Wisconsin relaxes Lyme disease reporting requirements

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin health departments don’t have the resources to investigate every report of possible Lyme disease, so state health officials have relaxed the reporting requirements.

The move would save money and reduce backlogged case loads, but critics worry that efforts to track the disease will suffer.

A Green Bay Press-Gazette report says starting this summer, health officials are no longer required to investigate or report cases unless the patient has the characteristic bulls-eye rash.

Diep Hoang Johnson is an epidemiologist with the state Department of Health Services. She says the new protocol could eliminate up to 30 percent of cases.

But Mike Nickel of the Wisconsin Lyme Network statewide coalition says there are concerns. For example, he says reduced caseloads could draw attention away from the seriousness of the disease.