Archive for the ‘Prevention’ Category

Study: Controlled Burns Reduce Ticks, Lyme Disease

Study: Controlled burns reduce ticks, Lyme disease

By Ad Crable

Jan. 13, 2023

Prescribed fire

A prescribed fire takes place at the Arboretum at Penn State. (Courtesy of the Arboretum at Penn State)

As tick-borne Lyme disease continues to spread in Pennsylvania and other Chesapeake Bay drainage states, a new study suggests more use of prescribed burns on public and private forests could help reduce both the numbers of ticks and incidence of the disease.

In a paper published in Ecological Applications, researchers from Penn State, the U.S. Forest Service and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the increased use of prescribed fire by forest managers to control invasive plants, improve wildlife habitat and restore ecosystem health can also help knock down the tick problem.  (See link for article)



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    Researchers Discover Balsam Fir Needles Kills Ticks

    New study concludes oil in balsam fir needles is effective in preventing ticks from surviving winter

    Written by CBC News. Photo credit @Amal El Nabbout

    When Nova Scotia scientist Shelley Adamo noticed ticks avoid balsam fir trees, her professional instincts kicked in.

    Adamo, a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said she noticed ticks often didn’t survive winter on her South Shore property which has thick stands of balsam fir trees.

    Adamo said she had a “realistic hunch” that she should study the effects of balsam fir trees on Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick that is a vector for Lyme disease. First discovered in Lyme, Conn., in the 1970s Lyme disease is now a common tick-borne disease that can cause fever, joint pain, rash and other longer-lasting effects.

    The results of a three-year study into how balsam fir needles could help control tick populations was published on July 29 in Scientific Reports. Adamo spoke to Emma Smith of CBC Radio’s Mainstreet NS about what she discovered.

    What did you do to determine that these balsam fir needles could could kill blacklegged ticks? 

    We tested them by collecting ticks and then we would put them in incubators and give them like a winter kind of experience.

    We put them in tubes and then we put the balsam fir in with them and they died.

    Then we tried it outdoors as well. So we worked with people at the Harrison Lewis Centre who were very good to us. They’re down in the Port Joli area between Liverpool and Shelburne, a real hotspot for Lyme.

    We collected the ticks locally so we weren’t adding ticks at least, and we put them in their own little tubes so they couldn’t get out. But it was mesh so that snow and rain could fall in.

    We put them in the tubes with balsam fir and put them out in December and collected them in March and we looked to see who lived and who died.

    Some ticks got a little layer of oak and maple leaves, which is what they like. And some of them got a layer of of balsam fir. The ones that got to live with the balsam fir needles died. Pretty much all of them.

    This could be a natural-product way to try to reduce the load of these potentially Lyme carrying ticks.

    When you collected those tubes in the spring, the ones that had the maple and oak leaves, were those tick still alive?

    They don’t all live. But surprisingly for ticks that evolved much further south, they actually can survive fairly well in in our Nova Scotian winters.

    We vary quite a bit from year to year but our survival in the maple and oak was sometimes 60 per cent, sometimes 80 per cent, whereas the survival in the balsam fir was basically zero.

    To read the full story from CBC News, click here.

    To read GLA’s blogs, click here.


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    STARI: The Southern Tick-Borne Illness That Looks, Smells, and Acts Just Like Lyme Disease

    STARI: The Southern Tick-Borne Illness That Can Mimic Lyme Disease

    by Stephanie Eckelkamp
    Updated 10/27/22

    There’s a false narrative that tick-borne diseases aren’t much of a problem in southern states, but we know this to be far from the truth. Not only is Lyme disease present, but ailments like Heartland virusehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a big problem for people and pets — so it’s important to keep yourself protected.

    One primarily southern tick-borne pathogen that’s gotten very little attention is STARI (southern tick-associated rash illness). STARI has caused confusion among doctors and patients because some of its early symptoms closely mimic those of Lyme disease. The promising news: STARI appears to be far less detrimental to long-term health than Lyme.

    Here, we cover the signs and symptoms of STARI, how it differs from Lyme, what ticks carry it, and how to protect yourself.

    What Is STARI?

    STARI is an emerging zoonotic disease transmitted by the bite of the Lone Star tick, which often results in a red, ring-like rash with a central clearing that is almost indistinguishable from the erythema migrans bullseye rash sometimes seen in Lyme disease. The exact causative pathogen is still up for debate — while it was once thought to be caused by the Borrelia lonestari spirochete bacterium, this spirochete has not been detected in all cases of the illness.

    binoculars icon

    Where Is It Most Commonly Found?

    STARI isn’t a reportable condition, meaning it’s not required to be reported to public health agencies at local, state, or national levels. Therefore, it’s hard to get a clear breakdown of where exactly STARI is most concentrated, plus it may be misdiagnosed as Lyme. But in general, you can expect to find it where you’d discover Lone Star ticks — throughout south-central, southeastern, and eastern states.

    While these ticks may be more concentrated in the south, their range spans eastward from central Texas and Oklahoma and up the Atlantic coast as far north as Maine. And scientists believe they’ll only get more common in northern states as global temperatures rise.

    icon of human and warning symbol

    What Are the Symptoms?

    A key feature of STARI is the red, ring-like rash with a central clearing surrounding the area of a tick bite. This rash usually appears within a week of the tick bite and may expand to three inches in diameter or more. The STARI rash is generally smaller, more circular, and less tender than a Lyme disease rash (which can reach 12 inches in diameter). Keep in mind that the saliva of Lone Star ticks can irritate the skin, so redness and discomfort aren’t always signs of infection. Nevertheless, any skin irritation after a tick bite is always worth monitoring.

    bullseye rash on womans leg

    Other symptoms of STARI may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Fever
    • Muscle aches
    • Joint pain

    Fortunately, no long-term symptoms related to STARI have been reported, and the tick-borne illness hasn’t been associated with arthritic, cardiac, or neurologic manifestations in patients.

    STARI vs. Lyme: What Are the Key Differences?

    While there is clearly a lot of overlap between the symptoms of STARI and the early symptoms of Lyme disease, data suggests patients with STARI are less likely to experience neck stiffness, joint stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes than patients with Lyme, as well as the more severe symptoms mentioned above. Additionally, a study from 2005 comparing STARI patients in Missouri to Lyme disease patients in New York noted several other differences:

    • STARI patients were more likely to recall a tick bite than Lyme patients.
    • The time from tick bite to rash onset was shorter in STARI patients (approximately six days).
    • STARI patients with a rash were less likely to have other symptoms.
    • STARI patients were less likely to have multiple skin lesions than Lyme patients, and (as mentioned above) they tended to have rashes that were smaller and rounder.
    • STARI patients recovered more rapidly after antibiotic treatment than Lyme patients.

    icon of medical capsule

    How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

    Because scientists haven’t actually determined the exact causative agent (e.g., whether it stems from a bacterium, virus, parasite, etc.) that leads to STARI, diagnostic tests have not been developed. Doctors typically use a patient’s symptoms, geographic location, and the possibility of a tick bite to make a diagnosis. Of course, due to the fact that there is significant overlap in the symptoms of STARI and Lyme disease, there’s a real possibility for misdiagnosis.

    It’s unknown whether antibiotics help treat STARI, but because this illness so closely resembles early Lyme, doctors often prescribe them to be safe. To date, STARI symptoms have resolved following oral doxycycline treatment, but it’s uncertain if the drugs do anything to speed recovery.

    How to Protect Yourself

    You certainly want to do what you can to protect yourself from the bite of a Lone Star tick. In addition to STARI, these ticks are known to transmit ehrlichiosis, Heartland virus disease, Bourbon virus disease, and tularemia. The bite of a Lone Star tick can also sometimes lead to alpha-gal syndrome, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to red meat.

    Lone Star ticks are known to aggressively target and bite both humans and pets. So taking steps to protect yourself and to prevent them from hitching a ride into your home on Fido is key.

    Some good strategies:

    • Wear protective clothing when out in nature and shower afterward
    • Avoid brushy areas and stay on the trail when hiking
    • Perform regular tick checks
    • Use an effective tick repellent, featuring essential oils like oil of lemon eucalyptus or insecticides such as DEET, picaridin, or permethrin.

    If you get bitten, remove the tick promptly and carefully, following the steps in this article. If you save the tick, you might want to consider sending it to a laboratory such as IGenex or Ticknology to be tested for pathogens.

    Pets should be subject to frequent tick checks, too, and you should strongly consider putting your dogs on some type of oral tick-preventative treatment. (Read this article for veterinary-approved tips on protecting your pets from tick-borne pathogens.)

    Bottom Line

    STARI is a tick-borne illness that closely resembles early Lyme disease, but fortunately, it is unlikely to cause long-term illness, and it may respond well to antibiotic treatment. However, you also have to be mindful of coinfections — the Lone Star ticks that transmit STARI may also transmit a variety of other serious bacterial and viral infections.

    As with any tick-borne illness, prevention is the best medicine. But taking steps to boost your body’s natural defenses by eating a nutritious dietexercising, getting enough sleep, and consuming phytochemical-rich herbs, including Japanese knotweedcat’s clawandrographisChinese skullcapreishicordyceps, and garlic, may also offer a layer of protection and support overall health before or after a tick bite.

    Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme. You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey

    1. Abdelmaseih R, Ashraf B, Abdelmasih R, Dunn S, Nasser H. Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness: Florida’s Lyme Disease Variant. Cureus. 2021;13(5):e15306. Published 2021 May 28. doi:10.7759/cureus.15306
    2. Lyme Disease. Mayo Clinic website.
    3. Lyme Disease Maps: Most Recent Year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
    4. Slide show: Guide to different tick species and the diseases they carry. Mayo Clinic website.
    5. Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
    6. Upstate tick expert predicts huge season for ticks. Upstate Medical University website.
    7. Wormser GP, Masters E, Liveris D, et al. Microbiologic evaluation of patients from Missouri with erythema migrans. Clin Infect Dis. 2005;40(3):423-428. doi:10.1086/427289
    It must be understood that patients in the South have had an extraordinary hurdle to overcome regarding tick-borne illness as “authorities” simply state it doesn’t exist there.  For years, and to this day, doctors illogically look at a map and announce it can not be Lyme disease.
    Please remember ticks travel on birds, reptiles, mammals, and go everywhere.

    http://  Approx. 5 Min

    Dr. Alan McDonald, Dr. Klinghardt, & Dr. Martz on Borrelia, Lyme, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS and more

    Clip from Under Our Skin

    It’s important to remember that new strains of borrelia and other coinfections are being discovered continually.  Rather than studying this crucially important topic and how it affects testing, diagnosis, and treatment, researchers receiving government grants are forever stuck on ‘climate change,’ a hotly contested topic which hasn’t helped patients in over 40 years.

    Could Prescribed Fire Reduce Ticks & Their Diseases? Answer: YES, Once Again

    Could prescribed fire reduce ticks and their diseases?

    By Chuck Gill, Penn State

    Oct. 24, 2022

    Prescribed fire — a tool increasingly used by forest managers and landowners to combat invasive species, improve wildlife habitat and restore ecosystem health — also could play a role in reducing the abundance of ticks and the transmission of disease pathogens they carry, according to a team of scientists.

    For a recently published paper, the researchers reviewed the scientific literature on the effects of fire on forest composition and structure and its influence on ticks and their wildlife hosts.

    They concluded that prescribed burning can help restore forest habitats to a state less favorable to several species of disease-carrying ticks and could be an effective management tactic for reducing their populations. READ MORE



    This should be a no-brainer.  I’m continually amazed with the lack of common sense in research.  Seems all that matters is continuing the machinery (money and power grabs) of research.

    The question to ask is, now that this information continues to be proven, will anyone do it?  How many years will it take before this effective practice will once again be permitted?

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    Deadly Disease Spread By Ticks Found in Queensland For the First Time

    Deadly disease spread by ticks found in Queensland for the first time

    A deadly disease spread by ticks has arrived in Queensland for the first time, sparking a warning for pet owners to remain vigilant this summer.
    Canine Ehrlichia is spread by brown dog ticks and can go undetected for weeks.
    The dangerous disease has been detected in North Queensland.  (See link for article)
    • Ehrlichiosis can cause serious illness, including death.
    • Symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, cloudy eyes/conjunctivitis, pain and stiffness, bleeding disorders including bruising, and swelling of the chest or front legs.
    • It can lay dormant but attacks the immune system, even infecting bone marrow making treatment difficult.
    • It’s important to vigilantly and regularly check pets for ticks including in between toes, ears, nose, mouth, and stomach.
    • It’s also important to keep diligent with tick treatments and to avoid shrubby areas, although ticks can be found in wide-open spaces.

    According to this, the disease seems to be particularly severe in German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers; however, people can be infected with it as well, although the article states the disease is ONLY transmitted through tick bites, not through contact….

    I remain skeptical of this tenet.

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