Chronic Lyme Disease: a Case Definition at Last

“You get a tick, you get Lyme disease. You want to be Johnny-on-the-spot with appropriate information, and you want to do everything you possibly can to ensure people have that information”.

It depends what kind of tick you are bitten by.

He said it’s one more reason for campers, hikers and hunters to be concerned about ticks and to take precautions to protect themselves. Avoid walking in brush, tall grass or on leaf litter, use insect repellant and if possible, and take a shower when you return home.

“There are some people who don’t develop any symptoms when they are affected by the Powassan virus and we don’t really understand why some people develop symptoms and others do not”. These tiny arachnids are out and about between snow melt in the spring and snowfall in early winter.

Why worry about blacklegged ticks?

Ticks are moving northward, spreading across Ontario and forcing public health agencies to help people deal with the threat of infections such as Lyme disease – often for the first time. You can blame the disease increase on the bumper crop of acorns last fall.

Unlike Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever has a death rate of 75 percent if not treated in early stages because it leads to organ failure. Developing a vaccine is hard because the pathogen varies and can look different in many ways.

In Manitoba, cases of Lyme have all been trending upward since the province started tracking them. Such are a few of the diabolically deceptive symptoms of Lyme Disease.

The CDC reports there are no credible reports that find Lyme disease can be transmitted through sexual contact. In 2016, there were 17 cases. In 2016, there was one case of babesiosis.

“The bottom line, stated briefly, is that acorn mast [fruit of forest trees] affects tick populations in oak forests”, Howard Ginsberg of the U.S. Geological Survey told The Washington Times in an email.

Adult deer ticks, which can carry Lyme disease, on the top (female on left, male on right) and adult wood ticks, who do not carry Lyme disease, on the bottom (female on left, male on right). In contrast, more vets screen dogs for tick diseases which generates a higher prevalence.

Other research collaborators were epidemiologist Jenna Gettings, recipient of the Boehringer Ingelheim-CAPC Infectious Disease Postdoctoral Fellowship; mathematicians Robert Lund, Stella Watson and Yan Liu from Clemson; and immunologist Shila Nordone from North Carolina State University.

So what can you, as a parent or guardian, do about ticks? “It’s like you wash your hands before dinner, you check for ticks when you come in from outside”, Deacon says.

Checking for ticks after being outside has now become routine.

Summer is bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan. Teach your kids about ticks, just as you teach them about safety from injuries and the sun. “So if they’re here then we have to learn how to live with them and to prevent disease”.

Dr. Bunmi Fatoye is a medical officer of health with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

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