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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 300,000 Americans are getting Lyme disease every year, and the toll is growing.
“It confirms what we’ve thought for a long time: This is a large problem,” Dr. Paul Mead tells Shots. “The bottom line is that by defining how big the problem is we make it easier for everyone to figure out what kind of resources we have to use to address it.”
Mead, who directs Lyme disease surveillance for the CDC, presented the new “preliminary” estimate at an international conference in Boston on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
The CDC says only a 10th of Lyme disease cases â€” fewer than 30,000 â€” are reported. And to make it more complicated, an unknown number of people are being diagnosed with Lyme disease who don’t really have it.
The new estimate comes from three different ways of looking at the problem. CDC scientists analyzed insurance claims for 22 million people over six years. They surveyed labs that test for Lyme disease, and they did surveys asking people if they’d had the disease.
The result adds up to a vexing public health problem, all caused by a tick that’s about the size of the period on the end of this sentence.
A generation ago there was no such thing called Lyme disease, though it may have been lurking undetected in nature. Scientists first reported it in 1977 and named it after the location of the first cases, in Lyme, Conn.
Now it’s the most prevalent tick-borne infection â€” concentrated in 13 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest, but expanding both northward (to upper New York state and Maine) and southward (to Virginia).
In many areas where Lyme disease is entrenched, Mead says, up to 30 percent of black-legged or deer ticks carry the Lyme disease spirochete. That translates to a substantial risk of infection for humans who venture outdoors, especially in grassy and woodsy areas.
Getting Lyme disease is no picnic. Symptoms resemble the flu Ââ€” fatigue, headache, mildly stiff neck, joint and muscle aches, and fever. But if not treated with an antibiotic within about 72 hours, the infection can disseminate throughout the body, causing neurologic, cardiac and joint disease for weeks or months.
In the current New Yorker, Michael Specter explores the conflict among some people who suffer from Lyme disease, and the doctors who study it.
An unknown proportion of Lyme disease patients become chronically ill with fatigue that can be debilitating. Mead says the CDC recognizes chronic Lyme disease as a real problem. “The question is whether it’s due to persistent infection or some immunologic effect, and what’s the best way of treating it,” he says.
People often don’t know when they have gotten Lyme disease. One tell-tale sign is a bulls-eye rash around the tick bite. But Mead says 20 or 30 percent of people don’t get the rash â€” or don’t recognize it because it’s on their scalp or somewhere they can’t see.
“So it’s important for physicians to have a high level of suspicion” when they see someone with flu-like symptoms in summer, when there’s not much real flu around, Mead says.
It’s mainly up to residents of Lyme disease hot spots to avoid getting it â€” by using insect repellents, covering up when going outdoors and checking themselves for ticks when they get back inside.
Before 2002, humans could get vaccinated against Lyme disease (dogs still can). But the manufacturer discontinued it for lack of demand.
Mead acknowledges it’s pretty hard to spot an insect that’s no bigger than a poppy seed â€” much smaller than the common dog tick. “That’s one of the reasons we encourage people to shower after being in a tick-infested area,” he says. Studies show that showering within two hours after being outside sharply reduces the risk of infection.
One thing in humans’ favor: The deer tick has to suck your blood for around 36 hours before the Lyme disease organism is transmitted. So gently removing the tick with tweezers, or â€” better yet â€” washing it off before it sinks its tiny fangs into your skin is the best way to win this game.
by RICHARD KNOX
August 19, 2013 5:27 PM
Reposted By Matthew Noon Google+
Tick-borne Lyme disease is epidemic in New England, but prevention efforts are scattershot, lagging far behind need
Laurie Bent (left) dressed in light clothing to avoid tick bites during a walk with Emily Hutcheson and Bentâ€™s dog.
Should we kill all the deer?
That was the question facing residents of Maineâ€™s Monhegan Island in the mid-1990s. Lyme disease caused by deer tick bites afflicted 13 percent of the year-round inhabitants. The parasites often feed on deer before laying eggs, the argument went, so wipe out the herd and we might be rid of the ticks.
After fierce debate, islanders made the wrenching decision: Hire sharpshooters.
â€śEveryone was sort of fond of the deer . . . but we considered this an epidemic,â€ť said Doug Boynton, a longtime resident. More than 100 deer were shot, and today, he said, â€śLyme disease is virtually nil here.â€ť
Few other communities have followed Monheganâ€™s example, however. Blame the Bambi effect, as well as doubts about whether herd culling can work in places where there are dramatically more deer and people. Most other efforts to keep ticks and people apart have also foundered, even as Lyme has emerged as the second most commonly reported infectious disease in New England.
This regional epidemic has yet to trigger a broad public health response on par with prevention blitzes aimed at some other pervasive maladies. That is partly because ticks are a devious foe. Vacation spots are often loath to publicize the threat for fear of scaring off business, and the public and politicians often do not perceive Lyme as a serious malady. The result is a lopsided spending gap between prevention efforts for tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses.
â€śLyme disease in Massachusetts has been an epidemic for years. However, it has not received the attention that it deserves,â€™â€™ said Representative David P. Linsky, a Natick Democrat who spearheaded a special state commission on Lyme disease that released a report this year urging the state to combat the illness more aggressively.
Ticks have stealth on their side. Often as small as a pinhead, they donâ€™t buzz in warning and their bite is painless. At home in our backyards, soccer fields, and hiking trails, they are far more challenging to eliminate than mosquitoes. And they are ubiquitous in the very places New Englanders flock in the summer â€” from mountain paths to stream-side camping grounds.
Even in winter, ticks can bite on warm days, and climate change is lengthening the seasons when ticks are most active.
Yet people often donâ€™t take simple precautions. Constant tick vigilance can be wearying â€” and besides, itâ€™s geeky to pull your socks over your pants.
â€śItâ€™s frustrating â€” we havenâ€™t hit upon the right message yet to reach a lot of people,â€™â€™ said Tom Mather, a University of Rhode Island professor who runs tickencounter.org, a prevention-based website. Mather has spent years trying to come up with innovative ways to get people to spray tick repellent on clothes or tuck their pants inside socks when going for hikes. He even tried, unsuccessfully, to get the Rhode Island legislature to introduce a lottery scratch ticket dotted with ticks to raise awareness.
If Lyme is caught early, most people recover quickly with antibiotics, but up to 25 percent of people report feeling unwell after treatment â€” sometimes for months or years. There is enormous controversy among some doctors and members of the publicabout why these patients are sick and how long symptoms can last. But there is no doubt that Lyme is a significant health threat. Untreated, the disease can cause a range of symptoms, from facial paralysis to arthritis and heart problems, to more common complaints of fatigue and headaches. Deer ticks can also transmit four other diseases to humans.
â€śOne bite can really change your life,â€ť said Mather, who rarely travels without a pair of pointy tick-plucking tweezers in his pants pocket. â€śIt seems like prevention is such a hard sell â€¦ and it shouldnâ€™t be.â€ť
Tick prevention has a big problem: Us. People are slow to adopt new habits, even when they protect us from harm. Think sunscreen. Or flossing. Or exercise.
It can seem a real bother to perform daily tick checks or follow the recommended long-pants dress code while in the garden or on a hike. Others are simply oblivious, lulled into a false sense of security because, unlike a mosquitoâ€™s buzz and bite, the tiny ticks are often imperceptible. Itâ€™s hard to remain vigilant about something you cannot see or feel.
Nowhere has that response been more apparent than on Cape Cod and the Islands, which long have had some of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the Northeast. Last year, state officials said the region had 438 confirmed or probable cases of Lyme disease â€” although cases statewide are believed to be five to 10 times greater than reported because so many patients go undiagnosed or do not fit reporting criteria.
One 1990s-era survey of ferry passengers to Marthaâ€™s Vineyard found that while 73 percent of people had a good understanding of Lyme disease, only 22 percent performed tick checks.
â€śEven for those of us who preach prevention, it can be hard,â€™â€™ said Brenda Boleyn, volunteer chairwoman of the Barnstable County Lyme/Tick-borne Diseases Task Force.
And a surprising number of Vineyard tourists are not even aware of the Lyme risk. A recent survey found that 63 percent of visitors were unaware that tick-borne illnesses are a health threat on the island.
Now, a number of local agencies are working to turn the tables on ticks and disease. The Marthaâ€™s Vineyard Boards of Health Tick-Borne Illness Initiative is working to reduce severe tick-borne illnesses 75 percent by 2015.
The initiative recently provided parents of every grade-school child â€” one of the highest-risk populations â€” a brochure and DVD on how to protect against tick-borne diseases. The group, armed with a $250,000 grant from Marthaâ€™s Vineyard Hospital, is focusing on bite prevention and early symptoms recognition and treatment.
The coalition has also surveyed pharmacies that dispensed antibiotics to treat Lyme to get a clearer picture of the diseaseâ€™s prevalence.
â€śWe want this to be data-driven and sustainable,â€™â€™ said Michael Loberg, a Tisbury Board of Health commissioner and a member of the coalition.
On the Cape, the five-year-old volunteer group Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod regularly blankets the region with pamphlets and holds awareness events. A federally funded four-year experiment has placed 42 deer feeding stations on the Cape and Islands, where the animalsâ€™ heads and necks â€” common hiding places for ticks â€” rub against a pesticide applicator as they get food. The project is in its final year before being evaluated to see whether it should continue or be expanded, said Larry Dapsis, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension entomologist and deer tick project coordinator.
Dapsis, meanwhile, is intent on increasing the number of garden stores that carry permethrin, an effective tick repellent that can be sprayed on clothing, from two to 15. The chemical is not meant to be sprayed on skin.
Store managers â€śjust need a little tick boot camp, a little education,â€™â€™ he said.
These efforts, and others across the state, often rely on shoestring funding and volunteers: Unlike the more than $10â€‰million spent statewide on prevention of mosquito-borne diseases, the state allocates only a few tens of thousands of dollars for tick-disease education. Last year, there were 33 human cases of West Nile virus and seven cases of Eastern equine encephalitis reported in Massachusetts; both are spread by mosquitoes. There were more than 5,000 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme.
In the State House
There are signs that Lyme and ticks may soon get more attention. The Lyme special commissionâ€™s report called for the state to launch a range of prevention efforts, from aggressive public education to clearing brush from trails to exploring expanded bow hunting for deer in more parts of the state. The report called for an increase in state funding, but the Legislature and governor so far have not acted on the suggestions.
Still, a hearing is expected in coming months for a bill reintroduced in the State House this year by Representative Carolyn C. Dykema, a Holliston Democrat, that would expand the authority of the stateâ€™s mosquito control districts to include controlling the tick population.
Other headway is being made by the federal government. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Environmental Protection Agency have convened meetings in recent years to discuss possible community-wide tick control measures that might be effective.
Disease-carrying mosquitoes are readily killed by spraying because they breed in standing water and wetlands, â€śbut ticks are everywhere,â€™â€™ said Kirby Stafford III of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, who has written extensively on tick prevention. Ticks live under leaf litter and brush. â€śItâ€™s not easy to reach them,â€ť he said.
Yet federal officials say it is clear that more coordinated action by public health agencies is needed.
â€śFor some reason, tick control has fallen largely on the shoulders of individual homeowners,â€™â€™ said C. Ben Beard, chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch of the CDC. â€śIt needs to be thought of as a community-based responsibility.â€ť
Deer ticks got their name because so many feed on the serene mammals. Deer populations have steadily increased over the last century in the Northeast, and a Rhode Island study by Mather found that five engorged ticks, each able to lay 2,500 or more eggs, can drop off a single deer every day during October and November.
â€śReduce deer and you significantly reduce risk,â€ť said Sam R. Telford III, a professor at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
In Massachusetts, some communities â€” including Framingham, Sudbury, Andover, and Dover â€” allow bow-hunting on town property to reduce deer populations to prevent Lyme. But as the practice gains traction, so does controversy. A group of Weston residents this year unsuccessfully attempted to repeal a year-old bow-hunting program that killed 18 deer last year.
â€śThe group against hunting is not just people who are deer lovers,â€™â€™ said Diane Anderson, co-founder of Weston Deer Friends. â€śThere is a spectrum â€” people concerned about the safety of dogs and children; others who feel very strongly that town lands are for townspeople to enjoy. . . . Plus there was nothing showing it was going to work.â€ť
Some scientists are on the opponentsâ€™ side, saying it is not clear that culling deer will reduce ticks, because adult ticks may find other hosts to latch on to for a needed meal of blood before they lay eggs.
â€śThe only real evidence there is a relationship between deer numbers and Lyme disease risk took place on islands,â€™â€™ where there were no other large animal hosts for adult ticks, said Richard S. Ostfeld, disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. Some research suggests more needs to be done to control mice, which often pass the Lyme bacteria to young ticks, perhaps by increasing populations of predators, such as fox.
Research also shows that deer herds need to get down to about 8 to 10 per square miles to have a significant effect on human disease â€” Marthaâ€™s Vineyard has 40 to 50 per square mile, according to a just completed census â€” and most townsâ€™ programs have not met that goal. Even if they do, neighboring communities may not reduce herds, which cross town boundaries.
â€śIt has to be a regional effort,â€ť said Laurie Bent, Weston Conservation Commission chairwoman. An avid walker on town lands, she dresses in light-colored clothes, long pants, and a long-sleeve shirt â€” and she even bought a white standard poodle in part because ticks would be more visible on her pet. â€śThis is a start,â€ť she said of Westonâ€™s bow-hunting program.
Mather is in the deer-culling camp, saying the evidence is overwhelming that it helps to limit disease spread. But he urges multiple approaches to prevention. He spearheaded development of tiny tubes filled with tick-repellent cotton balls that residents can leave in backyards. Mice take the balls back to their nests so ticks do not latch onto them to feed. There is also ongoing work by Telford and others to vaccinate mice, to keep them from infecting ticks with Lyme. And in New York, an experiment is testing contraceptive injections to reduce deer-herd growth.
Mather continues to find new ways to reach the public. Recently, heâ€™s tried to buttress his case by gluing seed-sized deer ticks onto the surface of a poppy seed bagel.
â€śA lot of people say they will never eat a poppy seed bagel again,â€ť Mather said. â€śBut they get the message how small these ticks are. We are trying to get out a prevention message that sticks.â€ť
By Beth Daley | GLOBE STAFF | JULY 14, 2013
Reposted By Matthew Noon Google+
On putting green turf, dollar spot appears as small spots, approximately the size of a dollar coin, that are bleached-white or light tan in color. On turf mowed at heights greater than 0.5â€ť, the spots may expand in size up to 6â€ť or more in diameter. The affected leaves typically remain upright and are characterized by having white or light-tan lesions with light reddish-brown margins. As the lesions expand, the leaves are girdled and the upper part of the leaves dies slowly. Distinct lesions are sometimes not evident on close-cut turfgrasses; instead, the leaves die back from the tip and turn white or light tan in color. The grass in the spots may be killed to the soil surface if the disease continues to develop, and many spots may merge to produce large blighted areas. Short, fuzzy white mycelium is often observed on affected turf in the morning when dew is present.
- Host Grass Species ALL
- Month(s) with symptoms February to November
- Stand Symptoms spots, patches (4 to 12 inches)
- Foliar Symptoms – Location/Shape round leaf spots, leaf lesions
- Foliar Symptoms – Color tan or white
- Root/Crown Symptoms none
- Fungal Signs mycelium or none
FACTORS AFFECTING DISEASE DEVELOPMENT
The dollar spot fungus begins to grow and infect susceptible grasses in the spring when night temperatures exceed 50Â°F, even though symptoms of the disease may not appear until later in the spring or early summer. In addition, the pathogen requires extended periods of leaf wetness, 10 to 12 continuous hours. Heavy dews that often form during cool nights in the late spring or early summer are most conducive to the disease. Extended periods of wet, overcast weather can also lead to severe dollar spot epidemics on susceptible grasses. Dollar spot remains active throughout the summer in many areas, but disease activity typically slows when high temperatures consistently exceed 90Â°F.
Turfgrasses that are deficient in nutrients, especially nitrogen, are more prone to dollar spot and also recover from the damage more slowly than well-fertilized turf. The disease is also encouraged by drought stress, low mowing, excessive thatch accumulation, frequent irrigation, and low air movement. Certain cultivars of creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass are very susceptible to dollar spot, while others are fairly tolerant.
Use of resistant cultivars is one of the most effective means of dollar spot management. This is particularly important for creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass, as cultivars vary widely in their susceptibility to the disease. Base turfgrass selection on University recommendations or regional cultivar trials operated by the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program or local universities. When planting cool-season grasses, use blends and mixtures of multiple species and varieties whenever possible.
Adequate nitrogen fertilization will help to prevent dollar spot, and will also encourage plants to recover quickly from the disease if it occurs. Select nitrogen sources, rates, and timings based on local University recommendations for your turfgrass species and climate. In general, golf course putting greens established with creeping bentgrass or annual bluegrass should be fertilized with 0.5 lb N/1000 ft2 per growing month. More or less nitrogen may be required for your location depending on soil type, rainfall amounts, traffic intensity, and other management practices. Deficiencies in other nutrients that limit foliar growth may also exacerbate dollar spot problems. Use soil test results to apply the recommended amounts of phosphorus, potassium, lime, and micronutrients.
Dollar spot is encouraged by drought stress and leaf wetness. Proper irrigation timing is needed to balance these factors. Irrigate based on the moisture status of the soil, not on a calendar schedule. Use the Turf Irrigation Management System available on TurfFiles to schedule irrigation based on weather conditions and turf needs. When irrigation is necessary, it should be applied early in the morning, between midnight and 6 AM, to keep leaf wetness periods as short as possible. Mowing, dragging, or whipping the turf in the morning to remove dew can help to prevent dollar spot, but these practices can spread the disease if it is actively developing. Improve air movement and reduce humidity by pruning trees, clearing unwanted vegetation, or relocating desirable plants.
Excessive thatch accumulations greatly encourage dollar spot activity. Remove excess thatch by vertical mowing or power raking. Golf course putting greens should be aerified regularly and topdressed with sand to reduce thatch buildup.
Dollar spot is readily spread in leaf tissue or clippings from infected areas. Avoid spreading the disease by washing equipment before entering an uninfected area, by encouraging golfers to clean their shoes between rounds, and by removing and disposing of clippings taken from infected areas.
Many fungicides control dollar spot, but preventative applications are most effective. A preventative program should be implemented in the early spring when night temperatures consistently exceed 50Â°F. When applied on a curative basis, fungicides must be applied at high rates and short application intervals.
Uniform spray coverage is important for maximizing fungicide performance; even small gaps in coverage may allow dollar spot to develop. Nozzle type, nozzle pressure, and dilution rate have the greatest impact on the uniformity of fungicide applications. Nozzles that produce coarse to extremely coarse droplets, such as TurfJet or Raindrop nozzles, dramatically reduce the performance of fungicides for dollar spot control. Air-induction or flat fan nozzles that produce fine to medium droplets are recommended. In order to provide thorough coverage of the turfgrass foliage, fungicides should be applied in 2 gallons of water per 1000 ft2; lower carrier volumes reduce the performance of fungicides for foliar disease control.
The fungus that causes dollar spot develops resistance to fungicides very quickly. To prevent or delay the onset of fungicide resistance, use integrated management to minimize fungicide use, rotate among fungicide classes after each application, and tank-mix systemic fungicides with a contact fungicide.
As always it is preferred that a licensed professional apply chemicals to your lawn. For more information on this type of service, click here or call 978-838-3100
The map and list linked below show towns and cities in Massachusetts with Public Water Supply (PWS) systems that have notified MassDEP that they have implemented outdoor water use restrictions in 2013.
The restrictions may be Voluntary, Mandatory, Emergency or Total Ban on nonessential water use, and may include limitations on outside water use such as odd/even days, hours of the day, hand-held hose, no automatic sprinklers, or total bans on outside watering. Contact your local PWS for updated outdoor water use restriction information.
If you have any questions regarding this map, or if you represent a PWS and would like to add your community to the map, please contact Jen D’Urso at MassDEP, Jen.DUrso@state.ma.us or 617-654-6591. PWSs that implement mandatory restrictions are required to notify MassDEP by submitting the Notification of Water Use Restriction form to the Water Management Act Program in MassDEP’s Boston office.
NOTE: The data presented may not be current. Contact your municipal public water supplier for updated restriction information.
Lyme disease incidences are higher in New England states. The chart below, shows detail of these statistics.Note that Massaschusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are all in the Top 13 states.
Reported cased of Lyme disease by state or locality, 2002-2011†
- Page last reviewed:Â September 10, 2012
- Page last updated:Â October 29, 2012
- Content source:Â Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD)
Reposted and Highlighted By Matthew Noon Google+
Noon Turf Careâ€™s founders, Matthew and Christopher Noon attend Harvard Business Schoolâ€™s Owners and Presidents 3 Week Program.
Matt and Chris Noon, founders and owners of Noon Turf Care attended Harvard Business School for a 3 year intensive Presidentâ€™s program from May 12th-June 1st. The OPM Programâ€™s curriculum is geared towards owners and presidents of companies that have revenues of over 10 million dollars. The program covers the fundamentals of running and leading large companies covering topics such as accounting, finance, leadership, strategy, marketing and innovation. This total emersion program runs for 3 week periods over the course of 3 years. There are over 2,000 applicants that apply each year from all over the world and only 160 people are chosen per semester. For 3 weeks executives live on Harvardâ€™s campus and are taught the Case Study method of learning which Harvard created in the early 20th Century. Business leaders are taught over 3 case studies per day and learn on authentic and current business cases on companies such as Amazon and Coca Cola. Matt and Chris will return next year in March to start Module II of the 3 year program.
â€śWe were honored to be selected by the worldâ€™s best university and we were humbled to study amongst such an elite group of business professionals. Needless to say, we learned a tremendous amount on cutting-edge business concepts and we learned even more from the fellow students that attended from countries such as China, India and Brazil,â€ť Says President of Noon Turf Care Matthew Noon.
The Noon brothers are looking forward to continuing their education at Harvard next year. In the meantime, they have their work cut out for them applying all that they learned. Module II will go deeper into all of the concepts taught in Module I.
Link to original article found here:
By Matthew Noon Google+
By Beth Daley | GLOBE STAFF JANUARY 16, 2013
Researchers have discovered a new human disease in the Northeast transmitted by the same common deer tick that can infect people with Lyme disease.
The bacterial illness causes flu-like symptoms, researchers from Tufts, Yale, and other instiÂtutions reported Wednesday, but they also described the case of an 80-year-old woman who became confused and withdrawn, lost weight, and Âdeveloped hearing difficulty and a wobbly gait. The woman, from New Jersey, recovered Âafter receiving antibiotics.
Researchers estimate that 1 percent of the population in Âareas where Lyme is widespread, such as western Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands, may be infected by the new bacteria, which can be transmitted by the tick when it is as small as a poppy seed. Lyme disease is thought to be 7 to 10 times more prevalent in these areas.
The discovery, reported in a paper and letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, marks the fifth human illness spread by deer ticks in the Âregion, highlighting growing concern about the threat posed by ticks and the burgeoning population of their hosts, deer. The disease is so new that it is unnamed, and there is no readily available test for doctors to screen for it, although some are being developed.
â€śIt was right under our nose the whole time,â€™â€™ said Sam ÂTelford, a professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who studies tick-borne diseases.
Telford, one author of the paper about the elderly woman, said the bacterium, Borrelia Âmiyamotoi, has been known in deer ticks for about a decade. But it was not believed to cause human illness until last year when researchers linked it to 46 sick people in Russia, some with relapsing Âfevers.
One scientist said the new disease might be the cause of unexplained symptoms, from fatigue to cognitive decline, in some people who believe they have Lyme disease but do not test positive for that bacteria.
â€śThe good news is it looks like it is a treatable illness based on the small number of patients reported thus far,â€™â€™ said Brian Fallon, a professor of psychiatry who runs Columbia Universityâ€™s Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center and is not associated with the studies. â€śItâ€™s promising to realize that scientists have identified a new organism carried by ticks that might help to explain why some patients who test negative for Lyme nonetheless respond favorÂably to antibiotic treatment.â€ť
In six cases described in the journal, the patients were treated with antibiotics and fully Ârecovered. None of the infected patients, both treated and untreated, described long-lasting, persistent symptoms.
Researchers from the Yale Schools of Public Health and Medicine who coauthored the Russian study with Russian scientists set out to see if there was evidence of the infection in peopleâ€™s blood closer to home.
They tested blood samples obtained since 1990 and found positive results in 1 percent of 584 healthy people from ÂBrimfield in Western Massachusetts and Block Island, R.I. In addition, 3 percent of 273 Southern New England residents with Lyme disease or suspected Lyme disease also had evidence that they had been Âinfected with the new bacteria. The researchers could not deterÂmine whether most of those people had the new illness.
Similarly, 21 percent of 14 southern New York patients with an unexplained virus-like sickness showed evidence of Âinfection. Lead author Peter Krause, senior research scientist at Yale School of Public Health, cautioned that it was difficult to draw many conclusions about prevalence of the disease from these 14 people because the sample size was so small and the group was highly selected.
Still, given that roughly 2,600 people were reported to get Lyme disease in Massachusetts 2011 and that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledge that underreporting could mean that number is tenfold higher, it stands to reason there could be a significant number of people who are infected with the new bacteria, Krause said, Âalthough how many become sick is unknown.
The 80-year-old woman, who previously had been treated for cancer, lives on a farm in New Jersey and suffered four months of mental decline.
At first, doctors thought she might have had a recurrence of cancer, which led them to perform a spinal tap. Cancer was ruled out, but Joseph L. ÂGugliotta, an infectious disease doctor at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, saw corkscrew bacteria known as spirochetes in her spinal fluid. It looked similar to Lyme bacteria, but he knew the woman, with her compromised immune system, probably would be much sicker if it were Lyme.
He contacted Telfordâ€™s group and others, who knew of the Ârecent study in Russia. In the meantime, Gugliotta began treating her with a monthlong course of antibiotics.
â€śWithin a few days we saw an improvement,â€™â€™ said ÂGugliotta. â€śBy one month, she was back.â€ť
Reposted By Matthew Noon Google+
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This is our first radio ad ever. Check it out! Exciting!
By Matthew Noon Google+