Archive for the ‘Bartonella’ Category

New Study: The Hidden Ways Microbes Control Tick Behavior

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/new-study-the-hidden-ways-microbes-control-tick-behavior?

New Study: The Hidden Ways Microbes Control Tick Behavior

New Study: The Hidden Ways Microbes Control Tick Behavior

by Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio
Posted 9/17/20

We’ve heard a lot of late about an increase in Lyme disease cases, but tick-borne diseases of all kinds — including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, rickettsiosis, and others — are on the rise throughout the United States, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least part of the increase in tick-borne illnesses can be traced to an expanding tick population, caused by several factors including changes in climate patterns and the development of housing into wooded areas, creating closer interactions between people, animals, and ticks.

But what if there’s also an unseen force at work compelling ticks to act out or present with certain behaviors that give them a leg up when it comes to their own survival — and that of the microbes they carry? New research suggests that perhaps there’s more to this story than we know.

First, a Basic Overview of Ticks On the Hunt

More than four decades after the first cases of Lyme disease were diagnosed, we’re still learning about tick behavior and why they operate in the way they do. We know that blood hosts like humans and animals are critical for tick survival, so ticks are regularly on the prowl.

A tick’s vision isn’t very good, so they rely on other sensory components to find food sources. Located on the first pairs of ticks’ legs are tiny structures called Haller’s organs. These organs are found only on ticks, and it is believed that they function somewhat like antennae and utilize the sense of smell to detect odors wafting through the air to find unsuspecting hosts.

Using their Haller’s organs, ticks detect the carbon dioxide (CO2) that comes from human respiration and breathing — they can sense other chemicals like ammonia and pheromones, too. While certain ticks, like the Lone Star tick, can aggressively charge potential human hosts, most prefer a more subtle approach: Waiting patiently on blades of grass or areas of brush until you approach them, an activity known as “questing.”

diagram of tick biology

When a tick quests, they grip the blade of grass or brush with their back legs and stretch their front legs into the air. In due time, a human or animal walks past, and they latch on, using the front legs to ascend their new host and search for a suitable spot to begin feeding.

As weird and as sci-fi as all this sounds, emerging research from Giovanni Benelli, PhD, Senior Research Entomologist at the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, has begun to shed light on microscopic agents that exert influence upon ticks’ hunting behavior. Interestingly, it’s the very microbes we work so hard to avoid that play puppeteer to their tick hosts.

6 Microbes that Manipulate Tick Behavior

In August 2020, Benelli published a new review in the journal Pathogens investigating whether microbes Anaplasma, Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia, and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) were involved in influencing tick behavior and adaptive significance (traits that affect a tick’s reproductive success). Pathogenic manipulation — such as an increase in biting frequency and duration and changing host-borne odors to make them more appealing meals for other arthropods like mosquitos and sand flies — has already been noted in scientific literature.

In regards to ticks, Bellini’s data suggests modes of pathogen-tick manipulation may include physiological changes, tolerance to extreme temperatures, and enhanced survivability, among others. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the key highlights of Benelli’s research, a wealth of further insights into tick behavior that could be a crucial factor in helping to curtail the bugs’ proliferation and their ability to spread chronic illnesses.

1. How Borrelia Impacts Tick Behavior

Borrelia is the bacteria implicated in Lyme disease. In the United States, Borrelia burgdorferi is the species that’s found in black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) or deer ticks. However, in Europe, the predominant Lyme disease-carrying tick is the castor bean tick (Ixodes ricinus).

Borrelia infection in the blood. Borrelia bacteria cause borreliose, transmitted by ticks and by lice.

Borrelia may manipulate tick behavior in both tick species, according to Bellini’s review. Here are some of his key findings:

Key Findings:

  • Black-legged nymph ticks infected with B. burgdorferi showed enhanced movement toward or away from light sources (phototaxis).
  • Nymph ticks infected with B. burgdorferi demonstrated an affinity for vertical surfaces such as the top layers of leaf litter piles or plant vegetation like blades of grass, which may provide them with more opportunities to come into contact with hosts.
  • B. burgdorferi stimulated tick histamine release factor (tHRF), the chemical that regulates vascular permeability and improves blood flow to the site of the bite for feeding.
  • Infected adult black-legged ticks had slower mobility than their non-infected counterparts. However, research is unclear whether this is a behavior adaptation resulting from B. burgdorferi.
  • Castor bean nymph ticks exposed to extremely dry conditions showed they were more active and more resistant to harsh conditions than those that were not carrying the pathogen.
  • Nymph ticks carrying a strain of Borrelia known as Borrelia afzelii (a European strain known for its ability to affect the central nervous system) had increased rates of mobility, including duration and speed of movement, over non-infected ones.

The Takeaway

Indeed B. burgdorferi may manipulate tick behavior in several ways, but Bellini acknowledges that further research is needed to determine how these behaviors contribute to disease and how the data can be used to slow the spread of ticks and prevent the transmission of Lyme disease.

2. How Anaplasma Affects Tick Behavior

All ticks, including the black-legged tick, carry multiple disease-causing microbes known as coinfections. One such microbe is Anaplasma phagocytophilum, previously called human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE). When a tick is infected with A. phagocytophilum, it may demonstrate behavioral changes that influence survival, questing, and feeding.

Anaplasma microbe, microscope view

The following three are important points to note from Bellini’s research:

Key Findings

  • A. phagocytophilum-infected black-legged ticks create heat shock proteins in response to stressful environmental circumstances. This makes them more resilient to extremely dry environments and boosts their survivability rates.
  • In the non-infected tick population, cold temperatures can raise the tick mortality rate. But ticks that have been infected with A. phagocytophilum have an advantage — they manufacture an antifreeze glycoprotein that guards them against the cold.
  • A. phagocytophilum is present in the salivary glands of ticks, and it inhibits cellular death to allow for the infection to be transmitted from the tick’s vector to the host, fostering more effective feeding and greater survival.

The Takeaway

The relationship between A. phagocytophilum and tick manipulation is a better-researched interaction than that of other ticks and pathogens. The mechanisms by which A. phagocytophilum alters the behavior of the tick are more apparent in terms of how it augments tick reproduction and survivability. However, when it comes to other species of Anaplasma that may impact humans or animals, more research is needed.

3. How Babesia Affects Tick Behavior

Babesia is a distant cousin of malaria and a less virulent microbe, comparatively. Babesia may occur in up to 40% of people infected with Lyme disease, indicates a report in Trends in Parasitology, making it a relatively common coinfection. The species of Babesia that are most likely to pose a disease risk to humans are Babesia microti, Babesia divergins, and Babesia ducani (WA-1).

Babesia microbe, zoomed view, round

Regarding Benelli’s review, only a few studies have looked at the effects Babesia may have on tick behavior, but he noted the following:

Key Findings

  • B. microti maximized the success of feeding and strengthened the survival of shrew ticks (Ixodes trianguliceps), but these modifications didn’t correlate with the strain’s infection rates.
  • In animal studies, B microti delayed the amount of time it took for a tick to become engorged.
  • Nymph ticks that fed on infected hosts had a higher body weight than those that fed on non-infected ones.
  • Larvae who fed on infected hosts shed their skin more quickly (a process known as molting) than those that fed on non-infected ones.

The Takeaway

At present, the research on Babesia species and their ability to manipulate tick behavior is scant. The processes that encourage feeding, development, and the survival of ticks infected with Babesia have yet to be determined.

4 & 5. How Bartonella and Rickettsia Affect Tick Behavior

Rickettsia microbe, zoomed in microscope view

Although Bartonella, a common coinfection found in people with Lyme, and Rickettsia, a highly virulent and life-threatening microbe, can pose serious health risks to humans, little is known about the behavioral changes these infections may have on tick behavior. A few points worthy of consideration include:

Key Findings

  • Bartonella-infected castor bean ticks had an increase in a component called Ixodes ricinusserine protease inhibitor (IrSPI). This enzyme inhibitor is involved in such biological processes as inflammation, blood clotting, wound healing, constricting blood vessels, and altering hosts’ defense systems.
  • Rickettsia-infected ticks demonstrated a greater inclination towards electromagnetic fields than non-infected ones.

The Takeaway

Like Babesia, the research on Bartonella- and Rickettsia-infected ticks is minimal. However, because annual incidences are on the rise, continued investigation in this area has the potential to bring about crucial information for the benefit of public health.

6. How Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Affects Tick Behavior

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBEV) is a viral infection spread through the bite of an infected tick. The virus resides throughout Europe and Asia, according to the CDC, making the infection relatively unknown in the U.S.

Encephalitis microbe, zoomed in microscope view

Between 20% and 30% of people who acquire the infection develop symptoms that affect the nervous system. Evidence for two hypotheses suggest the virus can manipulate tick behavior in the following ways:

Key Findings

  • TBEV intensifies tick movement and the ability to find a host.
    Feeding results in higher concentrations of TBEV.
  • When a TBEV-infected tick is unfed, the concentration of the virus remains low. But when the tick feeds, the TBEV titers raise to reach detectable levels.
  • A percentage (6%) of TBEV-infected adult castor bean ticks can navigate DEET-covered areas with a 1% formulation. In contrast, uninfected ticks were unable to cross these areas.

Takeaway

In general, ticks infected with TBEV demonstrated enhanced tick mobility, including walking speed and duration, and a proclivity toward higher questing heights. These changes may lead to greater outcomes when it comes to tick and microbe survivability.

Putting It All Together

There’s no doubt that’s an incredible amount of information to take it in. But this valuable data sets the stage for the urgent need for ongoing research when it comes to understanding how pathogens affect and modify tick behavior.

There is a wide array of tick species worldwide, and countless disease-causing pathogens that pose a threat to human health. Tracking behavioral changes in infected and non-infected ticks could one day lead to positive, new developments for halting the spread of tick-borne diseases.

In the meantime, your best bet is to practice good tick-prevention strategies like doing regular tick checks when coming in from the outdoors, wearing permethrin-treating shoes and clothing, and promptly removing attached ticks with a pair of fine-pointed tweezers. 

REFERENCES

1. Alberdi P, Espinosa PJ, Cabezas-Cruz A, de la Fuente J. Anaplasma phagocytophilum Manipulates Host Cell Apoptosis by Different Mechanisms to Establish Infection. Vet Sci. 2016;3(3):15. Published 2016 Jul 15. doi: 10.3390/vetsci3030015
2. Benelli G. Pathogens Manipulating Tick Behavior-Through a Glass, Darkly. Pathogens. 2020;9(8):E664. Published 2020 Aug 17. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9080664
3. Blisnick AA, Šimo L, Grillon C, et al. The Immunomodulatory Effect of IrSPI, a Tick Salivary Gland Serine Protease Inhibitor Involved in Ixodes ricinus Tick Feeding. Vaccines (Basel). 2019;7(4):148. Published 2019 Oct 12. doi: 10.3390/vaccines7040148
4. Carr AL, Mitchell RD III, Dhammi A, Bissinger BW, Sonenshine DE, Roe RM. Tick Haller’s Organ, a New Paradigm for Arthropod Olfaction: How Ticks Differ from Insects. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(7):1563. Published 2017 Jul 18. doi: 10.3390/ijms18071563
5. Dai J, Narasimhan S, Zhang L, Liu L, Wang P, Fikrig E. Tick histamine release factor is critical for Ixodes scapularis engorgement and transmission of the lyme disease agent. PLoS Pathog. 2010;6(11):e1001205. Published 2010 Nov 24. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001205
6. Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases Increasing. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/diseases-and-conditions/lyme-disease/index.html#:~:text=The%20reported%20numbers%20of%20cases,59%2C349%20reported%20cases%20in%202017.
7. Tick-borne encephalitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/tickborne-encephalitis#:~:text=Tick%2Dborne%20encephalitis%20(TBE),headache%2C%20nausea%2C%20and%20vomiting
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**Comment**
 
This explains a lot – if only mainstream medicine/research will listen instead of conducting more climate data. It also makes sense.
 
 
It is commonly known that parasites affect behavior:

Parasites are a whole new fantastical frontier. I’ll never forget this information on how parasites affect human behavior by Dr. Klinghardt, which I found here:  http://www.betterhealthguy.com/a-deep-look-beyond-lyme

  • Parasite patients often express the psyche of the parasites – sticky, clingy, impossible to tolerate – but a wonderful human being is behind all of that.

  • We are all a composite of many personalities. Chronic infections outnumber our own cells by 10:1. We are 90% “other” and 10% “us”. Our consciousness is a composite of 90% microbes and 10% us.

  • Our thinking, feeling, creativity, and expression are 90% from the microbes within us. Patients often think, crave, and behave as if they are the parasite.

  • Our thinking is shaded by the microbes thinking through us. The food choices, behavioral choices, and who we like is the thinking of the microbes within us expressing themselves.

  • Patients will reject all treatments that affect the issue that requires treating.

  • Patients will not guide themselves to health when the microbes have taken over.

It only follows that parasites will affect tick behavior as well.

Bartonella Is An Entity Often Diagnosed in Breast Imaging Department During Axullary Lymph Node Assessment

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32821616/

 

Bartonella Found in Ticks, Biting Midges, and Moose

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32757355/

. 2020 Aug 5.

doi: 10.1111/tbed.13762. Online ahead of print.

Bartonella spp. detection in ticks, Culicoides biting midges and wild cervids from Norway

Affiliations expand

Abstract

Bartonella spp. are fastidious, gram-negative, aerobic, facultative intracellular bacteria that infect humans, and domestic and wild animals. In Norway, Bartonella spp. have been detected in cervids, mainly within the distribution area of the arthropod vector deer ked (Lipoptena cervi). We used PCR to survey the prevalence of Bartonella spp. in blood samples from 141 cervids living outside the deer ked distribution area (moose [Alces alces, n = 65], red deer [Cervus elaphus, n = 41] and reindeer [Rangifer tarandus, n = 35]), in 44 pool samples of sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus, 27 pools collected from 74 red deer and 17 from 45 moose) and in biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae, 120 pools of 6,710 specimens). Bartonella DNA was amplified in moose (75.4%, 49/65) and in red deer (4.9%, 2/41) blood samples. All reindeer were negative. There were significant differences in Bartonella prevalence among the cervid species.

Additionally, Bartonella was amplified in two of 17 tick pools collected from moose and in 3 of 120 biting midge pool samples. The Bartonella sequences amplified in moose, red deer and ticks were highly similar to B. bovis, previously identified in cervids. The sequence obtained from biting midges was only 81.7% similar to the closest Bartonella spp.

We demonstrate that Bartonella is present in moose across Norway and present the first data on northern Norway specimens. The high prevalence of Bartonella infection suggests that moose could be the reservoir for this bacterium.

This is the first report of bacteria from the Bartonella genus in ticks from Fennoscandia and in Culicoides biting midges worldwide.

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**Comment**

Many Lyme patients also have Bartonella.  It is an under-appreciated pathogen:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/24/human-bartonellosis-an-underappreciated-public-health-problem/

It can cause schizophrenia-like symptoms:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/03/21/bartonella-sudden-onset-adolescent-schizophrenia-a-case-study/

Again, our ‘authorities’ have pigeon-holed Lyme into a singular illness when for many there are numerous pathogens at play, not to mention other important issues like MCAS and mold that need to be dealt with. Also, most doctors are taught that Bartonella is not a big deal and the immune system will just deal with it.  I’ve lost count of how many articles have crossed my desk showing just the opposite to be true.  Bartonella can kill.

New Case Report: Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Bartonella-Associated Skin Lesions

https://www.galaxydx.com/bartonella-skin-lesions-and-neuro-symptoms-new-cases/

New Case Report: Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Bartonella-Associated Skin Lesions

Bartonella Endocarditis in Elderly Patient

https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008376

Published: July 30, 2020

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.000837

Summary

We report an 85-year-old white man admitted to the emergency department of the University of Campinas with fever of undetermined origin (FUO) who received antibiotics previously. Initially, the hypothesis was pneumonia. He presented a drug reaction misdiagnosed as staphylococcal desquamation. The follow-up confirmed that prolonged fever was caused by bacterial endocarditis by transthoracic echocardiogram that showed vegetation in the aortic valve. Bartonella henselae etiology was confirmed by PCR.

This case reinforces the difficulty of diagnosing Bartonella sp. infection; this etiology must be considered even in patients with negative serology. The criteria for the diagnosis of bacterial endocarditis should contemplate a molecular positivity investigation for Bartonella spp, such as PCR in blood or serum samples as a major Duke criterion, even if with titers lower than 1 to 800.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2020/01/05/bartonella-endocarditis-masquerading-as-systemic-vasculitis-with-rapidly-progressive-glomerulonephritis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/09/05/rare-presentation-of-endocarditis-mycotic-brain-aneurysm/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/08/12/tick-borne-pathogens-bartonella-spp-borrelia-burgdorferi-sensu-lato-coxiella-burnetii-rickettsia-spp-may-trigger-endocarditis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/08/16/endocarditis-caused-by-bartonella-quintana-a-rare-case-in-the-u-s/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/04/endocarditis-consider-bartonella/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/28/bartonella-infective-endocarditis-with-dissemination-a-case-report-literature-review/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/07/10/infective-endocarditis-associated-with-bartonella-henselae-a-case-series/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/25/case-of-endocarditis-caused-by-bartonella-after-mitral-valve-repair/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/24/human-bartonellosis-an-underappreciated-public-health-problem/

It doesn’t appear to me that endocarditis caused by Bartonella is rare.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/01/03/bartonella-treatment/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/05/05/good-news-for-bartonella-patients-identification-of-fda-approved-drugs-with-higher-activity-than-current-front-line-drugs/