Tick-borne diseases have become a worldwide threat to public health. In the United States, cases more than doubled, from 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tick-borne diseases range from subclinical to fatal infections. Some infections can also be transmitted by blood transfusions and cause severe disease in patients with underlying disorders.
While public attention has focused on Lyme disease in recent years, scientists have uncovered evidence that ticks can carry several different pathogens capable of several different tick-borne diseases, sometimes in a single tick. Researchers at Stony Brook University and Columbia University report the prevalence of multiple agents capable of causing human disease that are present in three species of ticks in Long Island. The study was published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. “Polymicrobial infections represent an important aspect of tick-borne diseases that can complicate diagnosis and augment disease severity,” says author Jorge Benach, Ph.D., and professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. “Some of the polymicrobial infections can be treated with the same antibiotics, but others require different therapies, thus enlarging the number of drugs to treat these infections.”
Researchers collected ticks from multiple locations throughout Suffolk county in the central and eastern part of Long Island, where seven diseases caused by microbes transmitted by ticks are present. They examined 1,633 individual ticks for 12 separate microbes. They found that more than half of the Ixodes - deer ticks - were infected with the Lyme disease agent, followed by infections with the agents of Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. Nearly one-quarter of these ticks are infected with more than one agent, resulting in the possibility of simultaneous transmission from a single tick bite. The Lone Star tick - a species originating from the southern U.S. - has expanded its range, possibly fueled by climate change.
This study documents that the invasive Lone Star tick is abundant in Long Island, and that it is a very aggressive tick that can transmit a bacterium that causes a disease known as Ehrlichiosis. The tick has also been implicated in cases of a form of meat allergy, and the immature stages can cause an uncomfortable dermatitis. “In evaluating tick-borne infection, more than one organism needs to be considered,” added senior author Rafal Tokarz, Ph.D., and assistant professor of epidemiology in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a graduate of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. “This study emphasizes the need to focus on all tick-borne diseases, not just Lyme.”
New Lyme Disease Tester Could Offer More Accurate Diagnosis
Recently developed tests may be able to provide an earlier detection of Lyme disease. The risk of this disease does increase during the summer months. More people are outdoors and ticks enjoy warm temperatures, which is one reason they stay close to the body heat of animals they come into contact with. A scientist from Rutgers University made it clear recently that new tests are on the horizon and are much more accurate and can be used quicker to properly diagnosis Lyme disease. The only test for Lyme disease that is FDA-approved was created over two decades ago although many advancements in testing and medication have been made in the past 20 years.
For a long time, anti-body tests were the only way that Lyme disease could be properly diagnosed. One of the issues with this method was that many people actually produce a similar antibody, which is referred to as cross-reactive. This would potentially cause many results that were false positives. Accurate testing is imperative when dealing with any type of condition so those who were perhaps having other auto-immune issues or suffering from something completely unrelated to Lyme disease were improperly diagnosed. More precise tests will enable doctors to figure out exactly what medications and antibiotics to prescribe to best target the infection and prevent any long-term health issues. Typically, most of those who suffer from Lyme disease deal with extreme amounts of fatigue and pain caused by not properly dealing with the infection during the initial stages of contact.
These types of diagnostic testing shifts should be considered for every single health condition, especially those that are much more rare. As technology advances, so do so many ways that we can get information - down to symptoms that are consistent with specific conditions and ways that we can potentially circumvent the progression of an illness. While homeopathic options aren't always the best option, in many cases they can actually shift things and mitigate symptoms a tremendous amount. The more research that is done and the more we figure out the best avenues for treatment the better the overall health and wellness approaches will be after awhile. To incorporate diet, exercise, supplementation and medication in healthy intervals helps to adequately get a better handle on overall health or to better manage the compromised health state you may be in from various conditions you may suffer from. It's important to get a full system off the ground that can deeply benefit your overall health.
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Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.