Tuesday, 13 May 2014

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Tiny, microscopic parasite
I've been doing some research on Lyme disease. Specifically, it is the Borrelia burgdorferi infection that gives mammals this diseases. Being a zoonosis, it is a disease that results from a parasite (black-legged ticks) that passes Borrelia burgdorferi on from its gut to pets and humans.

Symptoms of the disease (healthunit.org)

  •  may include bulls eye rash, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain. 
  • These may disappear within 10 days, but if left untreated, Lyme disease can progress and affect the nervous system, joints and the heart.
  • Treatments, they now realize, may require more than the 30 days.

Ticks live on many hosts

There is some interesting research on it. Some research is better than others.  On one island study done on a Maine island (1.), they determined that since they didn't have mice, that it was passed on by Norway Rats. Norway rats were heavily infested with ticks, and over 60% of ticks contained spirochetes (the bacterium).
In Lanark County they blame the deer that carry the ticks. Studies show that rats, chipmunks, and all sorts of rodents have it. 

For the most part, most of our pets are able to fight off the disease, as do people, they think. 
The prevalence of antibody to B. burgdorferi was 23% in dogs and cats; 4% of the Maine island residents, meaning they fought the infection. [J Infect Dis.168 (3): 687-691. doi: 10.1093/infdis/168.3.687]

In another study:
tick –hasn't fed yet

Chipmunks And Shrews, Not Just Mice, Harbor Lyme Disease(2.)

  • According to the study, white-footed mice account for about 25% of infected ticks.
  • "Short-tailed shrews and masked shrews were responsible for 25% each, and chipmunks for as much as 13 percent."
I truly wonder how they study this, though.
I went out at 3 a.m., to fetch a cat in. When I awake at 7 a.m., just a few hours later, I had a tick embedded in my right arm!

Embedded tick

Lyme Disease
–often confused with other
medical issues

Macleans magazine featured an article on this subject: The Truth About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can masquerade as MS, ALS, even dementia, and its numbers are growing. So why is Canada lagging behind in treating it?
Truthfully, I think the medical profession has to realize what they are dealing with, and how many people are being infected. Some need more than the one month of treatment.

Compare the tick size to a ball-point pen

  Referenced Journal Articles

1. Norway Rats as Reservoir Hosts for Lyme Disease Spirochetes on Monhegan Island, Maine. J Infect Dis.168 (3): 687-691. doi: 10.1093/infdis/168.3.687
This tick I pulled off the cat
with tweezers

2. Chipmunks And Shrews, Not Just Mice, Harbor Lyme Disease
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, is transmitted to humans by infected, blacklegged ticks. The ticks, infected as larvae during their first meal — the blood of a vertebrate — are middle men.

University of Pennsylvania. (2007, December 6). Chipmunks And Shrews, Not Just Mice, Harbor Lyme Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129183745.htm


Ending Denial – The Lyme Disease Epidemic – A Canadian Public Health Disaster  – A Canadian Public Health Disaster, edited by Helke Ferrie, a non-profit joint project by Kos Publishing Inc and the Lyme Action Group: $ 30 per copy, 50% discount for 5 or more copies plus postage. For orders call 519-927-1049 or FAX 519-927-9542.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month(PDF)


How Patients, Doctors, Researchers, and Politicians are Trying to Awaken Canadian Health Authorities to the Reality of This Emerging Epidemic


It's these legs that let the tick crawl through fur
and hang on for hours.
• www.LymeActionGroup.blogspot.com for information on this book and Lyme politics in Canada
• www.CanLyme.com, tel. 250-768-0978
• www.ILADS.org to find a Lyme-literate doctor in North America
• www.lymediseaseassociation.org for information on all matters concerning Lyme disease www.lymeontario.org, patient support specific to Ontario
• For the 2008 documentary film, Under Our Skin, contact www.underourskin.com
• For reliable, verified testing for Lyme disease: www.igenixinc.com or call 1-800-538-9820

The first tick has eaten, and is engorged. The others, I harvested off of the cats. Once they die their legs fold under.

You can compare their size to the straight pin. There are many varieties of ticks. Your best bet is to be vigilant, check you, your family, and your pets. I'l do a post about that next!


Anonymous said...

very good info on this tick and lyme disease

Carver said...

Very informative post. My brother in law has had lyme disease for a long time.

Red said...

I've found one tick on me this spring. I found it before it burrowed under the skin, bu it did bite. You've don an excellent post on ticks.

William Kendall said...

Excellent information.

Powell River Books said...

I read the Maclean's article. We have ticks around here, but I've never had one get on me. John's dog has though. He's always checking Bro when then come in from a ride or hike in the woods. - Margy

Karen said...

We've never had ticks in my immediate area, though my friends dogs always come back from their farm near Kingston just INFESTED and we have to clean them up. I worry that they will fall off and become an issue where I live.
Two people close to me are very ill with Lyme Disease so I'm pretty paranoid about it. (I got a tick bite in Thunder Bay a couple of years ago but thankfully never developed Lyme.)