Archive for the ‘Borrelia Miyamotoi (Relapsing Fever Group)’ Category

Highlights from LDA/Columbia Lyme Disease Conference

lyme disease conference

October 31, 2018

Highlights from LDA/Columbia Lyme Disease Conference

Highlights from LDA/Columbia 19th Annual Scientific Conference Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases: Turning the Corner Through Research

Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) recently attended a conference jointly organized by Lyme Disease Association, Inc. and Columbia University. The meeting featured speakers from around the country who gave updates about diverse subjects relevant to Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Dr. Claudia Molins from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed her work on finding metabolic signatures for Lyme disease. These are byproducts of metabolism that are specific to Lyme patients, and since they are unique to different diseases, identifying these signatures might be useful as a diagnosis of Lyme disease. Even more compelling, they may yield clues about which subsets of patients are unlikely to be cured by first-line antibiotic therapy.

Another speaker, Dr. William Robinson of Stanford University, spoke about his collaboration with Dr. John Aucott of Johns Hopkins University, who is funded by GLA. Together, they work on samples from the landmark SLICE study, which deciphers immunological data from patients in various stages of Lyme disease. Dr. Robinson’s talk focused on antibody production in Lyme disease. These can be both protective against the pathogen, as well as directed against the host, that may help to explain both the failure to protect against the microbe as well as to harm the patient, painting a complex picture of the immune response against Borrelia. He also discussed how these may correlate with disease stage.

A potential new therapeutic drug candidate for Lyme disease was presented by Dr. Kim Lewis, a GLA grant recipient. His group has rediscovered hygromycin A, a previously known drug that was never screened for activity against B. burgdorferi, which it kills without any effect on other bacteria. Thus, it may potentially be developed as a treatment for Lyme disease that will not harm the commensal human microbiome.

Dr. Utpal Pal, Mark Blackman, and Dr. Chrysoula Kitsou









From the University of Maryland, Dr. Utpal Pal, who is on the GLA scientific advisory board, the conference heard of his findings about BBA57, a Borrelia gene that is critical for the initial infectivity of the bacteria into a mammalian host, via various strategies to block the host immune system. Curiously, mutations in BBA57 only transiently stop bacterial infection, and bacteria that rebound from the initial delay are able to persist in the host, attesting to the difficulty of bacterial eradication.

Dr. Shannon Delaney from Columbia University spoke about patients who suffer from symptoms that are similar to, but subtly different from Lyme disease. Her study reveals that infection by Borrelia miyamotoi, related to B. burgdorferi, may be responsible for these illnesses, which are missed by standard Lyme disease testing.

Finally, Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander from Massachusetts General Hospital discussed small-fiber peripheral neuropathy, disorders of the nervous system that may result from hyperinflammation in peripheral sites, leading in some cases to chronic pain and other symptoms. Characterization and documentation of these disorders has begun, and greater understanding of the underlying mechanism may reveal whether they are linked to persisting symptoms attributed to tick-borne infections. The conference overall spread a wealth of knowledge and inspired new research ideas.

Understanding Lyme and tick-borne infections is enormously complex. That’s why it’s so important for the scientific community to collaborate. Only through collaboration can we find the answers that will allow us to treat and, ultimately, cure those suffering from tick-borne diseases.




Study Shows Lyme/MSIDS Patients Infected With Many Pathogens and Explains Why We Are So Sick (Please see comment at end of article)

Evaluating polymicrobial immune responses in patients suffering from tick-borne diseases

Kunal Garg, Leena Meriläinen, Ole Franz, Heidi Pirttinen, Marco Quevedo-Diaz, Stephen Croucher & Leona Gilbert
Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 15932 (2018)

There is insufficient evidence to support screening of various tick-borne diseases (TBD) related microbes alongside Borrelia in patients suffering from TBD. To evaluate the involvement of multiple microbial immune responses in patients experiencing TBD we utilized enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Four hundred and thirty-two human serum samples organized into seven categories followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention two-tier Lyme disease (LD) diagnosis guidelines and Infectious Disease Society of America guidelines for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. All patient categories were tested for their immunoglobulin M (IgM) and G (IgG) responses against 20 microbes associated with TBD. 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. We have established a causal association between TBD patients and TBD associated co-infections and essential opportunistic microbes following Bradford Hill’s criteria. This study indicated an 85% probability that a randomly selected TBD patient will respond to Borrelia and other related TBD microbes rather than to Borrelia alone.

A paradigm shift is required in current healthcare policies to diagnose TBD so that patients can get tested and treated even for opportunistic infections.
Please see link for full article.  Snippets below:

Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) have become a global public health challenge and will affect over 35% of the global population by 20501. The most common tick-borne bacteria are from the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) group. However, ticks can also transmit co-infections like Babesia spp.2, Bartonella spp.3, Brucella spp.4,5,6,7,8, Ehrlichia spp.9, Rickettsia spp.10,11, and tick-borne encephalitis virus12,13,14. In Europe and North America, 4–60% of patients with Lyme disease (LD) were co-infected with Babesia, Anaplasma, or Rickettsia11,15,16. Evidence from mouse and human studies indicate that pathogenesis by various tick-borne associated microbes15,16,17 may cause immune dysfunction and alter, enhance the severity, or suppress the course of infection due to the increased microbial burden18,19,20,21,22. As a consequence of extensive exposure to tick-borne infections15,16,17, patients may develop a weakened immune system22,23, and present evidence of opportunistic infections such as Chlamydia spp.24,25,26,27, Coxsackievirus28, Cytomegalovirus29, Epstein-Barr virus27,29, Human parvovirus B1924, and Mycoplasma spp.30,31. In addition to tick-borne co-infections and non-tick-borne opportunistic infections, pleomorphic Borrelia persistent forms may induce distinct immune responses in patients by having different antigenic properties compared to typical spirochetes32,33,34,35. Nonetheless, current LD diagnostic tools do not include Borrelia persistent forms, tick-borne co-infections, and non-tick-borne opportunistic infections.

The two-tier guidelines36,37,38 for diagnosing LD by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been challenged due to the omission of co-infections and non-tick-borne opportunistic infections crucial for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment39,40. Emerging diagnostic solutions have demonstrated the usefulness of multiplex assays to test for LD and tick-borne co-infections41,42. However, these new technologies do not address seroprevalence of non-tick-borne opportunistic infections in patients suffering from TBD and they are limited to certain co-infections41,42. Non-tick-borne opportunistic microbes can manifest an array of symptoms24,29 concerning the heart, kidney, musculoskeletal, and the central nervous system as seen in patients with Lyme related carditis43, nephritis44, arthritis45, and neuropathy46, respectively. Therefore, Chlamydia spp., Coxsackievirus, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, Human parvovirus B19, Mycoplasma spp., and other non-tick-borne opportunistic microbes play an important role in the differential diagnosis of LD24,29. As the current knowledge regarding non-tick-borne opportunistic microbes is limited to their use in differential diagnosis of LD, it is unclear if LD patients can present both tick-borne co-infections and non-tick-borne opportunistic infections simultaneously.

For the first time, we evaluate the involvement of Borrelia spirochetes, Borrelia persistent forms, tick-borne co-infections, and non-tick-borne opportunistic microbes together in patients suffering from different stages of TBD. To highlight the need for multiplex TBD assays in clinical laboratories, we utilized the Bradford Hill’s causal inference criteria47 to elucidate the likelihood and plausibility of TBD patients responding to multiple microbes rather than one microbe. The goal of this study is to advocate screening for various TBD microbes including non-tick-borne opportunistic microbes to decrease the rate of misdiagnosed or undiagnosed48 cases thereby increasing the health-related quality of life for the patients39, and ultimately influencing new treatment protocol for TBDs.

Positive IgM and IgG responses by CDC defined acute, CDC late, CDC negative, PTLDS immunocompromised, and unspecific patients to 20 microbes associated with TBD (Fig. 1) were utilized to evaluate polymicrobial infections (Figs 2–4). Patient categories included CDC acute (n = 43), CDC late (n = 43), CDC negative (n = 46), PTLDS (n = 31), immunocompromised (n = 61), unspecific (n = 31), and healthy (n = 177).

Polymicrobial infections are present at all stages of tick-borne diseases.

Microbes include Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto persistent form, Borrelia afzelii persistent form, Borrelia garinii persistent form, Babesia microti, Bartonella henselae, Brucella abortus, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Rickettsia akari, Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), Chlamydia pneumoniae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycoplasma fermentans, and Human parvovirus B19 (HB19V).

In Fig. 2A, 51% and 65% of patients had IgM and IgG responses to more than one microbe, whereas 9% and 16% of patients had IgM and IgG responses to only one microbe, respectively. Immune responses to Borrelia persistent forms (all three species) for IgM and IgG were 5–10% higher compared to Borrelia spirochetes in all three species (Fig. 2B). Interestingly, the probability that a randomly selected patient will respond to Borrelia persistent forms rather than the Borrelia spirochetes (Fig. S2) is 80% (d = 1.2) for IgM and 68% for IgG (d = 0.7). Figure 2A and B indicated that IgM and IgG responses by patients from different stages of TBDs are not limited to only Borrelia spirochetes.

In Fig. 3 sub-inlets, more than 50% of the patients reacted to only the individual Borrelia strains suggesting that Borrelia antigens are not cross-reactive. If patients were cross-reacting among antigens, a larger percentage of the patients would be seen with the combination of all three species (Fig. S2). These results provide evidence to suggest that the inclusion of different Borrelia species and their morphologies in current LD diagnostic tools will improve its efficiency.

The study outcome indicated that polymicrobial infections existed at all stages of TBD with IgM and IgG responses to several microbes (Fig. 2). Results presented in this study propose that infections in patients suffering from TBDs do not obey the one microbe one disease Germ Theory. Based on these results and substantial literature11,15,16,17,27,49,50,51 on polymicrobial infections in TBD patients, we examined the probability of a causal relationship between TBD patients and polymicrobial infections following Hill’s nine criteria47.

An average effect size of d = 1.5 for IgM and IgG (Fig. 4A) responses is considered very large52. According to common language effect size statistics53, d = 1.5 indicates 85% probability that a randomly selected patient will respond to Borrelia and other TBD microbes rather than to only Borrelia. Reports from countries such as Australia27, Germany49, Netherlands11, Sweden50, the United Kingdom51, the USA15,16, and others indicate that 4% to 60% of patients suffer from LD and other microbes such as Babesia microti and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). However, previous findings11,15,16,27,49,50,51 are limited to co-infections (i.e., Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, or Rickettsia species) in patients experiencing a particular stage of LD (such as Erythema migrans). In contrast, a broader spectrum of persistent, co-infections, and opportunistic infections associated with diverse stages of TBD patients have been demonstrated in this study (Fig. 2). From a clinical standpoint, the likelihood for IgM and IgG immune responses by TBD patients to the Borrelia spirochetes versus the Borrelia persistent forms, and responses to just Borrelia versus Borrelia with many other TBD microbes has been quantified for the first time (Fig. S2).

Borrelia pathogenesis could predispose individuals to polymicrobial infections because it can suppress, subvert, or modulate the host’s immune system18,19,20,21,22 to create a niche for colonization by other microbes54. Evidence in animals55 and humans11,15,16,27,49,50,51 frequently indicate co-existence of Borrelia with other TBD associated infections. Interestingly, IgM and IgG immune levels by patients to multiple forms of Borrelia resulted in immune responses to 14 other TBD microbes (Fig. 4B). In contrast, patient responses to either form of Borrelia (spirochetes or persistent forms) resulted in reactions to an average of 8 other TBD microbes (Fig. 4B). Reaction to two forms of Borrelia reflected an increase in disease severity indicating biological gradient for causation as required by Hill’s criteria47.

Multiple microbial infections in TBD patients seem plausible because ticks can carry more than eight different microbes depending on tick species and geography56,57. Moreover, Qiu and colleagues reported the presence of at least 18 bacterial genera shared among three different tick species and up to 127 bacterial genera in Ixodes persulcatus58. Interestingly, research indicates Chlamydia-like organism in Ixodes ricinus ticks and human skin59 that may explain immune responses to Chlamydia spp., seen in this study (Fig. 2). Additionally, prevalence of TBD associated co-infections such as B. abortus, E. chaffeensis, and opportunistic microbes such as C. pneumoniae, C. trachomatis, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and M. pneumoniae have been recorded in the general population of Europe and the USA (Table S2). However, true incidence of these microbes is likely to be higher considering underreporting due to asymptomatic infections and differences in diagnostic practices and surveillance systems across Europe and in the USA. More importantly, clinical evidence for multiple microbes has been reported in humans11,15,16,27,49,50,51, and livestock55 to mention the least. Our findings regarding the presence of polymicrobial infections at all stages of TBD further supports the causal relationship between TBD patients and polymicrobial infections (Fig. 2). Various microbial infections in TBD patients have been linked to the reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and increased disease severity39.

An association between multiple infections and TBD patients relates well to other diseases such as periodontal, and respiratory tract diseases. Oral cavities may contain viruses and 500 different bacterial species60. Our findings demonstrate that TBD patients may suffer from multiple bacterial and viral infections (Fig. 4). In respiratory tract diseases, influenza virus can stimulate immunosuppression and predispose patients to bacterial infections causing an increase in disease severity61. Likewise, Borrelia can induce immunosuppression that may predispose patients to other microbial infections causing an increase in disease severity.

Traditionally, positive IgM immune reaction implies an acute infection, and IgG response portrays a dissemination, persistent or memory immunity due to past infections. Depending on when TBD patients seek medical advice, the level of anti-Borrelia antibodies can greatly vary as an Erythema migrans (EM) develops and may present with IgM, IgG, collective IgM/IgG, or IgA62. This study recommends both IgM and IgG in diagnosing TBD (Figs 5 and S4–S6) as unconventional antibody profiles have been portrayed in TBD patients. Presence of long-term IgM and IgG antibodies have been reported in LD patients that were tested by the CDC two-tier system. In 2001, Kalish and colleagues reported anti-Borrelia IgM or IgG persistence in patients that suffered from LD 10–20 years ago63. Similarly, Hilton and co-workers recorded persistent anti-Borrelia IgM response in 97% of late LD patients that were considered cured following an antibiotic treatment64.

Similar events of persistent IgM and IgG antibody reactions were demonstrated in patients treated for Borrelia arthritis and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans65, chronic cutaneous borreliosis66, and Lyme neuroborreliosis67. A clear phenomenon of immune dysfunction is occurring, which might account for the disparities in LD patient’s antibody profiles and persistence. Borrelia suppresses the immune system by inhibition of antigen-induced lymphocyte proliferation18, reducing Langerhans cells by downregulation of major histocompatibility complex class II molecules on these cells19, stimulating the production of interleukin-10 and anti-inflammatory immunosuppressive cytokine20, and causing disparity in regulation and secretion of cytokines21. Other studies have demonstrated low production or subversion of specific anti-Borrelia antibodies in patients with immune deficiency status22.

In the USA alone, the economic healthcare burden for patients suffering from LD and ongoing symptoms is estimated to be $1.3 billion per year69. Additionally, 83% of all TBD diagnostic tests performed by the commercial laboratories in the USA accounted for only LD70. Globally, the commercial laboratories’ ability to diagnose LD has increased by merely 4% (weighted mean for ELISA sensitivity 62.3%) in the last 20 years71. This study provides evidence regarding polymicrobial infections in patients suffering from different stages of TBDs. Literature analyses and results from this study followed Hill’s criteria indicating a causal association between TBD patients and polymicrobial infections. Also, the study outcomes indicate that patients may not adhere to traditional IgM and IgG responses.



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.

I’m thankful they included Bartonella as that one is often omitted but definitely a player.  I’m also thankful for the mention of viruses as they too are in the mix.  The mention of the persister form must be recognized as well as many out there deny its existence.

Key Quote:  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.”

But there is another important point.

According to this review, 83% of all commercial tests focus only on Lyme (borrelia), despite the fact we are infected with more than one microbe.  The review also states it takes 11 different visits to 11 different doctors, utilizing 11 different tests to be properly diagnosed.

This is huge.  Please spread the word.


Transmission of Borrelia Miyamotoi By Tranovarially-Infected Larval Ticks

Transmission of the relapsing fever spirochete, Borrelia miyamotoi, by single transovarially-infected larval Ixodes scapularis ticks.

Breuner NE, et al. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018.


The relapsing fever spirochete, Borrelia miyamotoi, is increasingly recognized as a cause of human illness (hard tick-borne relapsing fever) in the United States. We previously demonstrated that single nymphs of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, can transmit B. miyamotoi to experimental hosts. However, two recent epidemiological studies from the Northeastern United States indicate that human cases of hard tick-borne relapsing fever peak during late summer, after the spring peak for nymphal tick activity but coincident with the peak seasonal activity period of larval ticks in the Northeast. These epidemiological findings, together with evidence that B. miyamotoi can be passed from infected I. scapularis females to their offspring, suggest that bites by transovarially-infected larval ticks can be an important source of human infection. To demonstrate experimentally that transovarially-infected larval I. scapularis ticks can transmit B. miyamotoi, outbred Mus musculus CD1 mice were exposed to 1 or 2 potentially infected larvae. Individual fed larvae and mouse blood taken 10 d after larvae attached were tested for presence of B. miyamotoi DNA, and mice also were examined for seroreactivity to B. miyamotoi 8 wk after tick feeding.

We documented B. miyamotoi DNA in blood from 13 (57%) of 23 mice exposed to a single transovarially-infected larva and in 5 (83%) of 6 mice exposed to two infected larvae feeding simultaneously. All 18 positive mice also demonstrated seroreactivity to B. miyamotoi. Of the 11 remaining mice without detectable B. miyamotoi DNA in their blood 10 d after infected larvae attached, 7 (64%) had evidence of spirochete exposure by serology 8 wk later.

Because public health messaging for risk of exposure to Lyme disease spirochetes focuses on nymphal and female I. scapularis ticks, our finding that transovarially-infected larvae effectively transmit B. miyamotoi should lead to refined tick-bite prevention messages.




A mother tick CAN transmit to her own children.  (Just as human mothers can):

This is why it is unwise to focus on months of the year regarding when you can and can not become infected.  First, ticks are marvelous ecoadaptors and can survive the harshest environments:  Second, we can’t just be concerned with one stage of the tick but recognize the potential transmission of ALL stages to infect.

There’s a high probability more than ticks can transmit:

Then, there’s the added complexity of being able to transmit many things simultaneously:

They are finding ticks in places they shouldn’t be making geographical maps virtually useless:  (Please also read my comment at end of article)

Time for researchers to quit sounding so “all knowing,” and write research articles carefully, making sure to remember that what they write will and has been used against patients in every possible way imaginable.
Plus, everything they thought they knew is constantly changing.

Updates and News From Russell Labs – Wisconsin


August, 2018: Nymphal deer ticks are less abundant but still active in Wisconsin right now. About 20-25% of nymphs are infected with the Lyme spirochete. Overall, 2018 has been normal in terms of tick numbers.

Live in Wisconsin and want your tick identified?


Take a picture of ticks on your phone and go here:

Wisconsin ticks:

Go to link for pictures and information on each.  There are 4 ticks listed including the Lone Star Tick, which was until recently considered a Southern tick but is here as well.  Wisconsin had its first RMSF death, transmitted by the Lone Star Tick, recently:

There is also a tab titled “Tick-Borne Diseases.”  Go to link to read about them.  They give WI stats as well.  Please remember ALL the numbers are low as many go unreported:

  • Lyme (Bb or Bm)
  • Borrelia miyamotoi (relapsing fever)
  • Anasplasmosis
  • Ehrlichia muris eauclairensis (EML)
  • Babesiosis
  • Powassan virus/deertick virus
  • Ehrlichia chaffeensis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


A few points stick out to me:

  1. Please take pictures of these ticks & send them in so we finally have an accurate record.  They are asking us for help so let’s give it.  It will only help us in the end.  Flood them with ticks!
  2. Baronella didn’t make the list, yet nearly everyone I work with has it.  WHY?  Because while Bart has been found in ticks, it hasn’t been proven conclusively they transmit.  Bart is a nasty, nasty bug and alone can kill you.  Coupled with Lyme it can make you want to die.
  3. For viruses, they only list Powassan when many more are on record including Heartland and Bourbon (unfortunately they aren’t mandatory to report).  They know Heartland is transmitted by the Lone Star tick but I couldn’t even find the tick supposedly responsible for Bourbon, although it’s a killer:
  4. The lack of data is glaring.  Seriously.  Glaring.  Zika makes front page news here and our mosquitoes can’t even carry it.  There were only 46 cases of Zika in the U.S. in 2018 – ALL due to travelers returning from affected areas.The CDC “estimates” that there are 300,000 NEW Lyme Disease cases annually in the U.S.  Anyone see a disparity here between Zika and Lyme?  (Other tick-borne diseases aren’t even on the radar yet)









Relapsing Fever Borrelia in California: a Pilot Serological Study

Relapsing fever Borrelia in California: a pilot serological study

Middelveen MJ, Shah JS, Fesler MC, Stricker RB.

International Journal of General Medicine 2018 Sep 21;11:373-382. eCollection 2018.



Borrelia spirochetes are tick-borne Gram-negative bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals. Although many studies have focused on Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the agent of Lyme disease, recent studies have examined the role of Relapsing Fever Borrelia (RFB) in human disease. In this pilot study, we have evaluated serological reactivity against Bb and RFB in patients residing in California.


Serological testing for reactivity to Bb and RFB antigens was performed in 543 patients with suspected tick-borne illness using a Western blot technique. Further evaluation of a subset of 321 patients residing in California was obtained. Serum samples were tested for IgM and IgG antibodies reactive with Bb and RFB, and samples were classified by county of residence according to Bb reactivity alone, RFB reactivity alone, and dual reactivity against Bb and RFB. Seroreactivity was ranked in counties with the highest absolute number and the highest prevalence of positive samples.


Of the 543 total serum samples, 32% were positive for Bb, 22% were positive for RFB, and 7% were positive for both Bb and RFB. Of the 321 serum samples from patients residing in California, 33% were positive for Bb, 27% were positive for RFB, and 11% were positive for both Bb and RFB. In the California cohort, the highest rates of positive serological testing for Bb were found in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, while the highest rates of positive serological testing for RFB were found in Santa Clara, Alameda, Marin, and San Francisco counties. The highest rates of dual reactivity against Bb and RFB were found in Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Francisco counties. Among the 24 counties with patients who were tested, Bb seropositivity alone was found in four counties, RFB seropositivity alone was found in two counties, and seropositivity for both Bb and RFB was found in 14 counties.


Results of this pilot study suggest that seroreactivity against Bb and RFB is widespread in California, and dual exposure to Bb and RFB may complicate the diagnosis of tick-borne disease. Greater awareness of RFB and broader screening for this tick-borne infection is warranted.



Recently it was discovered that that new relapsing fever like genomes have links to the Lyme disease borrelia.  Guess patients haven’t been making this up after all:

California patients, similarly to Southern patients, have been told for decades they can’t have Lyme, because it doesn’t exist in their neck of the woods.

That was baloney then and it’s baloney now.
Time to start listening to patients who have far better things to do than fake illness.  (Video abstract of research article in link)  This article states that Relapsing Fever Borrelia (RFB) was thought to only be in Europe and the East Coast of the U.S.  This again demonstrates patients who are complaining of “Lyme-like” symptoms are truly infected with tick borne pathogens of one sort or another.  The one-drug, one-pathogen paradigm does not work with these patients.  Approved FDA testing BTW, doesn’t even exist for RFB.

“A negative Lyme test does not rule out the possibility of infection with Relapsing Fever Borrelia, and clinicians should be familiar with disease presentation and available diagnostic tests.”  Melissa Fesler, nurse practitioner

Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is the next wave of Lyme disease,” says Stricker. “It’s not just a simple disease anymore.”

This again, demonstrates the importance of being educated on ALL TBI’s, and understanding that ALL TBI diagnosis is clinical.  Testing is abysmal.

For more on California and tick borne illness:

For interested practitioners on HOW to become educated:


Increase of Infected Ticks Means Higher Risk of Tick Bites  (Please see comment at end of article)

LYMESCI: Increase of infected ticks means higher risk of tick bites

by Lonnie Marcum

More ticks in more places means more tick bites.
More tick bites resulting in more sick people.

That’s the result the Entomological Society of America (ESA) was trying to avoid, when in 2015, it published a “Position Statement on Tick-Borne Diseases.”

The article describes a multitude of factors that have created a near “perfect storm,” leading to more infected ticks in more places throughout the United States.

Along with other steps, the ESA recommended engaging the help of citizen-scientists. In 2016, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation (BALF) decided to do just that. The results of this groundbreaking nationwide project have recently been published—and the news is NOT GOOD!

Among many disturbing facts, the new study found blacklegged ticks —carriers of 7 of 18 US tick-borne diseases—in 83 counties where they had never previously been recorded.

More tick bites = more sick people

Ticks have undergone a population explosion over the past two decades, with Ixodes ticks, the primary source of Lyme disease, now found in nearly 50% more U.S. counties than in 1996.

“Since the late 1990s, the number of counties in the northeastern United States that are considered high-risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 320%,” says Rebecca Eisen from the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the CDC. “The tick is now established in areas where it was absent 20 years ago,” she adds.

The reasons for the explosion of tick populations involves complex human and environmental factors and varies by geographic region. Experts feel the major contributing factors are:

  • Warming winter temperatures
  • Migratory bird patterns
  • Changes in landscape, land use and fragmented forests
  • Abundance of vertebrate hosts (mice, deer, squirrels, etc)
  • Reduction in natural predators (foxes, bobcats, etc.)
  • Invasive and non-native plant species
  • Accidental transport by humans (pets, livestock)

With the increase in ticks, we’ve seen a sharp rise in tick bites and tick-borne diseases, with reports of Lyme disease now coming from all 50 states, costing upwards of $75 billion per year.

What’s being done?

While the CDC lists Lyme disease as a nationally notifiable disease, the responsibility for reporting falls to each state’s health departments. The fact is, many states do not (or can’t) enforce these reporting requirements.

In addition to Lyme disease, the CDC lists six other tick-borne diseases as reportable—anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain spotted fever), and tularemia. Again, many states don’t put resources in tracking these illnesses.

The lack of accurate disease reporting leads to a reduction in public health awareness and medical education in areas where it’s needed. This then hinders a patient’s access to timely and accurate diagnosis and early treatment—which are absolutely critical to a good prognosis.

Citizen scientists collect ticks

BALF’s recently published tick study invited citizens from all over the US to send ticks to Northern Arizona University (NAU) for free testing, with the goal of mapping ticks and the diseases they carry.

Many Lyme advocacy groups helped spread the word. For instance, there were more than 16,000 website hits on’s announcement about the project.

Researchers had expected that maybe 2,400 ticks would be sent in. To their astonishment, they received over 16,000 ticks collected from 49 states and Puerto Rico. No ticks were received from Alaska.

As lead author Nate Nieto, PhD, associate professor in NAU’s Department of Biological Sciences, explains,

“This study offers a unique and valuable perspective because it looks at risk to humans that goes beyond the physician-reported infection rates and involves ticks that were found on or near people.”

This represents the first nationwide tick study with the goal of mapping the prevalence of disease-carrying ticks throughout the United States. During the period from January 2016 through August 2017, people could send ticks to NAU, free of charge, for testing of the most common tick-borne infections:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease,
  • Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), a Lyme-like illness,
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the cause of granulocytic anaplasmosis, and
  • Babesia microti, the protozoan parasite that causes Babesiosis.
The Findings
  • Over 70% of submissions were the result of human tick bites.
  • Blacklegged ticks were found in 83 counties (in 24 states) where they had not previously been recorded.
  • All four pathogens tested for (Anaplasma, Babesia, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi) were found in all three of the most commonly encountered hard-ticks species collected (deer tick, American dog tick, lone star tick).
  • Some ticks tested positive for up to three pathogens (no ticks contained all four).
  • All life stages of these three hard-tick species, including some larvae, were found to be infected with both Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi.
  • On the East Coast, B. burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease, was predominantly detected in adult Ixodes scapularis (deer tick).
  • On the West Coast, B. burgdorferi was highest in larval Ixodes pacificus (western blacklegged tick).
  • The highest prevalence of Borrelia miyamotoi (a relapsing fever species Borrelia that causes Lyme-like illness) was found in larval ticks in the western US.
  • Babesia was found in lone star ticks in 26 counties (in 10 states) where public health departments do not require reporting.
  • Several Amblyomma americanum, commonly known as the lone star tick and capable of carrying bacteria that cause disease in humans, were found in Northern California, the first known report of this tick in the state.


Tick bite map of US

Limits of the Study

While the study was hugely successful, it did have some limits. For one, the sample of ticks was limited to only those areas where citizens were participating, therefore the maps may not show all areas with ticks.

In addition, the researchers only tested for four of the many pathogens known to cause illness in humans.

Pathogens not tested for include: Multiple species of Borrelia including Mayonii, and Bisettii, which also cause Lyme-like illness; Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the cause of human monocytic erhlichiosis; Francisella tularensis, the cause of tularemia; Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacterial agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever; multiple species of the protozoan pathogen Babesia, including duncani and divergens; and several viruses known to be transmitted by ticks including Bourbon virus, Colorado tick fever virus, Heartland virus, and Powassan virus.

Lack of funding for more studies

Lack of funding poses the biggest challenge to fully understanding the risks that ticks pose to the US population.

When asked, the CDC’s Ben Beard stated

“We’ve got national maps, but we don’t have detailed local information about where the worst areas for ticks are located.…The reason for that is there has never been public funding to support systematic tick surveillance efforts.”

It’s no secret that within weeks of the first Zika infection in 2016, Congress authorized $1.7 billion in funding, of which $397 million was made immediately available to rapidly develop an accurate test and begin work on a vaccine.

That same year, the federal budget allotted only $28 million for Lyme disease—the most common vector-borne disease in the US. (Note: while the CDC can study and report on diseases, it is not allowed to lobby Congress for funding.)

What did we learn?

The big take-away from the NAU study is that ticks are everywhere, and they are full of dangerous pathogens—not just Lyme disease. This study demonstrates that ticks are spreading in range, and they are carrying more pathogens than ever before.

Until we find better ways for the CDC to report illnesses, these type of risk maps, that are generated from the pathogens the ticks are carrying, will be the best predictor of disease.

Finally, we all need to get out there and tell our representatives the dangers that lurk in our backyards. Call them. Ask to meet with them. Bring them a copy of this report. Let them know we need an dramatic increase in funding for Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Click here for more information about ticks:

LymeSci is written by Lonnie Marcum, a Licensed Physical Therapist and mother of a daughter with Lyme. Follow her on Twitter: @LonnieRhea Email her at: .


  1. Using citizen science to describe the prevalence and distribution of tick bite and exposure to tick-borne diseases in the United States, PLOSone, July 2018,
  2. County-Scale Distribution of Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Continental United States , Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1 March 2016, Pages 349–386,
  3. Entomological Society of America Position Statement on Tick-Borne Diseases Approved on July 29, 2015, Valid through July 29, 2019
  4. Report of the Disease Vectors, Surveillance, and Prevention Subcommittee to the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group



Canadian independent tick researcher, John Scott, stands in opposition to the climate change model affecting tick movement:  A recent study shows that warm winters are lethal to I. scapularis (black-legged) ticks. In fact, overwinter survival dropped to 33% when the snow melted. This has been substantiated by other researchers as well. Scott & Scott, 2018, ticks and climate change, JVSM

Also, illogically, people on one hand admit that ticks are now “everywhere” but keep pushing the importance of geographical maps.  Why?  These maps are worthless & constantly changing.  Migratory birds are transiting ticks worldwide along with the fox, coyote, lizard, mouse, and 1,000 other carriers including humans traveling everywhere.

Why do we continue to push and believe in maps that have kept people from diagnosis and treatment for decades?

I’ll tell you why – it’s lining pockets with money.

Authorities look at the inaccurate and constantly changing maps and announce,
“You can’t have ______________, it doesn’t exist here.”

More data that actually hurts patients.

This tick border thing is a man-made constructed paradigm that has never been accurate, but it fits the CDC/NIH/IDSA narrative. (go to page 6 and read about Speilman’s maps which are faulty but have ruled like the Iron Curtain, and have been used to keep folks from being diagnosed and treated)

Dr. Masters fought this tooth and nail for his suffering patients in the South:  Even though Fier found borrelia in 2% of sampled lone star ticks and subsequently supported Masters’ Missouri Lyme, the CDC insisted that the EM rash was NOT diagnostic for LD for Missouri patients due to the fact that neither Ixodes dammini nor Ixodes pacificus were found there.  

Maps are continually used against patients and have ALWAYS been faulty: (nothing’s changed)








Tickology Video Series – Everything You Want to Know About Ticks & Prevention

Entomologist Larry Dapsis, Deer Tick Project Coordinator, of Cape Cod Cooperative Extension presents information about numerous types of ticks and the diseases they carry in the following Tickology video series.


 Approx. 9 Min

Tick Identification & Ecology

Take aways:

  1. Female American Dog Tick is easy to spot as she has a creamy white wide spot up by the head.
  2. Female Lone Star tick has a bright white spot in the center of her back.
  3. Female Deer Tick has a bright red abdomen.
  4. A lot of this info is shared again in part 3 below where I have more notes.

 Approx. 12:30 Min.

Tick Borne Diseases

Take aways:

  1. He considers the American Dog Tick more of a nuisance than a threat.  I disagree.  Just ask anyone who’s ever had RMSF or Tularemia, both of which can kill you.
  2. The Deer Tick (Black legged tick) is endemic in 80 countries and has been here for thousands of years.
  3. Lyme is found in 49 out of 50 states in the U.S. (absent only in Hawaii)
  4. In 2016 the CDC adjusted Lyme prevalence to 300,000 new cases of Lyme a year.
  5. Martha’s Vineyard has more cases than anywhere in the universe.
  6. Risk of infection is year round.
  7. Largest risk is from the nymph as they are smaller and the bite is difficult to detect.   He is finding about 25% to be infected with Lyme.  50% of adults are infected.
  8. In Massachusetts, children ages 5-9 have the highest rates of infection.  Adults aged 50-70 has a surge of infection as well.
  9. Babesiosis, similar to Malaria, can be passed via blood transfusion with 50% of Massachusetts cases found in the south eastern part of the state and virtually found in some degree in every county in the state.
  10. Anaplasmosis (HGA) can look similar to Lyme and is more broadly distributed in Mass.
  11. All these diseases are steadily increasing.  95% of cases are aged 65 and older.
  12. Borrelia miyamotoi, related to Lyme, is a relapsing fever.  3% of Cape Cod ticks have it but is expected to increase.
  13. Powassan can put you in the hospital with brain swelling.  They did surveillance and found Powassan in 4 out of 6 site sites with infection rates as high as 10% in the tick population.  In reading the literature, he feels it has been on Cape Cod for thousands of years but it hasn’t been on medical radar.

  Approx. 8 Min.

Lone Star Tick – The New Tick in Town

Part 3 of the Tickology video project.

Take aways:

  1. The Lone Star Tick, normally considered a Southern tick, is in Cape Cod, and has moved North, and yes, is in Wisconsin.
  2. The adult female has a white dot on her back
  3. These ticks can run and are aggressive, fast & will actually chase you.  
  4. While he mentions a warming climate, independent Canadian tick researcher, John Scott, states emphatically temperature has nothing to do with tick expansion:
  5. He claims Lone Star ticks have been established in Sandy Neck Beach Park and Shining Sea Bike Trail for a long time – it’s just nobody was looking for them.  I suspect this to be true for many other areas as well.
  6. He claims these areas are “perfect flyways” for migratory birds for transporting ticks.
  7. Lone Star ticks prefer intermediate size hosts.  He put out video surveillance and picked up wild turkeys in areas where these ticks were established.  Rabbits & coyotes are good hosts as well
  8. The adult female lays a cluster of 4,000-5,000 eggs,  which leaves a high concentration of larvae in late summer.  He claims when you find one, it could be a matter of minutes and you could have 200-300 bites.
  9. He claims Lone Star tick larvae do not transmit pathogens.
  10. The adults; however, can transmit Erlichiosis, STARI, Tularemia and Alpha Gal or meat allergy (all animal products).
  11. He claims you will not find deer ticks in an open lawn.  I was told otherwise by Susan Paskewitz, chair of the Department of Entomology at UW–Madison, whose crew is finding them in fields where kids are playing sports, and it’s here as well:
  12. He is finding Lone Star ticks in open spaces.  They don’t mind the heat.  Deer ticks will seek out leaf litter and/or snow when conditions are harsh.

 Approx. 13:22 Min

Permethrin Treated Clothing & Footwear

Take aways:

  1. Natural Pyrethrum is from the Aster Family, & is an extract from a type of chrysanthemum.  It has quick knockdown against insects but no residual control.  Breaks down in sunlight quickly.
  2. They manipulated it so now it has 4 weeks of residual control.
  3. You only use it on clothing and footwear.  He feels treating footwear to be crucial.  If a tick is on a treated surface with permethrin for 60 seconds it will die.  He feels strongly that using this product will reduce your exposure tick bites by upwards of 90%.  It is active thru 6 washings or 45 days which ever comes first.
  4. Pre-treated tick repellent clothing is also available.  EPA testing has shown it is active through 70 washings.  You can also send your clothing to “Insect Shield,” and they will treat your clothing and send it back with the 70 washing claim.  He says it’s about $10 per clothing item.
  5. It’s not the molecule that makes the poison, it’s the dosage.  As far as permethrin goes, there is low mammal toxicity except for cats.  It is 2,250 times more toxic to ticks than to humans.  According to the EPA, permethrin-treated clothing poses no harm to infants, children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
  6. Permethrin has low skin absorption and is metabolized quickly.
  7. National Research Council looked at long term exposure on the military wearing permethrin saturated clothing from head to foot for 18 hours a day for 10 years and found no reason for an adverse effect.
  8. The active ingredient is the same ingredient used for treating scabies and head lice and parents smear it on their kids from head to toe.
  9. He demonstrates how to apply it onto clothing and footwear.  Scroll to 10:00.  Make sure to wash these treated cloths away from other clothes.  Remember sunlight breaks it down so it lasts through 6 washings for 45 days, which ever comes first.
  10. He sprays the inside of the legs in case a tick gets underneath.  I tuck my pants into my white sprayed socks so ticks can not get inside.

 Approx. 6 Min

Skin Repellents

Take aways:

  1. The big distinction between repellents is the EPA registration.  Deet, Picaridan, IR 3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus have EPA registration with data on file for any claim being made.
  2. Go here for the EPA selection guide:  (Fill in the questionnaire)
  3. Go to for pesticide information.
  4. Go to for short factual answers on products.
  5. Naturals are not EPA registered so there is no data proving effectiveness.  Not all repel ticks.  Buyer beware.


For more on tick prevention:  “All tested tick species and life stages experienced the ‘hot-foot’ effect after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,” Eisen said.  Study found a 78-98% reduction in ticks. These data indicate that regular prescribed burning is an effective tool for reducing tick populations and ultimately may reduce risk of tick-borne disease.