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Tick-Borne Diseases and a Possible New Method of Control


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#1 LFC

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:36 PM

Tick-borne disease is something I'm very concerned about because I live in an area where they are not uncommon and I spend a fair amount of my leisure time outdoors. Here's an NPR piece about fairly new (or newly discovered) and very serious tick-borne illnesses. Several I had never even heard of. But it's the section on a potential new methodology at tick eradication at a very local level like a yard that really caught my attention. Studies are just starting but it's a fascinating approach.

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"I can already feel that it's a pretty fat mouse," Ostfeld says, as he pulls out a white-footed mouse from a trap that's been set up in a forest near his laboratory.

The traps are metal boxes, about the size of wine bottles, hidden underneath leaves. "Mice love to enter them," Ostfeld says. "They love to enter dark tunnels."

Ostfeld has been trapping and studying these little mice for more than 25 years. And he has found something critical to understanding tick-borne diseases: The mice are covered in ticks.

For some reason, ticks flock to mice. Other animals groom the bloodsuckers off and kill them. But mice don't. They let the critters attach and feed on their face and ears.

Ostfeld says he has seen mice with 50, 60, even 100 ticks on their face and ears. "When I first noticed this, it really grabbed my attention."

Most of these ticks are carrying Lyme disease, Ostfeld has found. Others are carrying anaplasmosis, babesiosis or Powassan. Some ticks harbor two, three or even four pathogens at once.

Theses observations gave him an idea: Use the mice to kill the ticks. Turn the mice into a little assassins, who run around the forest executing ticks.

This idea is surprisingly simple to carry out. Remember those boxes Ostfeld uses to trap mice? What if you put a tick-killing chemical inside the boxes?

A mouse walks into the box and is swiped with a little brush that applies a drop of the insecticide on its back.

"The chemical is the same that people put on their dogs and cats," Ostfeld says. "But it's an even tinier drop, much tinier. So a little bit goes a long way."

And it lasts a long time. For weeks after the mouse leaves the box, it kills ticks that land on it.

But will it work in the real world?

This spring Ostfeld and Keesing have launched an experiment with 1,200 families in upstate New York to find out. Some families will get these tick boxes in their yards. Some will get a fungus sprayed on their shrubbery, which is known to kill ticks. And some will get neither.

Over the next five years, Ostfeld and Keesing will check to see whether the boxes and fungus keep people from getting tick-borne diseases.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#2 LFC

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 04:24 PM

It's tick season and my wife and I have already pulled 10+ off of us this season. Fortunately none were badly embedded or there for very long. Anyway I can't remember (or find) if we posted this someplace at TRS but there's a tick-borne illness that effectively creates an allergy to beef and pork.

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Barbara Newman didn’t think much about it when she first noticed a large tick in her hair one day after hiking in September 2012. She had several bites on her arms from tiny tick nymphs, too. But she hikes frequently and works for the Jefferson County Health Department in Alabama and knows how to remove them. So she did, and she put some cream on her arms and carried on.

Newman and her husband ate roast beef for lunch the next day, and the following night, her husband made bell peppers stuffed with ground beef for dinner. About 8 hours after that, Newman’s scalp started to itch so badly, it woke her up in the middle of the night.

“My head felt like it was on fire, and when I got up and looked in the mirror, my lips were so swollen. I looked like Daffy Duck,” she recalls. “I got up to take some Benadryl and figured I would go to the doctor in the morning. But it kept getting worse and worse, so I went to the ER.”

Emergency crews wasted no time when she walked in, immediately recognizing the symptoms of anaphylaxis -- a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. They laid her on a gurney and gave her epinephrine as quickly as possible.

“The whole time I remember thinking, ‘Whoa. How did this happen?’ ” Newman says.

She followed up with an allergist, and testing revealed high levels of resistance to beef and pork -- even though Newman, who was then 53, had been eating meat her entire life. “The doctor told me he knew of a researcher looking into this phenomenon where if you are bitten by a tick, you can develop this bad allergic reaction to mammalian meat, so he wanted to do a more specific test,” Newman said.

Further testing revealed she did indeed have high levels of alpha-gal in her blood, meaning she had been bitten by a Lone Star tick, which triggered the anaphylactic reaction to meat.

“The time between when I ate the meat and the allergic reaction was about 8 hours, and I feel like it could have been hard to correlate the two things,” Newman says. “I feel so lucky my doctor knew about this.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#3 LFC

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 04:26 PM

In this article on Powassan Virus, a new and particularly nasty disease, it's mentioned that Pennsylvania is pretty much the tick borne disease epicenter of America. That's just ... great. I think I may have to take up sailing on the ocean where it's safe.

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Unfortunately, Pennsylvania residents have to be extra vigilant about ticks during those seasons. A report released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Pennsylvania has more tick-borne disease than any other state in America.

This spring, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued a "Health Advisory," saying there has is a recent sustained increase in tick bite-related emergency department visits in nearly all regions of the state.

"From April through September, health care providers should have a heightened clinical suspicion for tick-borne diseases," the Health Advisory said.

Between 2004 and 2016, there were 73,610 tick-borne disease cases in Pennsylvania, the highest of any state in the country, according to CDC data. Across the country in 2016, there were 48,000 tick-borne disease cases. Of those cases, about 36,500 were Lyme, the Lyme Disease Association reported. And more than 11,000 of those cases were in Pennsylvania, according to data from the Lyme Disease Association.

POW virus disease cases are rare, but the reported number of cases have increased in recent years. People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities in endemic areas are at increased risk of infection, according to the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the disease also once killed a patient in Minnesota. Brain swelling from the virus was what caused her death, officials say.

The disease has been recognized in the United States, Canada and Russia. In the United States, cases of POW virus have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, according to the CDC.

The number of reported cases of POW are: Minnesota, 32; Wisconsin, 22; New York, 16; Massachusetts, 16; New Jersey, 10; Maine, 6; Pennsylvania, 5; New Hampshire, 3; Rhode Island, 3; Connecticut, 1; North Carolina, 1; North Dakota, 1; and Virginia 1.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#4 LFC

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 04:29 PM

As a PSA here's a good tick ID guide:

Posted Image


And here's a site with about 3 dozen different charts for ID, life stages, and info on which stages feed on humans.

Posted Image
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 LFC

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:25 PM

Now even Lyme Disease has its own conspiracy theory, one that's made it all the way up to the US House of Representatives.

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Was the spread of Lyme disease the result of a military experiment gone wrong? It might sound like a batshit conspiracy theory, but this question is now the subject of an investigation issued by the US House of Representatives.

The inquiry was quietly issued in an amendment proposed last week by a Republican congressman from New Jersey, Chris Smith, as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The report will look to investigate whether the Pentagon experimented with tick-borne Lyme disease as a biological weapon during the Cold War and if any weaponized ticks were let loose on the public either “by accident or experiment design.”

Smith was inspired to write the amendment after reading Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, a new book by Kris Newby that casts a deeply cynical gaze on the work of Dr Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born US scientist who is credited with the discovery of Lyme disease in 1981. Along with his famed scientific work on bacteria and parasites, there is evidence that suggests Burgdorfer became involved with something altogether more sinister.

Until President Nixon banned government research into biological weapons in 1969, the Cold War was a time when the US was heavily invested in researching biological warfare agents. In a number of interviews and comments made towards the end of his life, Burgdorfer indicated that he was involved in bioweapons research for the US military at Fort Detrick in Maryland. While the specifics remain hazy, he reportedly confirmed that he had been working on tick-borne bioweapons research.

According to the book, there were even plans to drop “weaponized” ticks from airplanes onto residential areas in order to study how the tiny arachnids and pathogens spread across a population.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#6 Bact PhD

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:34 PM

(facepalm)
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

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#7 LFC

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 06:25 PM

Researchers have created a rapid Lyme disease test which may be available by late 2020.

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The drawn-out process for diagnosing Lyme disease could become a thing of the past – good news for the thousands of people each year who get the tick-borne illness.

A new detection test created by Ionica Sciences – located at Cornell’s McGovern Center life sciences incubator – has been sparked by a FuzeHub grant to begin moving from the laboratory bench into approvals, production and doctors’ offices.

“For a long time, the medical community has wanted to detect Lyme disease directly, but the marker proteins are at very low levels and medicine has relied on tests of the body’s immune response – which sometimes takes weeks,” said Joel Tabb, president and co-founder of Ionica Sciences. “We have resolved this problem and can directly detect those markers in a very small blood sample. It’s a major breakthrough.”

Ionica Sciences, which joined the McGovern Center in 2014, has developed a serum-based assay called IonLyme that targets the blood protein Osp-A, which provides an active-protein “fingerprint” left behind by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

If a patient’s skin shows a rash resembling a bull’s-eye, the body’s response to Lyme disease has started. But confirmation of the disease can take weeks, since the body’s immune response usually has not reached detectable levels yet. New and old infections cannot be differentiated.

The new test uses an aptamer (a single-stranded DNA molecule) that binds with the Lyme disease target protein. A clinician places a patient’s blood sample on a proprietary surface that reacts with the target protein, where its presence is determined using a surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectrometer.

“This test is capable of finding a Lyme disease infection or reinfection quickly,” said Omar Green, chief executive office and co-founder. “Once you are exposed to Lyme, the antibodies can be present for decades; and once you are positive, it’s almost impossible now to determine if you were infected last week, last month, last year or in the 1990s. Our test also will be able to differentiate a fresh infection from an old one – a test that isn’t available to clinicians today.”

Tabb and Green believe the test could be available to doctors by late 2020. Before that, Ionica Sciences must complete its test validation with samples from Lyme patients, and then transfer the test to a qualified laboratory partner to make it available to clinicians, Tabb said.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#8 LFC

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:44 PM

There may be a Lyme vaccine coming. Skim the article but be sure to read the comments. They're filled with anti-vax utter nutters.

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In an exciting announcement, French drug manufacturer Valneva has announced that they’ve successfully completed their first-ever human trial of a vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, which is reportedly up to 96% effective, might soon be available in the UK and US at a “reasonably low” price.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#9 Bact PhD

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 09:21 PM

 LFC, on 10 September 2019 - 06:44 PM, said:

There may be a Lyme vaccine coming. Skim the article but be sure to read the comments. They're filled with anti-vax utter nutters.

This stuff is right in my wheelhouse. I can remember as Bact GradStudent reading papers (maybe I even gave a journal club presentation?) on OspA as a Lyme vaccine candidate way back when.

Gawd, I feel old.
Politics these days is show business. Elections are Dancing with the Stars with consequences. ~Rue Bella

(About fame) Living for likes, shares and follows is a form of validation. The question is whether it is also the source of our self esteem. If it is, we’re screwed. And, culturally, it seems as if it’s become more and more our shared value. ... Meringue is no longer a sweet and pretty topping but the body itself. ~Charles Perez

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384, via LFC, 12/1/2016

Competent people go in one of a few directions. But incompetence is infinite. ~David Brooks, NY Times

#10 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:13 AM

I know nothing about all this. I've got an old clock that ticks. is it a health hazard I should know about?
Reality is a hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

Only Satan can rebuke sin. The righteous don't know enough.

God is not dead. He was merely voted out of office.

You can do anything with anybody if you just save them the trouble of thinking.





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