

Between 1985 and 2014, only nine people died worldwide from Lyme carditis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The department released no details about the fatality, saying only that the victim was a Franklin County resident.

It has issued an advisory to health care professionals reminding them to ask Lyme disease patients about any cardiac problems they may be experiencing.