Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

Suspected Insect and Arthropod Vectors for Bartonella Species – Galaxy

Suspected Insect and Arthropod Vectors for Bartonella species

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.

And, 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.

Thousands of patients are flying under the radar.

Is it Bartonella?

Bartonella is Hard to Diagnose in Chronic Lyme Disease

In this article Dr. Marty Ross describes how to diagnose Bartonella in chronic Lyme disease. There are a lot of controversies in this area. These include:

  • whether Bartonella is transmitted by ticks,
  • poor testing, and
  • a wide range of symptoms that look like other illnesses.

See link for more:

For more on Bartonella:  Chip in and help Dr. Ericson with Bartonella research. Ericson has a vested interest in getting to the bottom of this tenacious pathogen – her son has chronic bartonellosis.


Characteristics of Transfusion-Transmitted Babesia Microti, American Red Cross 2010-2017

2019 Jun 27. doi: 10.1111/trf.15425. [Epub ahead of print]

Characteristics of transfusion-transmitted Babesia microti, American Red Cross 2010-2017.



Babesia microti, a red blood cell (RBC) parasite transmitted naturally to vertebrate hosts by ixodid ticks, is endemic to the northeastern and upper midwestern United States, with the geographic range of infected ticks expanding. B. microti is a blood safety issue with >200 transfusion-transmissions reported.


The American Red Cross’s Hemovigilance program investigated hospital-reported transfusion-transmitted babesiosis (TTB) cases. Follow-up samples from involved donors were tested for B. microti antibodies and parasite DNA, the latter by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Test-positive donors were permanently deferred from future donations.


B. microti-positive donors were implicated in 77 of 143 suspect TTB cases investigated from 2010 through 2017. In four cases, two positive donors were identified for a total of 81 positive donors. In three cases, a RBC unit was split and components transfused multiple times to the same pediatric recipient. RBCs were the transmitting product in all cases. At follow-up, all involved donors were antibody positive; 25 donors were also PCR positive. Positive donations were collected throughout the year, peaking in the summer. Most donors (78) were resident of, or traveled to (2), an endemic state. One donor resided in a non-endemic state without relevant travel history. One fatality listed babesia as a contributing factor. No implicated donation was screened by an investigational protocol.


Babesiosis remains a blood safety issue. Prior to FDA-licensed screening test availability and final FDA Guidance, blood collectors in endemic states investigationally tested none, a portion, or all collections. Future expanded testing will reduce the frequency of TTB cases.



This clearly shows there were more than 200 Babesia transfusion-transmissions reported. It also shows you don’t have to reside in an endemic area or travel to an endemic area to get it. The article also clearly points out that the geographic range of ticks is expanding, which means the pathogens they carry will as well.

More on Babesia:

Babesia, as well as Lyme is under reported. Research hardly exists on those with both. We desperately need to know what concurrent infection is doing to patients. It only makes logical sense that their cases are more severe and of greater duration, yet mainstream research and medicine doesn’t blink at this issue:

Going back to 1998, it was known that when a patient has Lyme and Babesia, Lyme is found three-times more frequently in the blood, causing greater symptoms, disease severity, and duration of illness:

What happens when a patient has Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella and maybe a few viruses thrown in for good measure?  Nobody’s studied this, yet it is common scenario in Lyme-land:

Seroepidemiological & Molecular Investigation of Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiae & Coxiella Burnetii in Sao Tome Island: A One Health Approach

Seroepidemiological and molecular investigation of spotted fever group rickettsiae and Coxiella burnetii in Sao Tome Island: A One Health approach.


Spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) and Coxiella burnetii are intracellular bacteria that cause potentially life-threatening tick-borne rickettsioses and Q fever respectively. Sao Tome and Principe (STP), small islands located in the Gulf of Guinea, recently experienced a dramatic reduction in the incidence of malaria owing to international collaborative efforts. However, unexplained febrile illnesses persist. A One Health approach was adopted to investigate exposure to SFGR and C. burnetii in humans and examine the diversity of these bacteria in ticks parasitizing domestic ruminants. A cross-sectional human serological study was conducted in Agua Grande district in Sao Tome Island from January to March 2016, and ticks were collected from farmed domestic ruminants in 2012 and 2016. In total, 240 individuals varying in age were randomly screened for exposure to SFGR and C. burnetii by indirect immunofluorescence assay. Twenty of 240 individuals (8.3%) were seropositive for SFGR (4 for Rickettsia africae and 16 for R. conorii) and 16 (6.7%) were seropositive for C. burnetii. Amblyomma astrion were collected exclusively in 2012, as were A. variegatum in 2016 and Rickettsia spp. were detected in 22/42 (52.4%) and 49/60 (81.7%) respectively. Sequence analysis of multiple gene targets from Rickettsia spp. detected in ticks suggests the presence of a single divergent R. africae strain (Sao Tome). While no ticks were found positive for C. burnetii, Coxiella-like endosymbionts were detected in nearly all ticks.

This is the first study in STP to provide serological evidence in humans of SFGR and C. burnetii and additional molecular evidence in ticks for SFGR, which may be responsible for some of the unexplained febrile illnesses that persist despite the control of malaria. Future epidemiological studies are needed to confirm the occurrence and risk factors associated with SFG rickettsioses and Q fever in both humans and animals.


For more:

Great article on SFGR:

C. burnetii:  Excerpt: 

The CDC reports that 60% of cases are in patients without livestock contact (CDC unpublished data, 2010) and the need for health-care professionals to consider Q fever in the differential diagnosis in patients with a compatible illness, even in the absence of occupational risk or history of direct contact with animal reservoirs.

Supposedly, he United States ended its biological warfare program in 1969. When it did, C. burnetii was one of seven agents it had standardized as biological weapons.

Q Fever can cause acute or chronic illness.
Excellent video by Alicia Anderson, DVM, MPH on new CDC guidelines for Q Fever  African patients presenting with fever but testing negative for malaria had DNA for these pathogens: Borrelia spp., Francisella spp. Rickettsia spp. and Bartonella. Thus, in this rural area of Africa, febrile symptoms could be due to bacteria transmitted by arthropods.




Researchers at Upstate Medical University Collect CNY Ticks For Testing in a Pilot Study News Video Here

Researchers at Upstate Medical University collect CNY ticks for testing in a pilot study


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A team of researchers with Thangamani Lab at Upstate Medical University have begun a multi-year pilot project studying the ticks in the Central New York region.

They’re trying to figure out which species of ticks are in the area, what they’re carrying, and how those infections impact a person’s health and their treatment.

“The deer ticks, they transmit 7 different pathogens,” said lead researcher, Saravanan Thangamani. “Almost 60% of ticks collected in Onondaga County are positive for Borrelia burgdorferi. That is the agent for Lyme disease.”

Some of the ticks also carry infections like Powassan virus, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella.

One of the goals of this 3-5 year study is to understand what happens if a tick bites someone when it’s carrying more than one infection.

“Does it make the Lyme disease worse, does it make the Powassan worse, or it doesn’t do neither?” asks Thangamani.

Researchers are also trying to track down the ticks’ path. To do so, they’re asking anyone who gets bit by a tick to mail it in for free testing.

Send us the zip code so we know which zip code has particular pathogen prevalence and then does it change over time,” said Thangamani.

To have a tick tested, put it in a zip-lock bag with a moist towelette with the following information:

  • The date
  • Location
  • If the tick was found on a human or pet
  • Your email

More info:

You can mail the tick to:

Thangamani Lab
505 Irving Avenue
Suite 4209
SUNY Center for Environmental Health and Medicine
SUNY Upstate Medical Center
Syracuse, NY 13210


I called and they stated anyone can utilize their FREE tick testing. 
They will send you the results of what pathogens were found.

Tickpocalypse: The Public Health Crisis Hiding in Plain Sight


Special Report
“Pandemic” isn’t a word responsible health experts toss around lightly. It refers to an infectious disease that’s run rampant—and it’s near the top of the list of major threats to human health. When pandemics occur, newshounds and public health officials jump on it, alerting the masses (albeit sometimes too slowly). When they don’t, pandemics continue to spread unabated. That’s what’s happening now, according to a growing cadre of experts, with Lyme disease.
The worldwide tick population is exploding, and with it, the incidence of Lyme. The number of confirmed cases of the illness in the U.S. more than doubled in the two decades leading up to 2017, and rose 17% from 2016 to 2017 alone. It’s estimated that 300,000 people contract Lyme each year in the U.S., with victims found not just in traditionally tick-heavy areas like upstate New York and Maine, but in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Lyme is also on the rise in Europe, Africa, and Asia. If all of that isn’t troubling enough, other tick-borne illnesses, like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever—which experts say is significantly more dangerous than Lyme—are also becoming much more widespread.
“Tickpocalypse,” the collection of stories that follows, documents these looming threats, and shows you how to protect yourself and your family. It’s an eye-opening, and hopefully helpful, report.
Click on initial link for the following stories:

Tick, Tick, Tick….

What it’s Like to Have Lyme Disease Forever

Worrying About Worrying About Lyme disease

When Lyme Kills

What it’s Like to be a Creepy-Crawly Field Researcher

Know Your Enemy: The Black Legged Tick

When That Tick Bites

Lyme Prevention 101

The Mouse Cure 


OPINION: How Many Cases of Lyme Disease Are We Missing?

OPINION: How many cases of Lyme disease are we missing?

 Black-legged, or deer ticks are not the only kind of tick that can transmit disease, dog ticks like the one shown here and have been found to carry a number of things, writes Donna Lugar. - 123RF
Black-legged, or deer ticks are not the only kind of tick that can transmit disease, dog ticks like the one shown here and have been found to carry a number of things, writes Donna Lugar. – 123RF


I participated in a “Tick Talk” in Bedford with Lisa Ali Learning of AtlanTick on June 25. One takeaway from that meeting, for me anyway, is that we are not doing enough to ensure Nova Scotians are adequately aware of the risks associated with tick bites. One family, new to the country, had never even heard of ticks before one recently attached to their child.

Although there has been a steady increase in awareness initiatives over the past few years, we need to continue to do more to reduce the number of new cases of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. One way to do this is through more “in your face” awareness, such as signage, print media and radio/TV alerts. Nova Scotians need to reach out to all three levels of government to request that more is done.

Nova Scotians need to know that any tick that bites them could potentially transmit an illness. Black-legged (deer) ticks are not the only kind of tick that can transmit disease, and Lyme is not the only thing we need to worry about. Dog (wood) ticks have been found to carry a number of things, and Lone Star ticks have been found sporadically within the province. As well, migratory birds could be dropping other types of ticks within the province that we haven’t even discovered yet. Any tick that bites a human could potentially be carrying disease — sometimes multiple illnesses.

Symptoms can vary from person to person, with some not showing any outward, visible signs, so medical professionals need to listen to their patients and start to put two and two together.

Please learn what preventative measures to take and how to properly remove attached ticks. This document, which I prepared, provides a lot of information, including how to remove a tick, what to do to prevent tick bites, as well as outlining a number of potential co-infections.

We also need to do more to ensure that those bitten receive a quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment. It’s time our doctors learn that, according to the Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter, Volume 22, Issue 4, October, 2012, there are at least three possible reasons for a false negative ELISA/Western Blot.

  • The fact that the test is performed too early (which most are aware of)
  • It could be a different strain of the Borrelia bacteria not picked up by the test (we also have Borrelia miyamotoi in the province, which can cause a Lyme-like illness and doesn’t generally present with a rash)
  • Antibiotic use. If you were put on antibiotics for something between the bite and the test, or only received a one-day prophylactic treatment upon the bite, you could always test false-negative.

According to Conquering Lyme Disease, a book by doctors at the Columbia University Medical Center, “false negative rates on the ELISA have been reported as high as 67 per cent in early Lyme disease and 21 per cent in early neurologic Lyme disease.” The potential for people to not form enough antibodies to be picked up by the test is also possible.

If your test is negative, it doesn’t mean you do not have Lyme!

There is a proviso in Guidance for Primary Care and Emergency Medicine Providers in the Management of Lyme Disease in Nova Scotia that states, on page five, No: 3, under IDEG Recommends: “Patients presenting with a non-specific febrile illness, but no EM–like rash, AND a recent, clear exposure in an area at moderate or higher risk for Lyme disease ( should be tested and monitored for other symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease. Repeat testing in 4-6 weeks is suggested if there are still concerns that the patient has Lyme disease.” I have only heard from a few people who received repeat testing and that was usually at their own insistence.

Also very important to note is that Lyme is supposed to be a clinical diagnosis, with testing supplementary. Unfortunately, doctors may recognize the better-known bull’s-eye rash, but that is only seen in 20-30 per cent of cases (if that). Other types of erythema migrans rashes are more common. About 20 per cent do not get any rash (Borrelia miyamotoi, perhaps?), while many that do don’t see it because it is tucked away somewhere not easily visible, just like the ticks like to be.

Symptoms can vary from person to person, with some not showing any outward, visible signs (such as an erythema migrans rash, Bell’s palsy, or swollen, hot knees), so medical professionals need to listen to their patients and start to put two and two together. That includes changes in mental health, new digestive issues, new sensitivities to scents, sounds, light and food, migrating pain, more frequent headaches, changes to heartbeats, and so much more that can be suggestive of Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Rather than immediately dismissing Lyme and tick-borne diseases, as many doctors are still doing to this day, they need to realize that this issue is not rare, hard to get or easy to treat.

In other words, it is very hard to get a diagnosis if you do not see the tick, get the bull’s eye rash version of the erythema migrans rash, and/or test positive on both the ELISA and confirmatory Western Blot.

How many are we missing?

Donna Lugar is Nova Scotia representative of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and founder of the N.S. Lyme Support Group. She lives in Bedford.