Posts Tagged lyme disease study
Vector-borne diseases, like Lyme disease and West Nile, have been on the rise in recent years. When it comes to tick bites, we at Mosquito Squad suggest people remove ticks promptly and place them in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested. East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in Pennsylvania is taking it one step further and selling tick testing kits that people can get before a tick bite happens. Once bitten, the kit tells you how to remove the tick properly and offers to test the tick for you.
The testing kit, called Lyme-Aid, is now being sold online at http://www.lymeaidkit.com/. It sells for $5.99 and includes a tick remover, alcohol wipes, specimen bag and forms and preaddressed envelope to the ESU testing center. An additional fee of $39.95 is due for testing.
ESU researchers see this as a win-win for both the general public and East Stroudsburg University. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and sometimes the bacterium stays in the body for months before the patient displays any symptoms. With Lyme-Aid, a person can send a tick in for testing before any symptoms may present themselves. If the test comes back positive, the patient can decide whether or not to seek treatment from their doctor.
The benefit for ESU is not only to help the general public with efficient testing, but also with research. By receiving samples directly from the field, ESU can effectively study the spread of Lyme disease through testing deer ticks. They hope to get tick tests from across the country to gain more knowledge.
Melissa Shaw, co-founder of Lyme-Aid explains that it’s “main purpose is to educate the community about the disease. It was developed with the collaboration of about 20 students over a two-year period.” Source.
2012 brought a rise in the number of ticks this spring and an increase in the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases. This year was the first time that I, my husband and my dog all had ticks on us at one time or another and we don’t even spend time in places where ticks harbor. At Mosquito Squad, we offer tick control through barrier sprays and tick tubes, but it doesn’t mean that you will never get a tick bite, especially if you spend time outdoors at athletic events, hiking and more. Lyme-Aid kits would be great to have handy just in case you find a tick on you. It’s a step towards being more proactive about Lyme.
A new study of a 5,300 year old iceman found genetic material leading them to believe that the man had Lyme disease.
The body of what is now known as Otzi was discovered encased in ice in the Alps back in 1991. Since then, scientists have worked to discover as much as they can about him, his environment and the world 5,300 years ago through his body. Looking to learn more about him genetically, a sample was taken from Otzi’s hip bone and was tested. Along with learning about his appearance, researchers learned a lot about his possible health problems including heart disease and lactose intolerance. They also found evidence of borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme in the hip bone sample. More information on the study can be found on the International Business Times website.
“This is the oldest evidence of Lyme disease and proof that this infection was already present 5,000 years ago,” says lead researcher Carsten Pusch.
Until know, the earliest record of Lyme disease dated back to 1883 and was first diagnosed in the US in Lyme, CT in the ‘70s. In the last study by the CDC, there were over 20,000 confirmed cases in the United States in 2010.
Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks when they take a blood meal. When it isn’t readily diagnosed, Lyme disease can be debilitating, causing severe joint pain and headaches. The most common symptoms are a bulls-eye shaped rash and fatigue. If you are ever bitten by a tick, make sure to place it in a ziplock bag in case it needs to be tested.
With this new information, the question remains: should it be Otzi disease?
A recent study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene focused on one of our hot topics here at Mosquito Squad: Lyme disease. Over 5300 tick nymphs were collected between 2004 and 2006 in the eastern half of the United States (37 states) and were studied to see if borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) was present in the gut. The results were somewhat surprising.
Lyme disease was first found in Lyme, CT in 1975. Since then, the disease has been slowly spreading south. As you can see in the study’s map to the left, the study confirmed a common presence of Lyme disease from Maine to Northern Virginia with the eastern coast’s hot bed in the Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey area.
The United States has a second hot bed for Lyme in the Midwest, primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota. What is interesting to note is the very low occurrence of Lyme between the two hot beds. The researchers noted in their discussion that even in areas where the Lyme risked is illustrated as low, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist and body checks should always be performed when spending time in a potential tick zone.
Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating illness that can have lifelong affects if not treated early. Symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever and headaches. It’s important that if you ever find a tick on you, to remove it safely (here are the CDC’s recommendations for removing a tick) and place it in a plastic bag in case you need to have it tested.
Mosquito Squad is happy to help fight the bite against ticks. If you live in an area where ticks are a problem, contact your local Squad and ask about our tick control program.