Spate Of Fatal Lyme Cases Surprises Health Officials

By WILLIAM WEIR, bweir@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

10:06 p.m. EST, December 31, 2013

A series of fatal cases of Lyme disease in the Northeast, including one from Connecticut, have health officials on the lookout for a very rare complication of the tick-borne disease.

The first fatality was in November 2012, when a Massachusetts resident was found dead in his car. Several of his organs were recovered for transplant, including his heart, which was sent to a tissue bank for examination.

There, the heart was found to have distinctive signs of Lyme carditis, a condition in which bacteria from Lyme disease enters the heart tissue. That can interfere with the heart’s electrical signals between chambers and alter the rhythm of the heartbeat.

Two more cases of fatal Lyme carditis were detected …

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