Sunday, September 6, 2015

High prevalence of Lyme disease ticks in Pennsylvania

This study is particularly interesting to me because I grew up in Pennsylvania and was first plagued by some unknown but terribly debilitating disease during my late teens while living in suburban Philadelphia. Our house was surrounded by forest, dear, squirrels, mice, etc. I worked in and played in the woods of Pennsylvania and New Jersey during my childhood and teen years. As it turns out, Eastern Pennsylvania is one of the most Lyme-endemic areas in the United States. Our location as I was growing up turned out to be a pitta me of lime territory. That is, suburban residential developments bumping right up against thick woodlands. This was the case also in and continues to be the case in Westchester County (just north of New York City), and  Lyme Connecticut, for which the disease is named. It was only during my initial intake at the age of 52, by a well-known Lyme literate medical doctor here in the SF Bay Area, that I was describing almost a text book case. For almost no reason at the age of 17, while holding summer jobs out of doors and typically in the woods, I came down with intense anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia, head pressure, neck pressure, loss of appetite, personality changes, inability to concentrate and various phobias. Working summer jobs as a surveyor's apprentice and as a crew member for a tree surgeon, the description of the sudden onset of my problems was all my LLMD had to hear. Combining my positive serology Lyme test results that we had just received with my history convinced him that I had probably been carrying the pathogens for a good 30 years or more. I had already suffered through two two-year bouts of active Lyme disease which I had attributed to going through difficult life changes. Looking back, I realize that they were classic Lyme disease flareups and more indicative of something being wrong with my body than with my psychology.


Prevalence Rates of Borrelia burgdorferi (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae), Anaplasma phagocytophilum(Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), and Babesia microti(Piroplasmida: Babesiidae) in Host-Seeking Ixodes scapularis(Acari: Ixodidae) from Pennsylvania

M. L. HutchinsonM. D. StroheckerT. W. SimmonsA. D. KyleM. W. Helwig
DOI: 693-698 First published online: 9 April 2015


The etiological agents responsible for Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), human granulocytic anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum), and babesiosis (Babesia microti) are primarily transmitted by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say. Despite Pennsylvania having in recent years reported the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the United States, relatively little is known regarding the geographic distribution of the vector and its pathogens in the state. Previous attempts at climate-based predictive modeling of I. scapularis occurrence have not coincided with the high human incidence rates in parts of the state. To elucidate the distribution and pathogen infection rates of I. scapularis, we collected and tested 1,855 adult ticks statewide from 2012 to 2014. The presence of I. scapularis and B. burgdorferi was confirmed from all 67 Pennsylvania counties. Analyses were performed on 1,363 ticks collected in the fall of 2013 to avoid temporal bias across years. Infection rates were highest for B. burgdorferi (47.4%), followed by Ba. microti (3.5%) and A. phagocytophilum (3.3%). Coinfections included B. burgdorferi + Ba. microti (2.0%), B. burgdorferi + A. phagocytophilum (1.5%) and one tick positive for A. phagocytophilum + Ba. microti. Infection rates for B. burgdorferi were lower in the western region of the state. Our findings substantiate that Lyme disease risk is high throughout Pennsylvania.

See the whole article:

  • Ixodes scapularis
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum
  • Babesia microti
  • Lyme disease

1 comment:

  1. Liked hearing your induction story, Bob. I wish they would do the same sort of study in the area of my own youth which is also a Northern California hot spot for ticks. My own saga dates to either 1965 or 66, and a known bite, with classic noteable health issues following. Tho I think that flareups I suffered thru my life may have been repeated bites, rather than flares. The smallest tick to "get me" a couple summers ago was smaller than a poppy seed - more like pepper dust; a larval or newborn stage of development. It's tiny legs were only visible with 10X magnification, using a jeweler's loupe, yet it was fully latched onto my upper leg. Reading last year that Penicillin causes the bacteria to become a persistent cell variety was disheartening because I likely was prescribed plenty of Penicillin as a child as it was a "Darling" med of the 60s. I am still of the opin that mostly getting away from antibiotics around my late teens was the best thing I've ever done to help my body fight back naturally. ( I am 58 now) Caring for my 93 year old Dad is a scary as he is suffering progressive dementia and I think it is highly likely he is a life long carrier of tick bacteria, sufferer of repeat "innoculations" ala tick. I asked him about volunteering for Borrelia b brain tissue study when he was better, his answer was no.


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