Archive for the ‘Rickettsia’ Category

Study Finds Q Fever & Rickettsia (Typhus) in Australian Ticks and People

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/30270855/

Ixodes holocyclus Tick-Transmitted Human Pathogens in North-Eastern New South Wales, Australia.

Graves SR, et al. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2016.

Abstract

A group of 14 persons who live in an area of Australia endemic for the Australian paralysis tick, Ixodes holocyclus, and who were involved in regularly collecting and handling these ticks, was examined for antibodies to tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens.

Five (36%) had antibodies to Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever and three (21%) had antibodies to spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae (Rickettsia spp). None had antibodies to Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Orientia, or Borrelia (Lymedisease) suggesting that they had not been exposed to these bacteria.

A total of 149 I. holocyclus ticks were examined for the citrate synthase (gltA) gene of the SFG rickettsiae and the com1 gene of C. burnetii; 23 (15.4%) ticks were positive for Rickettsia spp. and 8 (5.6%) positive for Coxiella spp. Sequencing of fragments of the gltA gene and the 17 kDa antigen gene from a selection of the ticks showed 99% and 100% homology, respectively, to Rickettsia australis, the bacterium causing Queenslandtick typhus.

Thus, it appears that persons bitten by I. holocyclus in NE NSW, Australia have an approximate one in six risk of being infected with R. australis. Risks of Q fever were also high in this region but this may have been due to exposure by aerosol from the environment rather than by tick bite. A subset of 74 I. holocyclus ticks were further examined for DNA from Borrelia spp., Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. but none was positive. Some of these recognised human bacterial pathogens associated with ticks may not be present in this Australian tick species from northeastern New South Wales.

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**Comments**

Folks in Australia have been fighting the denial of authorities for decades regarding Lyme Disease:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/21/our-battle-ongoing-lyme-disease-in-australia/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/11/03/ld-not-in-australia-here-we-go-again/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/03/aussie-widow-of-lyme-disease-victim-to-sue-nsw-health/  A SYDNEY woman launches a class action against NSW Health after autopsy results showed her husband was riddled with Lyme in his liver, heart, kidney, and lungs.  He was only 44 years old and was bitten by a tick while filming a TV show in Sydney.

Now how in the world did that happen?

While they still deny Lyme (borrelia) this recent study definitively shows a number of pathogens in Australian ticks and humans including Rickettsia (more commonly known as Tick & arthropod TyphusQueensland typhus or Rickettsia australis), as well as Q Fever.

Tick Typhus is similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but deemed not as severe.  Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Malaise
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Red lump at tick bite site
  • Ulceration at tick bite site
  • Black scab at tick bite site
  • Enlarged local lymph nodes
  • Forearm red rash
  • Red body rash
  • Palm rash
  • Rash on soles of feet

Doxycycline is the front-line drug for typhus and broad-spectrum antibiotics aren’t helpful.

Fact sheet on typhus:  https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Factsheets/typhus.PDF  The perps are typically lice, fleas, mites, and ticks.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/19/monster-ticks-found-in-germany-threaten-europe-with-deadly-disease-crimean-congo-fever/  In this article, they found a tropical form of tick typhus in tropical ticks found in Germany. Typhus is making a comeback, particularly in the southern U.S. Migrating birds are transporting ticks as well as the diseases they carry worldwide 

Fact sheet on Q Fever: http://www.stopticks.org/ticks/qfever.asp

Caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, it can cause pneumonia and hepatitis (liver inflammation) in its early stage, and infection of the heart valves (endocarditis) in its chronic stage.  Perps are the Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguine us), Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americium).

https://coloradoticks.org/tick-borne-diseases/q-fever/  This article states it’s usually a mild disease with flu-like symptoms but sometimes it can resurface years later.  This more deadly, chronic form, of Q fever can damage heart, liver, brain and lungs. C. burnetii is highly infectious. Humans that are susceptible to this disease can be infected by a single organism. It is considered a significant threat for bio warfare and is classified as a Category B agent of bioterrorism.

The severity and combination of signs and symptoms vary greatly. About half the people infected with Q fever will get sick. Symptoms include:

  • High fever (up to 105°F)
  • Fatigue
  • Severe headache
  • General malaise
  • Myalgia
  • Chills or sweats
  • Non-productive cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain

Doxycycline is also the front-line drug for this with quinolone antibiotics as an alternative.

Add the Ixodes holocyclus tick to this list as well.

And before you think it can only ever be in Australia, this article in the 2013 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal shows the likelihood of a population of Ixodes holocyclus breeding outside their common range.  https://conference.ava.com.au/13097.

Well there goes the neighborhood.

Here’s a nifty chart:  https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/co-infections/other-co-infections/ (Please remember this is constantly changing)

Screen-Shot-2014-08-26-at-5.27.54-PM

If there’s one think I know for sure, it’s that nothing about ticks and the diseases they carry is sure.

They are finding tropical ticks in Germany (where they shouldn’t be) https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/19/monster-ticks-found-in-germany-threaten-europe-with-deadly-disease-crimean-congo-fever/ and they are finding Asian ticks in the U.S. (where they shouldn’t be) https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/03/1st-person-bitten-by-east-asian-longhorned-tick/.

When is the CDC going to get the memo and scrap the tick maps?

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Awarded Grant to Develop Bartonella Testing in Endocarditis Patients

https://www.galaxydx.com/uncategorized/galaxy-diagnostics-awarded-phase-i-sbir-grant/#/

September 20th, 2018

Grant will support development of advanced molecular diagnostics for confirmation of Bartonella spp. infection in endocarditis patients

RTP, N.C.- Galaxy Diagnostics, an infectious disease diagnostics company specializing in flea and tick-borne disease testing, is pleased to announce the award of Phase I grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) under the Small Business Innovation Research Program. This grant funding will support development of advanced molecular diagnostics for confirmation of Bartonella spp. infection in patients with endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart valves and chambers). This marks the second federal grant ever awarded for non-HIV research on Bartonella spp, including B henselae, the key agent causing cat scratch disease.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the NIH/NHLBI to support the development of better molecular diagnostics for Bartonella research and clinical use,” said Amanda Elam, President/CEO of Galaxy Diagnostics. “These bacteria were only recently discovered and have been recognized as one of the most important genuses of bacteria in emerging infectious disease today. Better diagnostic tests will allow clinicians and researchers to clarify the clinical importance of these pathogens for diseases affecting the joints, heart, eyes, and nervous system in people with healthy immune systems.” The current diagnostic challenge with this emerging pathogen is that recommended testing is not sensitive enough, often leading to false negatives. Jen Miller, Director of Research and Development at Galaxy Diagnostics, stated that, “Development of this rapid, highly sensitive and specific bartonellosis clinical diagnostic tool will result in an actionable, cost-effective assay for physicians.”  

Launched in 2009 to commercialize advanced test methods to support diagnosis of Bartonellosis in animals and people, Galaxy Diagnostics is a spin out from North Carolina State University. The company is currently focused on developing more sensitive diagnostics for a range of flea and tick borne diseases, including Bartonellosis, Lyme Borreliosis (LB), Babesiosis, Rickettsiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Better diagnostic tests for flea- and tick-borne diseases will support more accurate diagnosis and better stewardship of antibiotics in the treatment of animals and people.

About Galaxy Diagnostics Inc.

As a social venture and a One Health company, Galaxy Diagnostics is passionate about protecting the animal-human bond through the surveillance, prevention and clinical management of flea- and tick-borne diseases shared by humans and animals. Not only do we offer the best molecular and serology test options available, but we work with researchers and clinicians to generate new knowledge about emerging infectious diseases such as bartonellosis, borreliosis and other vector-borne diseases. Based on our scientific expertise, we are able to provide counsel to clinicians and researchers dedicated to achieving the most accurate diagnosis possible for their patients. This central goal is reflected in our corporate values and everyday interaction with patients, clinicians and researchers.

Media Contact: James Rebenski

contact@galaxydx.com

 

Monster Ticks Found in Germany Threaten Europe With Deadly Disease – Crimean-Congo Fever

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1004232/disease-Crimean-Congo-fever-germany-monster-tick

MONSTER ticks found in Germany threaten Europe with DEADLY disease Crimean-Congo fever

A MONSTER tick species has found its way to Germany and threatens to spread DEADLY tropical disease Crimean-Congo fever across the whole of Europe.
tick
MONSTER ticks found in Germany threaten Europe with DEADLY disease Crimean-Congo fever (Image: Universitat Hohenheim)

 

Scientists in Germany have discovered a tropical tick which can grow up to an INCH LONG – 10 times bigger than a common tick.

The ticks, known as Hyalomma marginatum have the potential to spread the viral disease Crimean-Congo fever (CCHF).

Symptoms of CCHF include fever, muscle pains, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, and bleeding into the skin. A QUARTER of those contracting Crimean-Congo fever will die.

Researchers have blamed the unusually hot weather over Europe for the cause of the ticks movement northwards as more birds have migrated to Europe following the scorching temperature. (Please see comment at end of article)

Seven of the species were discovered this year – previously there have only been two examples of tropical ticks in Germany, one in 2015 and another in 2017.

Scientists are now concerned that as the warm temperatures continue to become more common in Germany, France and the UK the ticks could settle there and migrate across Europe permanently.

Parasitologist Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart said: “We assume that we have to reckon with more and more tropical species of ticks in Germany that can settle here due to good weather conditions.”

crimean congo fever

Symptoms of CCHF include fever, muscle pains, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, and bleeding (Image: GETTY)

Dr Lidia Chitimia-Dobler, tick expert at the University of Hohenheim and the Institute for Microbiology (IMB) of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich, said: “Five of the seven ticks we can determine beyond doubt, four are the species Hyalomma marginatum and one of the kind Hyalomma rufipes.

“We did not expect ticks here in Germany at this time.”

Dr Gerhard Dobler, physician and microbiologist at the IMB, added: “In one of the specimens found, we were able to prove the pathogen of a tropical form of tick typhus.

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**Comment**

Please know that independent tick researcher John Scott has shown climate change has nothing to do with tick expansion or the spread of Lyme/MSIDS:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/13/study-shows-lyme-not-propelled-by-climate-change/

Scott shows that migratory birds are serving as transits carrying infected ticks all over the world, even in places where there aren’t any white-footed mice.  He also shows numerous fallacies with the climate models – particularly the fact they don’t include important data.  In the end ticks are marvelous ecoadaptors and research has they can survive the harshest of conditions.  What does affect them is lack of light (photo period).  

https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/crimean-congo/index.html  Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) can be transmitted to humans through infected ticks, animal blood, and infected human blood and/or bodily fluids (so human to human).   CCHF has also been spread in hospitals due to improper sterilization.  Fatality rate in hospitalized patients has ranged from 9-50%.  Being a virus, care is supportive; however, it is sensitive in vitro to ribavirin, an anti-viral drug.  Recovery is slow.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • headache
  • high fever
  • back pain
  • joint pain
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • red eyes
  • flushed face
  • red throat & petechiae (red spots on palate are common)
  • jaundice
  • mood changes
  • sensory perception
  • severe bruising
  • sever nosebleeds
  • uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites

Please note the last quote of the story – that they proved a tropical form of tick typhus in one of tropical ticks found in Germany.   Typhus, a bacteria, is making a comeback, particularly in the South.  Common in the U.S. in the 40’s, and normally attributed to lice, now it’s been proven to be in a tick.  In other words, another disease and a tick found where they supposedly shouldn’t be.

Typus is a rickettsial infection with ticks carring numerous species including rickettsia, ehrlichia, and anaplasma.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is also considered a tick-borne typhus fever.  https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rocky_mountain_spotted_fever/fact_sheet.htm

Divided into the typhus group and the spotted fever group, disease is transmitted through ectoparasites (fleas, lice, mites, and ticks).  Inhalation and inoculating conjunctiva with infectious material can also cause disease.  The good news for most is that doxycycline is a front-line drug for it.  Broad-spectrum antibiotics aren’t helpful.

 

Tularemia: Hunting Dogs as Possible Vectors

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/tularemia-hunting-dogs-possible-vectors-infectious-disease-59510/

Tularemia: Hunting dogs as possible vectors for the infectious disease 

Press Release

January 20, 2018

Tularemia is an infectious bacterial disease that is life-threatening for rodents, rabbits and hares, but which can also infect humans and dogs. While contact with contaminated blood or meat makes hunters a high-risk group, the frequency of infections among hunting dogs has not been much studied. Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna have now confirmed a relevant prevalence of infections in Austrian hunting dogs following a serological study in which seven percent of the animals tested positive. This could lead to more intense debate as to whether the often asymptomatic animals represent an additional risk of infection for people.

The frequence of Dogs infected with Tularemia pathogens is higher than previously thought. (Photo: Elli Winter/moorhunde.de)
The frequence of Dogs infected with Tularemia pathogens is higher than previously thought. (Photo: Elli Winter/moorhunde.de)

Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is an infectious disease that is usually lethal for wild animals such as rabbits, hares and rodents. As a zoonotic disease, however, it also represents a serious health risk for people. Tularemia is caused by various subtypes of the pathogenic bacteria Francisella tularensis, which can be transmitted by biting and stinging insects or directly through contaminated hay, infected blood and other fluids. The raw meat of diseased animals is also associated with a high risk of transmission of the pathogens, which can infect dogs as well as other animals.

Austrian hunting dogs infected more frequently than previously thought

Without secondary disease, however, dogs usually exhibit no or only few symptoms and tend to have a high natural resistance to low levels of the bacteria. As a result, little attention has been paid to dogs in scientific study. Nevertheless, there are theories that canines may act as interim hosts and a further source of infections. Like hunters, dogs can come into direct contact with infected animals (e.g. when retrieving the game). The prevalence of infections among these animals is therefore an important question to be answered.

Scientists from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at Vetmeduni Vienna for the first time investigated blood samples from 80 Austrian hunting dogs from rural areas known to be endemic for tularemia.

“After two independent analyses, five dogs clearly tested positive,” says first author Annika Posautz.

The study thus showed that dogs in those areas of Austria in which rabbit fever is endemic, i.e. in which it regularly occurs, show a more frequent rate of infection.

Risk of transmission from infected dogs possible, but not confirmed

“The frequency of about seven percent shows that hunting dogs can also become infected regularly. As vectors of the disease, even without symptoms, the animals must also be considered unexpected carriers,” Posautz adds.

Clear scientific evidence is still missing, however, the researchers say. Other factors, such as age – young dogs could come into more frequent contact with game for training purposes – or the question whether dogs represent a potential source of infection for people, must be addressed in future studies.

The blood samples were tested using two different agglutination tests to detect antigens on the surface of the bacteria or antibodies produced by the immune system. “Agglutination works by specifically clumping these proteins to make them visible under the microscope. In the case of suspected tularemia, more than one of these tests is necessary due to the possibility of cross-reactivity with other pathogens. If all tests are positive, the disease can be confirmed without a doubt. This was the case with five animals,” the researcher says.

Related: 

Canna-Pet

__________________

**Comment**

I purposely left the “related” section at the bottom as a clear reminder that Tularemia has been bioweaponized.  This isn’t theoretical, it’s fact.

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/25/of-rabbits-and-men/

Tularemia, brucella, certain Rickettsia’s, numerous viruses, some chlamydia’s, and of course mycoplasma have all been weaponized.

Regarding the weaponization of tick pathogens: https://www.lymedisease.org/lymepolicywonk-questioning-governments-role-lyme-disease-make-conspiracy-theorist/

Some state Lyme (borrelia) has also been bioweaponized:

For a lengthy but informative read on the Lyme-Biowarfare connections: CitizensAlert_Bob13 (Scroll to page 44 to see an executive summary. Please notice the names of Steere, Barbour, Shapiro, Klempner, and Wormser, the first four are affiliated with the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). Wormser, lead author of the fraudulent Lyme treatment guidelines, lectures as an expert on biowarefare agents and treatments).

Everyone keeps yammering about climate change despite the fact ticks are extremely ecoadaptive but nobody is talking about ticks tweaked in a lab with bioweaponized pathogens.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/27/tularemia-infected-ticks-found-on-sorrento-valley-trail-in-ca/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/07/hantavirus-tularemia-warnings-issued-in-san-diego-county/

Oklahoma-Ehrlichiosis Central

https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/oklahoma-is-ehrlichiosis-central-and-common-lone-star-ticks-which/article_408eed87-5b3e-5b3e-a829-9d7802ad578b.html

Oklahoma is ‘Ehrlichiosis Central,’ and common lone star ticks, which carry it, are ‘most active’ now

Flu-like illness spread via tick

By Kelly Bostian Tulsa World

July 4, 2018

Oklahoma ticks

The female lone star tick (left) is easily identified by the pronounced white dot or star in the center of her back. The species’ male is on the right. Courtesy/Rick Grantham, OSU

Correction: An infobox with this story contained incorrect numbers for tick-borne illnesses in Tulsa County. It has been corrected.

__________________________________________________________________________

Texas may be the Lone Star State, but late June through August is prime time for the real lone star to shine in Oklahoma — the lone star tick, that is.

Chances are this summer you have heard of someone in your circle of Oklahoma friends — or someone who knows someone — who has come down with ehrlichiosis (sounds like “air-leaky hoses).”

Along with the spotted fevers (rickettsioses), it is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in Oklahoma. It is primarily shared to Oklahomans through the lone star tick (the one with the white spot on its back), and the heat of summer is the time the lone star tick is most active, according to Oklahoma State University entomologist Justin Talley.

“We’ve had two people in our building and some in other departments come down with it recently, as well,” he said. “A lot of ticks are out right now, and it seems to be getting passed around for some reason, but that’s also pretty typical. We’ve always had it here in Oklahoma.”

The flu-like bacterial infection is passed from “reservoir species” such as white-tailed deer and coyotes through the lone star tick to humans.

While northeastern states are the prime areas for Lyme disease, Oklahoma is Ehrlichiosis Central.

“When you look at the Centers for Disease Control data, there are three states that are the hotbed for it: Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas,” Talley said.

It can prove fatal if left untreated, especially for very young or elderly patients. Fatal cases are not limited to but most often hit children younger than 10 and people over 70, Talley said.

“The summer is definitely a problematic time of year. Highest risk is April to October, but we really encourage people to be aware of tick-borne diseases like ehrlichiosis year around and statewide,” said Rachel Clinton, epidemiologist with the state Department of Health Acute Disease Service. “Each year we continue to see a lot of cases statewide.”

Diagnosis of ehrlichiosis can be tricky because people may think they have the flu and may not realize or recall that they were bitten by a tick up to two weeks earlier — especially people who spend a lot of time outdoors for their work or recreation, she said.

“It’s especially important for parents to check children for ticks every day, and if you’re working outdoors in a high-concentration area, you should inspect twice a day,” Clinton said. “Small children need to be looked at closely because they just don’t know they’ve been bitten. The hairline is an especially important place to look.”

Talley said the most important things are awareness, taking steps to prevent bites, and proper removal and documentation after being bitten.

“That’s the biggest thing. The lone star is the most active tick right now, especially east of I-35, Tulsa and southeast. You can go out anywhere and get one on you, even in your backyard,” he said.

Talley advised gentle, slow pulling of the tick straight away from the skin for removal, preferably just with tweezers or fingernails so as not to cause the tick to regurgitate back into the wound.

Tick-removal devices can be good, too;

“just don’t use anything that requires a twisting motion,” he said. “You want to lift it straight up, slowly, so a tool that is like a bottle-opener is OK.”  “Whatever you do, do not put a hot match or anything on the tick,” he said. “Just pull it off.”

The best thing then is to mark a calendar or put a date on a zip-seal bag, drop the tick in the bag and put it in the freezer. That can help with identifying the tick if something arises and, in rare cases, it could help solve a medical mystery.

“You can get the little brown seed tick, too, and it can be just a smaller lone star tick,” he said. “We can tell what it is under a microscope.”

Lone star ticks are not the only ticks in Oklahoma, but they are the ones most commonly associated with ehrlichiosis — as well as tularemia, southern tick-associated rash illness, the rare Heartland virus and the alpha-gal or meat allergy.

Dog ticks are the second most active now. They are most closely associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever but also may be a vector for tularemia.

 

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More on Ehrlichosis:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/09/dogs-ehrlichiosis/

https://www.lymedisease.org/ehrlichiosis-tick-borne-disease-no-one-heard/

More on Tularemia:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/25/of-rabbits-and-men/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/27/tularemia-infected-ticks-found-on-sorrento-valley-trail-in-ca/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/07/hantavirus-tularemia-warnings-issued-in-san-diego-county/

More on RMSF:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/07/10/first-rmsf-death-in-wisconsin/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/12/georgia-mom-warns-others-after-son-contracts-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever-after-tick-bite/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/21/mom-got-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever-while-picking-pumpkins/

More on Heartland Virus:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/08/02/heartland-virus-in-arkansas/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/11/01/heartland-virus-ravages-mans-body/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/07/01/surveillance-for-heartland-bourbon-viruses-in-eastern-kansas/

We Have No Idea How Bad the US Tick Problem Is

https://www.wired.com/story/we-have-no-idea-how-bad-the-us-tick-problem-is/
AUTHOR: MEGAN MOLTENIMEGAN MOLTENI
SCIENCE
7.04.18

WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW BAD THE US TICK PROBLEM IS

WHEN RICK OSTFELD gets bitten by a tick, he knows right away. After decades studying tick-borne diseases as an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, Ostfeld has been bitten more than 100 times, and his body now reacts to tick saliva with an intense burning sensation. He’s an exception. Most people don’t even notice that they’ve been bitten until after the pest has had time to suck up a blood meal and transfer any infections it has circulating in its spit.

Around the world, diseases spread by ticks are on the rise. Reported cases of Lyme, the most common US tick-borne illness, have quadrupled since the 1990s. Other life-threatening infections like anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are increasing in incidence even more quickly than Lyme. Meat allergies caused by tick bites have skyrocketed from a few dozen a decade ago to more than 5,000 in the US alone, according to experts. And new tick-borne pathogens are emerging at a troubling clip; since 2004, seven new viruses and bugs transmitted through tick bite have shown up in humans in the US.

Scientists don’t know exactly which combination of factors—shifting climate patterns, human sprawl, deforestation—is leading to more ticks in more places. But there’s no denying the recent population explosion, especially of the species that carries Lyme disease: the black-legged tick.

“Whole new communities are being engulfed by this tick every year,” says Ostfeld. “And that means more people getting sick.

Tick science, surveillance, and management efforts have so far not kept pace. But the country’s increasingly dire tick-borne disease burden has begun to galvanize a groundswell of research interest and funding.

In 1942, Congress established the CDC specifically to prevent malaria, a public health crisis spreading through mosquitoes. Which is why many US states and counties today still have active surveillance programs for skeeters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses data from these government entities to regularly update distribution maps, track emerging threats (like Zika), and coordinate control efforts. No such system exists for ticks.

Public health departments are required to report back to the CDC on Lyme and six other tick-borne infections. Those cases combined with county-level surveys and some published academic studies make up the bulk of what the agency knows about national tick distribution. But this data, patchy and stuck in time, doesn’t do a lot to help public health officials on the ground.

“We’ve got national maps, but we don’t have detailed local information about where the worst areas for ticks are located,” says Ben Beard, chief of the CDC’s bacterial diseases branch in the division of vector-borne diseases. “The reason for that is there has never been public funding to support systematic tick surveillance efforts.

That’s something Beard is trying to change. He says the CDC is currently in the process of organizing a nationwide surveillance program, which could launch within the year. It will pull data collected by state health departments and the CDC’s five regional centers about tick prevalence and the pathogens they’re carrying to build a better picture of where outbreaks and hot spots are developing, especially on the expanding edge of tick populations.

The CDC is also a few years into a massive nationwide study it’s conducting with the Mayo Clinic, which will eventually enroll 30,000 people who’ve been bitten by ticks. Each one will be tested for known tick diseases, and next-generation sequencing conducted at CDC will screen for any other pathogens that might be present. Together with patient data, it should provide a more detailed picture of exactly what’s out there.

Together, these efforts are helping to change the way people and government agencies think about ticks as a public health threat.

“Responsibility for tick control has always fallen to individuals and homeowners,” says Beard. “It’s not been seen as an official civic duty, but we think it’s time whole communities got engaged. And getting better tick surveillance data will help us define risk for these communities in areas where people aren’t used to looking for tick-borne diseases.”

The trouble is that scientists also know very little about which interventions actually reduce those risks.

“There’s no shortage of products to control ticks,” says Ostfeld. “But it’s never been demonstrated that they do a good enough job, deployed in the right places, to prevent any cases of tick-borne disease.”

In a double-blind trial published in 2016, CDC researchers treated some yards with insecticides and others with a placebo. The treated yards knocked back tick numbers by 63 percent, but families living in the treated homes were still just as likely to be diagnosed with Lyme.

Ostfeld and his wife and research partner Felicia Keesing are in the middle of a four-year study to evaluate the efficacy of two tick-control methods in their home territory of Dutchess County, an area with one of the country’s highest rates of Lyme disease. It’s a private-public partnership between their academic institutions, the CDC, and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, which provided a $5 million grant.

Ostfeld and Keesing are blanketing entire neighborhoods in either a natural fungus-based spray or tick boxes, or both. The tick boxes attract small mammal hosts, which get a splash of tick-killing chemicals when they venture inside. They check with all the human participants every two weeks for 10 months of the year to see if anyone’s gotten sick. By the end of 2020 the study should be able to tell them how well these methods, used together or separately on a neighborhood-wide scale, can reduce the risk of Lyme.

“If we get a definitive answer that these work the next task would be to figure out how to make such a program more broadly available. Who’s going to pay for it, who’s going to coordinate it?” says Ostfeld. “If it doesn’t work then perhaps the conclusion is maybe environmental control just can’t be done.”

In that case, people would be stuck with pretty much the same options they have today: protective clothing, repellants, and daily partner tick-checks. It’s better than nothing. But with more and more people getting sick, the US will need better solutions soon.

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**Comment**

Great article pointing out the scary fact that only 6 pathogens transmitted by ticks are being reported on.  There are currently 18 pathogens and counting…..so the numbers are woefully inadequate.

Here’s the list so far:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/07/01/one-tick-bite-could-put-you-at-risk-for-at-least-6-different-diseases/

Babesiosis
Bartonellosis
Borrelia miyamotoi
Bourbon Virus
Colorado Tick Fever
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic Fever
Ehrlichiosis/Anaplasmosis
Heartland Virus
Meat Allergy/Alpha Gal
Pacific Coast Tick Fever: Richettsia philipii
Powassan Encephalitis
Q Fever
Rickettsia parkeri Richettsiosis
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
STARI: Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness
Tickborne meningoencephalitis
Tick Paralysis
Tularemia

And the number keeps growing…..but nobody’s keeping score.

Infected Ticks Collected From Birds in Northern Italy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29925679/

Molecular screening for bacterial pathogens in ticks (Ixodes ricinus) collected on migratory birds captured in northern Italy.

Pajoro M, et al. Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2018.

Abstract
Migratory birds have an important role in transporting ticks and associated tick-borne pathogens over long distances. In this study, 2,793 migratory birds were captured by nets in a ringing station, located in northern Italy, and checked for the presence of ticks. Two-hundred and fifty-one ticks were identified as nymphs and larvae of Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus, 1758) and they were PCR-screened for the presence of bacteria belonging to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Rickettsia spp., Francisella tularensis and Coxiella burnetii. Four species of Borrelia (B. garinii, B. afzelii, B. valaisiana and B. lusitaniae) and three species of Rickettsia (R. monacensis, R. helvetica and Candidatus Rickettsia mendelii) were detected in 74 (30%) and 25 (10%) respectively out of 251 ticks examined. Co-infection with Borrelia spp. and Rickettsia spp. in the same tick sample was encountered in 7 (7%) out of the 99 infected ticks. We report for the first time the presence of Candidatus Rickettsia mendelii in I. ricinus collected on birds in Italy. This study, besides confirming the role of birds in dispersal of I. ricinus, highlights an important route by which tick-borne pathogens might spread across different countries and from natural environments towards urbanised areas.

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**Comment**

So glad this work on birds commuting infected ticks around the globe is being done as it highlights an important way tick-borne illness is becoming a global pandemic.  I honestly can’t believe it’s taken this long to get the word out and I also can’t believe doctors and authorities seriously believe that certain ticks and therefore infections CAN’T be in certain geographical locations.  Really?

It’s simple logic that birds, rodents, lizards, deer, and other reservoirs can carry these ticks everywhere.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28261565/?i=6&from=/29925679/related   This work, done in Romania, a gateway to Europe, showed:

All eight Borrelia genospecies were detected in I. ricinus ticks: Borrelia garinii (14.8%), B. afzelii (8.8%), B. valaisiana (5.1%), B. lusitaniae (4.9%), B. miyamotoi (0.9%), B. burgdorferi s.s (0.4%), and B. bissettii (0.2%). Regarding pathogen co-infection 64.5% of infected I. ricinus were positive for more than one pathogen.  The diversity of tick-borne pathogens detected in this study and the frequency of co-infections should influence all infection risk evaluations following a tick bite.

More on migratory birds spreading infection:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/08/17/of-birds-and-ticks/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/02/the-role-of-birds-in-tickborne-illness/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/06/08/hemorrhagic-fever-virus-found-on-ticks-on-migratory-birds/