Sunday, June 19, 2011

Filarial Worms Found in Ticks - Should Humans Get Wormed?

Filarial Worms
We shouldn’t be surprised, if our horses (and our dogs) get Lyme disease. They run in the fields and trot or run through forest trails…and we get Lyme the same way. Yet we wonder why horses and dogs recover so much faster.  One big difference is that most responsible animal owners have their animals wormed regularly.

Recently, Dr. Eva Sapi, Ph.D wrote a fascinating article about the role of parasites in chronic Lyme – similar to the role of biofilm the parasites hide and protect the spirochetes from antibiotics, herbal treatments and our own immune systems.

Dr. Eva Sapi Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, where she combines teaching with research, leading graduate students in developing a higher level of understanding of Lyme disease. . She has organized three national Lyme disease conferences in the last several years and has taken over much of the research that Dr. Alan MacDonald conducted over the last 30 years regarding the importance of biofilms in eradicating Lyme disease.

In her research, Dr. Sapi also investigates the presence of different formations (spirochete, round bodies and biofilm) of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria which has been highly controversial since it was first released by Dr. Alan MacDonald in Vienna in 1985 when Dr. MacDonald stunned the medical world with a special slide show on neo-natal tissue that he had amassed over years of autopsying stillborn babies as the pathologist at South Hampton Hospital. Using a dark-field microscope technique to capture the images on film, Dr. MacDonald presented his shocking hypothesis to the world at the Second International Symposium on Lyme Disease and Related Disorders. Unfortunately he was ridiculed at the time. 

As the years have passed, evidence continues to mount validating the tedious and detailed work by Dr. MacDonald and his associates such as Dr. Sapi. When Dr. MacDonald developed Alzheimer's, scientists and medical researchers rushed to continue his important work – in many cases directing their research into other areas using his important groundbreaking work.

For instance, Dr. Sapi also studies resistance of these different forms of Borrelia burgdorferi to antibiotics and natural agents.It has been proposed that certain parasites could also be a factor in Lyme disease. European doctors have already incorporated Ivermectin, an antihelminth drug, into their Lyme disease protocol with surprising success. Ivermectin is well known for its effectiveness against filarial nematode infections and is often used by veterinarians to eradicate parasitic infections.

Can Lyme disease patients have filarial nematode co-infection and can they acquire this infection from ticks? The only evidence reported of filarial worm presence in ticks was from a study by Burgdorferi’ in 1984 where thirty microfilarial worms (species not identified) were found in one adult Ixodis dammini tick in Shelter Island, NY.

Black flies have already been identified as vectors of filarial nematodes. Interestingly, ticks can also be used as an in vitro experimental vector system to study the transmission of filarial nematodes and it was shown that the infected nymphal stage could transmit the filarial worms. If filarial nematodes could be a tick-borne co-infection of Lyme disease patients, their eradication would require additional treatments using specific filaricidal drugs, which could explain why standard antibiotic based protocols often fail in some chronic Lyme disease cases.

Preliminary research data on the potential presence of filarial nematodes in ticks from the University of New Haven research group, suggested that Ixodes tick could harbor filarial nematode DNA sequence and these sequences have high similarity to one of the filarial nematode species called Onchocerca.

Filariasis infects more than one hundred and twenty million men, women, and children throughout the world. There are a number of nematode species that use mosquitoes as their vectors, causing different lymphatic filariasis infections. Onchocerca volvulus, for example, is responsible for river blindness.

However, it is very possible that the species we have found in deer tick is a novel Onchocerca species due to that there are only being partial similar to known Onchocerca species. A phylogenetic approach is being used now to determine the exact filarial genus and species similarity. Identification of this potential novel tick-borne pathogen could help to design more specific tests and treatment for patients with a tick bite history and could provide a novel therapeutic target for physicians to explore for those chronically ill Lyme disease patients, not to mention the smaller percentage of people who contract Lyme from biting flies, fleas and mosquitoes. 

Reprinted from Lyme Disease Resource (Jenna's Lyme Blog).  See source:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments.