A Yarmouth, N.S., horse owner wants others to know about anaplasma, a tick-borne disease that her horse, Sloane, contracted before Halloween.
“If you see swollen legs on your horse, it means something, do something,” said Sarah LeBlanc, Sloane’s owner.
Anaplasma causes serious fevers, loss of appetite and swollen and painful limbs. If a fever is left untreated, it can lead to other complications like laminitis, which can damage a horse’s hooves. Anaplasma is rarely fatal and usually responds well to treatment.
On Monday, LeBlanc received confirmation that a blood test determined Sloane had anaplasma and Lyme disease.
LeBlanc said she first realized something was wrong with her 10-year-old barrel racing horse last Wednesday.
“If you have a horse with four swollen legs, it’s not the result of an injury, it’s got to be the result of a side effect or something,” LeBlanc said. “And so I thought I would give it 24 hours to see if it goes away on its own.”
Swollen legs aside, LeBlanc said Sloane seemed pretty normal and she was still eating.
But when a horse farrier, a person whose job it is to put horseshoes on horses, saw Sloane that night, she was advised to speak with a vet as soon as possible.
LeBlanc called Dr. Megan Crouse, a veterinarian from the South Shore Veterinary Services in Wileville, N.S., and described the symptoms. Crouse told her it could be anaplasma, a disease LeBlanc had never heard of.
Crouse told CBC News in an email that anaplasma pops up at this time of year. She said it can be treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and supportive care.
Local vet sees uptick in anaplasma cases
Crouse said her clinic has treated between 10 to 12 cases this year and all have been in the last four weeks. She said it is spread through tick bites.
“The carrier must bite and be attached for 24 to 48 hours to spread infection,” Crouse said.
Tick prevention is key.
“Things such as keeping pastures clipped short, using fly/tick repellent daily, daily thorough tick checks are all things to help prevent exposure,” she said.
LeBlanc said she always checks Sloane and her other horse for ticks. She said there are a lot of them in her area.
“I’ve been picking hundreds of the ticks off the horses,” she said.
LeBlanc posted about the ordeal on Facebook last week and as of Monday, it has been shared about 500 times.
“It’s an illness, it’s a disease and you just can’t ignore it and let it go untreated,” she said.
The good news, LeBlanc said, is Sloane’s temperature continues to be normal and she’s responding well to the medicine.
“She seems happy and content, so she is certainly on the road to recovery,” she said.
Rickettsial diseases or rickettsioses are infections caused by various bacteria belonging to the genus Rickettsia. These bacteria are transmitted through the bites of certain hard-bodied ticks and some other arthropods. Rickettsial diseases are not to be confused with rickets, which is a condition affecting the bones and resulting from vitamin D deficiency.
The infections caused by Rickettsia bacteria have traditionally been classified into two groups: spotted fever and typhus. However, they’re sometimes divided into further categories. Either way, all groups include species of pathogens that can infect humans. Although Rickettsia bacteria can be found worldwide, the most common rickettsial illnesses are normally contracted in Africa and Asia.
Lyme disease is also transmitted to humans by ticks. It’s the most common tick-borne illness in the northern hemisphere. However, Lyme isn’t a rickettsial disease, since it’s caused by a bacterium of a different genus: Borrelia burgdorferi.
However, the same tick that carries Rickettsia bacteria might also be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. Therefore, it’s possible to contract both illnesses via one tick bite. Therefore, the answer to question ‘is Rickettsia a Lyme co-infection?’ is that yes – rickettsiosis can be a potential co-infection of Lyme disease.
What Are The Symptoms of Rickettsia Diseases?
Some of the most common rickettsial diseases are Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and typhus. All of these are generally difficult to diagnose. Some of them rarely cause symptoms, and most of them only cause moderate illness even when symptomatic. However, certain forms of spotted fever and typhus may be fatal if left unrecognised and untreated. The sooner these illnesses are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat using antibiotics.
The clinical presentation of rickettsial diseases varies greatly. Even infections caused by the same species of bacteria may produce different symptoms in different patients. Nonetheless, the most common symptoms include
rashes and eschar (a piece of dry and dark dead skin at the site of the bite). These tend to develop within two weeks after the bacteria have entered the body.
African tick bite fever is one of the mildest forms of rickettsiosis. Patients usually present with fever, headache, muscle pain and an eschar shortly after contracting the disease during a visit to southern Africa.
Mediterranean spotted fever is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. It’s prevalent in the Mediterranean region, including northern Africa. In addition to fever, rashes and an eschar are typical signs of the illness.
Patients with Rocky Mountain spotted fever often experience fever, headache, nausea, and stomach pain. A rash at the site of the bite is also commonly seen, but eschars aren’t usually present.
The only common symptom of murine or endemic typhus is fever. About half of all patients also develop a rash. Scrub typhus can be contracted in Asia, and it’s characterised by a severe fever, headache and muscle pain. An eschar, cough, enlarged lymph nodes and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) may also occur in some patients.
The symptoms of ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis are similar to those of other rickettsial diseases. However, they’re also known to significantly reduce white blood cell count in affected people.
Is Rickettsia The Same As Lyme Disease?
Rickettsiosis and Lyme disease share several symptoms in their early stages, such as fever, headache, fatigue, malaise and muscle pain. Moreover, all of these symptoms also overlap with those of the flu and other non-specific viral infections, making diagnosis even more challenging.
The only distinctive sign of Lyme disease is the circular bull’s eye rash that develops around the tick bite within a few weeks. However, the rash can also appear elsewhere on the body, and in 20-30% of patients it’s not seen at all.
The diagnosis of Lyme and rickettsial diseases is usually based on a combination of factors, including signs, symptoms, patient history and laboratory tests. Unfortunately, currently there aren’t any completely reliable diagnostic tests available for Lyme disease: in the first weeks after infection, there’s a 60% rate of false negative results. Serological assays for rickettsiosis are more reliable, but these can take 10–12 days to provide a decisive result.
What To Do If You Think You’ve Been Infected With Rickettsia
Ticks are very tiny, and their bites aren’t painful. Many people don’t even realise they’ve been bitten.
It’s important to note that being bitten by a tick doesn’t mean you’ve contracted an illness. In fact, out of the approximately 800 different tick species in the world, less than 60 can transmit infections to humans and animals. Most types of tick also have to be attached to the host’s body for an extended period of time in order to pass on any bacteria.
Nevertheless, you must see your doctor if you have a fever and any other flu-like symptoms or a rash shortly after being bitten by a tick. You should also arrange a medical appointment if you don’t recall being bitten but you do experience some suspicious symptoms within a few weeks of returning from a high-risk area. Be sure to tell your doctor about your recent travels, so that they can evaluate the probability of a tick-borne infection and order any appropriate diagnostic tests.
According to information written in Carl Tuttle’s petition against the IDSA, he mentions an article that indicates the persistent form of Lyme disease might be caused by another organism altogether.
“The STAT article reports that both Jorge Benach and Allen Steere now say it is time to take a closer look at Rickettsia helvetica’s role in Lyme disease. Benach says the research “should be done” because public health concerns warrant a closer look.”
“Dr. Willy Burgdorfer reviewed and tested patient blood samples from Dr. Anderson for C9P09, which is a rickettsial helical Mycoplasma; P09 being a Rickettsia bellii and C9 being a Mycoplasma (FIG. 2).35 This is further supported by the theory that an endosymbiotic infection produces spirochetes that are uncultivable Mycoplasmas, which are also called spirochetes. 1, 22, 31, 32
The “Swiss Agent” is documented by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer (FIG. 3),25 who also wrote a speech on “Pandora’s Box”.5 Although the Swiss Agent paper is associated with the suspected African Swine Flu, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer appears to be famous for leaving clues throughout his work regarding Lyme disease. Upon reviewing the structure of the Lyme disease “Swiss Agent” and the “Pandora Giant Virus”, there is a striking resemblance that deserves further examination.”
I don’t think we actually know precisely what the agent(s) causing Lyme disease is. This would explain why it can’t be picked up in current testing and why many fail treatment.
While it’s true that the early stages can often yield unspecific symptoms, an experienced eye will be able to diagnose a patient with tick borne illness. Also, please remember that in some patients their only symptoms are psychological: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/10/18/psychiatric-lymemsids/Any acute onset behavior changes should be suspect. Please don’t mess around with mainstream medicine should this occur. Get to an experienced and recommended ILADS practitioner who understands the mental illness aspect of tick borne disease.
Lyme disease isn’t the only awful illness ticks are capable of transmitting.
Superticks can carry up to four different diseases at a time, including Lyme disease. And these insects of mass destruction are becoming especially abundant in Long Island, according to a study published this month in the journal mBio.
“They’ve kind of taken over,” co-author Rafal Tokarz tells The Post.
It means that one bite could potentially give a person Lyme disease as well as illnesses such as potentially life-threatening babesiosis and anaplasmosis. A quarter of the ticks examined in the study had the ability to transmit more than one disease.
“Most people think of Lyme disease when they think of [tick-borne illnesses], and that’s justified, but in Suffolk County alone, ticks can carry four other pathogens,” says Tokarz, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Very often, we find sometimes two, even three, of these pathogens [in the same tick],” he says.
He and his fellow researchers are also growing increasingly worried about the Lone Star tick, a species whose saliva can cause an allergic reaction to meat. The tick has migrated in recent years from the southern part of the United States up to Long Island and New England.
“It got to the point where my stomach would swell up; I was vomiting,” Kristie Downen said. “The rashes were real bad. It was getting to the point [I told doctors], ‘You’re missing something — I’m still dying.’ ”
There’s currently no treatment for the meat allergy the Lone Star tick can cause, Tokarz says. But, he adds, doctors now need to start testing people who were recently bitten for multiple tick-borne diseases.
“This tick, in particular, has become very troublesome,” Tokarz says. “Thirty, 40 years ago, you hardly ever found them on Long Island. Now they’ve become extremely abundant.”
The number of diseases currently transmitted by ticks is 20 and counting. This article states it’s 16 within the U.S. but these numbers are continually influx with new pathogens continually being discovered:
For the first time, Garg et al. show a 85% probability for multiple infections including not only tick-borne pathogens but also opportunistic microbes such as EBV and other viruses.
“Our findings recognize that microbial infections in patients suffering from TBDs do not follow the one microbe, one disease Germ Theory as 65% of the TBD patients produce immune responses to various microbes.”
The poly microbial issue isn’t even on the radar of most doctors, and this is why the CDC recommendation of 21 days of doxycycline is an absolute farce.
Invasive Tick Detected in Six Additional Tennessee Counties
Thursday, October 17, 2019
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Tennessee Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture today announced the detection of the invasive Asian longhorned tick in an additional six Tennessee counties: Knox, Jefferson, Claiborne, Cocke, Putnam, and Sevier. The tick was detected in Union and Roane Counties in May.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence to date that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans in the U.S. There are concerns that the tick may transmit the agent of Theileriosis in cattle, and heavy infestations can cause blood loss and lead to death.
It is important to be aware of this tick, as cattle and canines are particularly susceptible to tick bites. Livestock producers are reminded to be vigilant when purchasing animals, apply a tick treatment to cattle prior to bringing them to your farm, and always use best practices for herd health. Dog owners should provide their animals with a tick preventative and check for ticks.
“Tennessee has numerous animal hosts and a suitable habitat for this tick species,” Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. “While it is always important to be diligent and keep an eye out for all ticks, the unique biology of the Asian longhorned tick helps this species to establish quickly and become a problem.”
Tips to prevent tick bites in animals and livestock include:
· Coordinate with your veterinarian to determine appropriate pest prevention for pets and livestock.
· Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.
· Remove any ticks by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers.
· Monitor your pets and livestock for any changes in health
If your animals are bitten by a tick, Dr. Trout Fryxell suggests putting the tick in a ziplock bag, writing down the date and where the tick was most likely encountered, and storing it in a freezer.
For additional information about the longhorned tick in the United States, click here. To find more information on tick-borne diseases, click here.
The Asian Tick has been found in the following 12 states: Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Tennessee.
An exciting new project by GLA’s Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Utpal Pal, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland was announced. This project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, will study tick-borne disease bacteria and how they leave blood vessels to enter the tissue and spread through the body.
Dr. Pal will team up with Dr. Peter Searson of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. J. Stephen Dumler of Uniformed Services University, to build three-dimensional models of blood vessels and to examine endothelial cell interactions with Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasmaphagocytophilum, which cause serious illnesses transmitted by tick bites. All three researchers bring high-level expertise to a complex question and will use a sophisticated model system not previously used, to answer important questions about pathogen spread.
UMD Collaborates on New Department of Defense Grant to Study Tick-borne Infection using 3-D Models of Human Blood Vessels
October 22, 2019
Models provide an opportunity to study how pathogens move in and out of the blood like never before, with implications for soldier and civilian health.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (PRWEB) October 22, 2019
Utpal Pal, professor in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland, is serving as one of three collaborators on a new innovative grant from the Department of Defense, using 3-D bioengineered models of human blood vessels for the first time to examine how tick-borne pathogens move in and out of blood and tissue to cause infection and diseases like Lyme and Anaplasmosis. The team is combining expertise in tick-borne infectious diseases and bioengineering to study mechanisms that cannot be adequately captured using animal models, thus providing new targets for vaccine development and therapeutic options to protect our troops and civilians alike.
Pal is partnering with principal investigator Dr. John Dumler at the Uniformed Services University and co-investigator Peter Searson at John Hopkins University.
“The story starts out with the reports that came out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health documenting the substantial increases in tick-borne diseases in the United States since 2004, and there is evidence that many are growing even faster than reported,” says Dumler.
Between 2004 and 2016, there was a reported four-fold increase in recorded tick-borne diseases, with 80% of vector-borne diseases that affect Americans actually being tick-borne and not mosquito carried. This phenomenon affects everyone in areas where ticks are prevalent, but our troops are disproportionately affected due to their frequent travel across the country and outdoor training exercises. Due to this upswing in tick-borne illness in soldiers and civilians, the United States Department of Defense started the Tick-Borne Disease Research Program as part of their Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, charged with supporting research in tick-borne illness.
The Borrelia burgdorferi pathogen that causes Lyme disease and the Anaplasma phagocytophilum pathogen that causes Anaplasmosis are two prominent pathogens carried by a common tick in the United States, the Ixodes scapularis or black-legged tick (deer tick). Dumler is an expert in Anaplasma and has been working in tick-borne infection for forty years, while Pal is a world-renowned expert in Borrelia. Both Anaplasma and Borrelia, however, have many unknowns in their infection processes, specifically in determining how pathogens move from the skin to the blood and then from the blood to their target tissues and organs like the brain. These processes are profoundly distinct for each organism as each feature different lifestyles, but it is nearly impossible to do this work effectively in animal models.
“Humans, as incidental hosts, are a big part of the disease process in the life cycle of Borrelia,” says Pal. “How the pathogen enters the vasculature is a critical event because the pathogen is still only present in a small number. And you can’t study this using animal models. Human tissues are too different, and Borrelia can’t cross the blood-brain barrier in rodent models the way it can in humans. Dr. Searson’s models allow us to study these molecular events in a human model for the first time.”
Searson is quite well known for developing tissue-engineered models of human blood vessels and systems, particularly for the brain. With recent advances in stem cell technology, these models have become increasingly complex, with the ability to differentiate cells in a way that couldn’t be done before. While 2-D models have been used in the past to examine pathogen dissemination, this is the first time that 3-D vascular structures have been used in tick-borne infection to study how pathogens are transported by the blood and vascular system in real time, and how they can enter organs and tissues like the brain.
“Right now, there is absolutely no effective model to study this process,” says Pal, “so these 3-D models are essential.” Dumler adds, “Being able to study pathogen dissemination in a configuration that mimics what happens in a real tissue will give a much better picture about what happens in real life.”
The researchers are able to visualize this process in real time, tracking pathogens with fluorescent dyes that are easily viewed under the microscope and recorded for processing and analysis. With Searson’s expertise in creating tissue-engineered models, and Pal and Dumler’s extensive expertise in the biology of tick-borne infections, they are able to manipulate the models with different types of cells and structures to visualize how transfer in and out of the bloodstream occurs.
Everyone involved is excited about the collaboration and the future of this work.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with world experts in tick-borne infections on such an important problem,” says Searson.
“This grant is just the beginning to create a unique program that will use these models to help us to address many questions in tick-borne diseases that are unanswered.”
This work is funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s Tick Borne Disease Research Program, United States Department of Defense Award #W81XWH-19-2-0045.
More than Lyme: Tick study finds multiple agents of tick-borne diseases
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S MAILMAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
In a study published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Jorge Benach and Rafal Tokarz, and their co-authors at Stony Brook University and Columbia University, reported on the prevalence of multiple agents capable of causing human disease that are present in three species of ticks in Long Island.
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. Tick-borne diseases range from subclinical to fatal infections with disproportionate incidence in children or the elderly. Moreover, 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.
In the new study, 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. In total, 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. Importantly, 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.
Notably, 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 lone star tick has also been implicated in cases of a novel form of meat allergy, and the immature stages can cause an uncomfortable dermatitis.
“Polymicrobial infections represent an important aspect of tick-borne diseases that can complicate diagnosis and augment disease severity,” says corresponding author Jorge Benach, PhD, Distinguished 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.”
“In evaluating tick-borne infection, more than one organism needs to be considered,” says senior author Rafal Tokarz, PhD, 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.”
The first author is Santiago Sanchez, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. Teresa Tagliafierro from Columbia and James Coleman from Stony Brook are co-authors of the study.
This study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Benach. Support was also provided by the Island Outreach Foundation in Blue Point, NY, to the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine. Support from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation (CU18-2692) was provided to Tokarz.
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Dear Dr. Roach • I am an avid hiker, and I live in an area with lots of Lyme disease. I recently developed some fever, headache, shaking chills and dark urine, and just felt awful. My doctor did some blood tests and said I had Babesia and/or Anaplasma. Are these related to Lyme disease? — I.J.M.
Answer • Like Lyme disease, babesiosis (caused usually by Babesia microti) and anaplasmosis (caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilium) can be spread by the bite of the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, but neither bacteria species is related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease. These diseases are not well-known by most people, nor even by many general doctors outside the areas where they are common, such as Wisconsin and Connecticut.
Babesiosis causes fever as high as 105.6 F, fatigue and feeling unwell. Dark urine is occasionally present. There are nonspecific lab findings, such as anemia and low platelet counts, but the diagnosis is confirmed by seeing the bacteria inside the red blood cells or by sophisticated blood testing (PCR). Treatment is with azithromycin and atovaquone.
Anaplasmosis has a generally lower fever, muscle aches, headache, chills and the same feeling of being unwell (called “malaise” in medical literature). Blood counts frequently show low white blood cell counts. The diagnosis is made by antibody or PCR testing, but treatment is usually started in the appropriate setting even before positive results. Treatment is with doxycycline.
Tickborne diseases may exist at the same time, so consideration must be given to people having both anaplasmosis and babesiosis, with or without Lyme disease.Doxycycline treatment for anaplasmosis also treats early Lyme disease, but does not treat babesiosis.
Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis can be very severe in people with immune system disease, such as HIV or an organ transplant. Older people are also at higher risk for severe disease.
Please notice the doctor’s wise usage of “usually caused by?” This is wise because it could be one of a number of strains of Babesia.
Please notice the the doctor’s wise explanation that a tick bite can transmit a whole host of pathogens – not just Lyme and sometimes not Lyme at all. This issue is what is completely being neglected in mainstream medicine because doctors aren’t looking at all for any of these coinfections that can come with or without Lyme. Since testing is abysmal for ALL of them, they should be educated in symptomology since diagnosis has always been and still is a clinical diagnosis. Testing is not accurate and should not be the sole means of diagnosis.
Taking into account the totality of these issues presents an entirely different picture than what authorities such as the IDSA and CDC present.
This is often a complex illness with many moving parts which necessitates various drugs of longer duration than currently being used.
The CDC/IDSA “One size fits all” approach just doesn’t work. Until authorities take into account these variables and allow doctors to treat patients accordingly, it’s a losing battle – and make no mistake about it – it’s the patients who loose.