Lyme Disease: A Real Life Deadly Alien
Lyme Disease update.
Lymes is not only important to dog owners, because it can be a serious debilitating, and life threatening disease for dogs, but people can get it also. Lymes truly is a real life deadly alien!
Dr. Zubcevic, co-director of Tick Borne Illnesses, recently shared the most recent findings, she and her colleagues have made, on the diagnosis and treatment, on Lyme disease.
I took the liberty of paraphrasing and condensing her findings. What I found most interesting:
1. Dr. Zubcevic said the recent revelation that actor, singer, and songwriter Kris Kristofferson was cured of dementia once he was properly diagnosed with Lyme disease should be a lesson for medical professionals on how pervasive the disease is, and how often it is overlooked. “Sudden-onset dementia should really be a red flag for Lyme [disease], especially in people with compromised immune systems,”
2. Lyme presents differently in children than it does in adults. “71 percent of the time, headache is the most common symptom in children,” “Mood disturbance, fatigue, and irritability are also frequent symptoms in children. If they are acting out in school all of a sudden, get them tested.”
Schizophrenia patients also responded to Lymes treatments.
3.Tick truths challenged
Recent research contradicts commonly held beliefs about the transmission and treatment of tick-borne diseases.
“The conception that the tick has to be attached for 48 hours to inject the bacteria is completely outdated,” she said. “There are studies that show that an attachment of 15 minutes can give you anaplasmosis,10 minutes for the Powassan virus, and for the different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, we have no idea.”
Dr. Zubcevic said the belief that children, infants, or pregnant women should not be given doxycycline is also outdated. “Dermatologists have prescribed doxycycline to kids for years to treat acne; why not for such a debilitating disease as Lyme?”
“Treatment should be 100 to 200 milligrams of doxycycline twice a day for 20 days, regardless of the time of engorgement,” she said. “The two-day treatment does little good.”
4. Research has shown there are 10 different strains of Lyme disease in the United States, and many of them do not test positive on the traditional Western blot or ELISA tests. With current testing, 69 out of 100 patients who have Lyme disease may go untreated.
5. The bull’s-eye rash only happens 20 percent of the time,” she said. “It can often look like a spider bite or a bruise. If you get a bull’s-eye it’s like winning the lottery. Borrelia miyamotoi, which we have a lot in Massachusetts, will not test positive on either test. That’s a huge problem, so the CDC is moving toward a different kind of test.”
Borrelia miyamotoi also has the potential to spread rapidly, since it’s transmitted directly from mother to offspring. Nymphal deer ticks need to feed on a mammal, most likely the white-footed mouse, to contract the virulent Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.
Deer tick nymphs are “the perfect vector” because of their diminutive size — the size of the “D” on a dime — and because of the analgesic, in their saliva, often makes their bite undetectable.
The bacteria they inject are equally crafty.
6. “Borrelia burgdorferi is an amazing organism; “It is a spirochete, meaning it can corkscrew into tissue as well as travel in the bloodstream. It can do whatever it wants. It’s twice the speed of a [white blood cell], which is our fastest cell. It’s so strong it can swim against the flow of the bloodstream.”
There are videos showing a white blood cell pursuing a spirochete, which evades capture by drilling into tissue.
“It’s really easy to see why this adaptive bug can avoid the immune system,”
7. Dr. Zubcevik said doxycycline stops the bacteria from replicating, but it doesn’t kill them. The rest is up to the body’s immune system, which is the reason some people suffer for so long.
“There’s a lot of neurotoxicity, which is why people feel so bad all over. It’s like a toxic warfare going on inside the patient’s body.”
8. Many people need to know proper tick removal — using tweezers to grab the head of the tick, not at the body.
“Don’t don’t squeeze the belly of the tick, it will inject the bacteria into your bloodstream. Do not use oils; it can make the tick vomit the bacteria into the bloodstream. If the tick is deeply embedded, go to the doctor.”
More information on SRH can be found at www.spauldingrehab.org/deancenter
More information on tick-borne disease prevention can be found on the Martha’s Vineyard Boards of Health Tick-Borne Disease webpage.