Archive for the ‘Ticks’ Category

Alpha Ga Syndrome AKA the Meat Allergy: Lyme Ninja Radio Podcast

 Approx. 45 Min.

In this episode you will learn three things:

1) What ticks carry Alpha – Gal
2) How this allergy is different from protein allergies
3) What Tick Borne Conditions United is doing to educate physicians

Beth Carrison was diagnosed with two tick-borne conditions, Lyme Disease and Alpha-gal Syndrome (aka the red meat allergy). She has been managing food allergies and Lyme disease, both her own and her families, since 1996. In 2018, Ms. Carrison co-founded Tick-Borne Conditions United (TBC United), with Dr. Jennifer Platt, and has been working with the federal Tick Borne Disease Working Group since 2019.
(From the Tick-borne United website. )


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Bartonella Case – Eschar & Enlarged Lymph Nodes

2020 Mar 12;20(1):216. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-4940-0.

Scalp eschar and neck lymphadenopathy after tick bite (SENLAT) caused by Bartonella henselae in Korea: a case report.



Tick-borne lymphadenopathy (TIBOLA) is an infectious disease, mainly caused by species from the spotted fever group rickettsiae and is characterized by enlarged lymph nodes following a tick bite. Among cases of TIBOLA, a case of scalp eschar and neck lymphadenopathy after tick bite (SENLAT) is diagnosed when an eschar is present on the scalp, accompanied by peripheral lymphadenopathy (LAP). Only a few cases of SENLAT caused by Bartonella henselae have been reported.


A 58-year-old male sought medical advice while suffering from high fever and diarrhea. Three weeks before the visit, he had been hunting a water deer, and upon bringing the deer home discovered a tick on his scalp area. Symptoms occurred one week after hunting, and a lump was palpated on the right neck area 6 days after the onset of symptoms. Physical examination upon presentation confirmed an eschar-like lesion on the right scalp area, and cervical palpation revealed that the lymph nodes on the right side were non-painful and enlarged at 2.5 × 1.5 cm. Fine needle aspiration of the enlarged lymph nodes was performed, and results of nested PCR for the Bartonella internal transcribed spacer (ITS) confirmed B. henselae as the causative agent.


With an isolated case of SENLAT and a confirmation of B. henselae in Korea, it is pertinent to raise awareness to physicians in other Asian countries that B. henselae could be a causative agent for SENLAT.


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Are Current Tick Prevention Methods For Dogs Working?

tick bite prevention dogs_gla blog


It’s hard to miss all the tick prevention ads for dogs on TV, from pills to collars and everything in between. And if you’re a dog owner, you can’t leave the vets office without tick prevention being part of your dog’s preventative health plan. With the flea and tick product market estimated to hit $1.34 billion by 2025, it’s clear pet owners are taking disease prevention seriously. So why are more dogs getting Lyme disease now than ever before?

“Infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, is extremely common in dogs in North America, and is, unfortunately, becoming even more common every year,” said Global Lyme Alliance Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Richard Goldstein, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of U.S. Diagnostics, Zoetis.

boy dog ticks grass

Why are tick-borne disease cases increasing in dogs despite a plethora of tick preventative measures, including collars, sprays, pills, powders, vaccines? The number of positive cases of canine Lyme disease has climbed by almost 40% in the last four years (from 245,971 in 2015 to 359,461 in 2019), according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of the threat parasites present to pets and family members.

Increases in the numbers of some other tick-borne diseases affecting dogs are even more alarming. These include canine anaplasmosis, which have nearly doubled from 117,203 in 2015 to 221,568 in 2019— and canine ehrlichiosis, up from 107,985 in 2015 to 200,410 in 2019. Keep in mind these numbers likely represent just a fraction of the actual number of cases.


Dr. Mary Labato, veterinary internist and clinical professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, believes multiple factors such as climate change, reforestation, and new suburban developments that push into local fields and woods are playing a role in the increase of tick-borne diseases.

For one thing, not all pet-owners realize that black-legged ticks—the primary carrier of the Lyme disease bacterium—have become a year-round threat. Although winter is underway, ticks can still be found in leaf litter, brush and decaying vegetation—all areas where pets are at risk of picking them up and passing them on to you and your family.

Many people think that ticks die in winter and so they do not need to use tick-control medication during traditionally cold months, like January or February. But stopping anti-tick medications during the winter months is risky. Ticks are quite resilient and most manage to get through the winter just fine. All they need is one day with temperatures of 40 degrees or higher to emerge and begin searching for a blood meal. This past January, for example, in New York State alone more than a dozen days were sufficiently warm for ticks.

blacklegged tick_deer tick“In the past we didn’t expect to come across ticks in the dead of winter,” said Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, staff doctor at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. “But the past couple of winters have been mild, which means ticks are active for more months of the year, increasing the risk of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in pets.”

Moreover, Lyme disease is spreading to areas once not considered to be at high risk for tick-borne disease. Historically, ticks were mostly found in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. But starting in the second half of the 20th century, developers increasingly pushed into forested areas to build housing. Therefore, more homes and businesses now exist in previously forested areas, which are home to animals such as white-footed mice, deer, and chipmunks which host ticks. “Suburbia has now moved into fields and woods taking away wildlife-exclusive areas,” said Dr. Labato. “So people and dogs are spending more time together in areas where they come in contact with ticks both from the foliage and the wildlife.”

According to a new study from CAPC, Lyme disease prevalence has also been spreading in states not traditionally considered to be at high risk for the illness. These include regions in Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee. Two decades ago, you would never have seen ticks, for instance, in Northern Minnesota, and now you do.


Dr. Goldstein emphasizes that in Lyme-endemic areas, every dog should be protected by their owner by “administering high-quality tick products and taking them [their pet] to their veterinarian to receive an annual Lyme vaccine.” However the use of the vaccines for dogs has been widely debated so talk to your vet about what’s best for your pet.

Yet despite the many anti-tick products on the market, some pet-owners are reluctant to use those that contain pesticides. Instead they may opt for a natural remedy, such as a product with essential oils, whose efficacy is unproven. There is no proof, for example, that apple cider vinegar, which is recommended by a number of websites as a tick preventative, works at all.

For that matter, not even highly effective brand name products will stop or kill 100 percent of the ticks your pets encounter. A 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative surveyed 2,727 households in three states where Lyme disease is endemic—Connecticut, Maryland and New York. More than half had a dog, cat or both in the residence and about 88% of those households reported using some form of tick control. Despite this about 20% of households with pets still found ticks on their animals.

Veterinarians are quick to point out, however, that preventatives only work if they are conscientiously used. “Market research indicates that pet owners are not 100% compliant,” said Dr. Hohenhaus. “Just because pet owners have the medication doesn’t mean they apply it on the schedule prescribed by their veterinarian.”


check 4 ticks dogs_lyme disease in dogsMoreover, Dr. Labato says: “With more options for prevention, we become complacent and rely on the sole activity of the tick preventative. But you still need to check each day for the presence of ticks on dogs, cats, and people.”

If a tick bites your dog, it can transmit Lyme bacteria, but only if it stays attached for more than 24 hours. That’s why Dr. Goldstein also stresses the importance of checking for ticks and removing them every day. “Go through your pet hair by hair,” he said. “Look at the paws. Look at the ears. Look around the muzzle, the face.”

Dr. Goldstein also suggests setting up perimeter boundaries in yards. “If you’re up against woods in your yard,” he explains, “a barrier of wood chips or pebbles will prevent ticks from going across your property. They can be carried across it by an animal, of course, but at least they won’t cross such a barrier like that without assistance.”

“The most important thing to stress is prevention.”

Additional Resources:



Again, the climate doesn’t affect tick and Lyme disease proliferation:

It does not take 24 hours of tick attachment to transmit disease:

Please beware that after receiving the Lyme vaccine animals, similarly to humans, have developed Lyme-like symptoms:

The best advice I have is to talk to your vet about all the available products.

For more: There’s much you can do to limit your pet’s exposure in your yard by effectively treating it. It becomes more difficult when you take your dog places that you don’t have control over.


Study Shows 100% of Robins Infected With Lyme & Songbirds are Spreading Lyme into New Areas

Healthcare 2020, 8(1), 59;


Monitoring of Nesting Songbirds Detects Established Population of Blacklegged Ticks and Associated Lyme Disease Endemic Area in Canada


This study provides a novel method of documenting established populations of bird-feeding ticks. Single populations of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, and the rabbit tick, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, were revealed in southwestern Québec, Canada. Blacklegged tick nymphs and, similarly, larval and nymphal rabbit ticks were tested for the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl), using PCR and the flagellin (flaB) gene, and 14 (42%) of 33 of blacklegged tick nymphs tested were positive. In contrast, larval and nymphal H. leporsipalustris ticks were negative for Bbsl. The occurrence of Bbsl in I. scapularis nymphs brings to light the presence of a Lyme disease endemic area at this songbird nesting locality. Because our findings denote that this area is a Lyme disease endemic area, and I. scapularis is a human-biting tick, local residents and outdoor workers must take preventive measures to avoid tick bites. Furthermore, local healthcare practitioners must include Lyme disease in their differential diagnosis.
The article is quick to point out that while THIS study didn’t find Bbsl in H. leporsipalustris ticks (rabbit tick), past research has.  If you read the entire study you will see the following excerpts:

4.4. H. leporispalustris Vector Competency

In this study, we did not identify Bbsl in H. leporispalustris ticks. However, Banerjee et al. detected Lyme disease spirochetes in H. leporispalustris ticks collected from a snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus, in northern Alberta [47]. As well, Scott et al. discovered Borrelia lanei-like spirochetes and a Babesia divergens-like piroplasm concurrently in a H. leporispalustris (female) collected from an eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus, in southern Manitoba [48]. Scott & Durden provide the first record of a Bbsl-positive H. leporispalustris (nymph) collected from an avian host (Swainson’s Thrush) in Canada [14]. Previously, Scott et al. found Bbsl in a H. leporispalustris larva parasitizing a passerine (Canada Warbler) in Québec suggesting that this tick species is a reservoir-competent host [8]. During southbound, fall migration in Canada, larval and nymphal H. leporispalustris frequently parasitize passerines, and are widely dispersed in southern regions.

4.5. Ticks Co-infest Songbirds

One Veery was co-infested with H. leporispalustris (one nymph and one larva), and I. scapularis (two nymphs). Not only is there a breeding colony of I. scapularis present in this Laurentian River basin, an established population of H. leporispalustris is also there. Since these ixodid ticks were collected during the nesting and fledgling period, this bird parasitism denotes a cohabitation of two tick species in this sylvan locale, and signifies that these two tick species are sympatric. The Veery has trans-border and trans-equatorial migration during its northward spring flight, and has a breeding range in southern Canada, including southwestern Québec and northern United States; the wintering range is in central and southeastern Brazil (Figure 4). During the breeding, nesting, and fledgling period, Veeries have localized activity in juxtaposition to the stationary nest. When the young have fledged the nest, these passerines replenish their fat reserves, and prepare for the southbound trek to wintering ranges in southern latitudes during August and September. In late July, they typically moult in preparation for the southbound marathon flight.
Why this is important:  because we continue to be told that ONLY the black legged tick transmits Lyme to humans.  Here we are told transmission by the rabbit tick (H. leporispalustris) is rare:
The following pathogens have been found in the rabbit tick:

The two studies used as references in the wikipedia article state the following about the rabbit tick.  While Lyme (borrelia) isn’t mentioned (but should be), Rickettsia is:

Our results support a possible role of H. leporispalustris in the enzootic maintenance of R. rickettsii in Latin America, as previously suggested by earlier works.

We have been able to isolate 2 strains of rickettsiae from the rabbit tick , indistinguishable from isolated from humans in our country (Costa Rica).

Regarding borrelia (Lyme) in the rabbit tick please note that in 4.4 above, Scott et al. found Bbsl in a H. leporispalustris larva parasitizing a Warbler suggesting that this tick species is a reservoir-competent host. In essence, the rabbit tick clearly has borrelia strains within it.  And further, during southbound, fall migration in Canada, larval and nymphal H. leporispalustris frequently parasitize passerines, and are widely dispersed in southern regions.  In essence, ticks with borrelia are infecting birds that are then going South and spreading their pathogens there.

Let’s say hypothetically that the rabbit tick is incapable of transmitting Lyme to humans.  Who’s to say that an animal that is co-infested with both black-legged ticks & rabbit ticks (as happened in this study) can’t then harbor all of these pathogens simultaneously that could in the the future be be transmitted to humans through the feedings of successive ticks?
I’m just a simple woman, but it appears to me that nobody is considering this.  They would rather look at old studies that state emphatically that only certain ticks in certain locations can transmit to humans and then smugly send patient after patient home with an anti-depressant.  Either we are all nuts or lying, OR something is happening out there that isn’t being picked up.  I vote for the latter.
The study shows that established borrelia infested ticks feeding on songbirds are spreading borrelia (and other things I’m sure) into new areas – far away from where they started and rodents are maintaining the cycle all year round.  
There is no “safe” time of the year.
Lastly, of epidemiological merit 100% of tested American Robins were positive for Bbsl.

Dear Lyme Warrior….HELP!

lyme warrior

By Jennifer Crystal

Every few months, Jennifer Crystal devotes a column to answering your questions. Below she answers some that she’s recently received. Do you have a question for Jennifer? If so, email her at

Did you stop your medication during a Herxheimer reaction?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question; it all depends what works best for you. A Herxheimer reaction occurs when antibiotics kill Lyme bacteria faster than your body can eliminate it, causing a build-up of dead toxins. The process can make you feel downright awful. Often a Herx” involves an increase in symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, migraines, and joint pain.

The body needs time to eliminate the killed bacteria, and for some patients the best way to do that is to give it a break from antibiotics, so that more build up isnt happening while your system is working to detox. Some doctors advise a pulsing method, taking antibiotics for a certain period and then stopping them for a certain amount of time, for precisely this reason. Other doctors have patients push through the Herx with continued antibiotic treatment.

For me, I almost always stayed the course throughout my Herxheimer reactions, even though I felt terrible during those periods. When symptoms got unbearable, my doctor would advise me to take a one-or-two day break from antibiotics, and that helped. Talk with your Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) about the duration and severity of your Herxheimer reactions, and decide together on the best course for you. Your doctor can also advise you on ways to help your body with the detox process itself.

My child wants to go to college in the Northeast, but Im nervous about sending her somewhere where Lyme is so prevalent. What do you advise?

Once you or a family member has been impacted by tick-borne illness, your whole perspective on the outdoors changes. Sometimes I want to wrap myself in a bubble and stay indoors. But I cant live in fear—besides, ticks can come inside, too!.

What I can do is be vigilant. To deny myself time out of doors would be to deny myself that which brings me the most joy. However, I no longer go walking in the woods or running through high grasses. I stick to worn or paved paths, stay away from lawns when possible, and do activities that are on the water or in the snow. I always wear bug spray, and undergo a thorough tick check after returning inside.

Nevertheless, I still have fears about getting another tick bite, so I can understand why you have concerns about sending your child to a highly endemic tick area. While New England does have a great deal of infected ticks, there are now documented cases of Lyme in all 50 states. Your child could get a tick bite while walking through the woods in the Northwest or the Southeast; ticks are no longer limited to New England. And while ticks can live on campus lawns, its less likely that your child will get a tick bite there, no matter what part of the country it’s in, than if he or she went for an off-campus hike.

I went to school in Vermont. That rural college won my heart the minute I set foot on campus. I think its more important to go to a school you love, and take whatever health precautions you need to while there—prevention, bug spray, rigorous post-outdoors tick checks— than to go to a school that doesnt feel right, just because you might have less chance of getting a tick bite there.

What type of brain scan did you get?

In some of my articles, I have mentioned having a brain scan that showed inflammation and a lack of oxygen on the left side of my brain. This was called a SPECT scan, which can show more than an MRI. But that was over a decade ago; there may be even better scans available today.

Related blogs:
What Does it Mean to Herx?
Dealing with Lyme-related Fear
Stop the Music! How to X Out the Songs and Words That Keep Playing in Your Head

jennifer crystal_2

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. Her memoir about her medical journey is forthcoming. Contact her at

Vector Competence Studies With Hard Ticks & Borrelia Sensu Lato Spirochetes: A Review

2019 Dec 14:101359. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.101359. [Epub ahead of print]

Vector competence studies with hard ticks and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes: A review.


Use of emerging technology allowing for identification of genetic material from pathogens and endosymbionts in ticks collected from humans, domestic animals, wildlife, or the environment has resulted in an avalanche of new data on tick-microorganism associations. This rapidly growing stream of new information is a tremendous resource but also presents challenges, including how detection of pathogen genetic material in ticks should best be interpreted. There is a tendency in the more recent published literature to incorrectly use the term “vector” based on detection of pathogen genetic material from tick species not experimentally confirmed to serve as vectors of the pathogen in question.

To serve as a vector of a horizontally maintained pathogen, such as a Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) Lyme borreliosis spirochete, the tick species in question must be capable of acquiring the pathogen while feeding in the larval or nymphal stage on an infectious host, maintaining it transstadially through the molt, and then transmitting the pathogen to a naïve host while feeding in the subsequent nymphal or adult stage.

This review examines the experimental evidence for and against species of hard (ixodid) ticks from different genera to serve as vectors of B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes.

  • Of the 18 Ixodes species ticks evaluated to date, 13 were experimentally confirmed as vectors of B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes.
  • These studies focused primarily on the three major Lyme borreliosis agents: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii.
  • In striking contrast, none of 8 tick species from other genera (1 Amblyomma species, 5 Dermacentor species, and 2 Haemaphysalis species) evaluated to date were unequivocally experimentally confirmed as vectors of B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes.

The strength of the evidence for or against each tick species to serve as a vector of B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetes is discussed together with key knowledge gaps and research challenges.



This author, a CDC employee, is basing his findings on previous research.  There’s nothing new here.  

Also of import is the fact borrelia has been found in other ticks – just not enough for to be “statistically” important, OR in the instance of the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) there has been hot debate as to whether STARI is Lyme or not.  Patients and advocates alike claim the symptoms are one in the same.  The debate continues.

The trouble is, what if you are the poor sucker that gets bitten by that “statistically” insignificant tick?  Well, you lose because mainstream doctors are going to skim this review and conclude that ONLY certain ticks transmit Lyme/borrelia. They are going to write you off as psychosomatic:

Important excerpt:

Yes, vector competence was confirmed experimentally; No, vector competence was evaluated experimentally but could not be confirmed; Blank space, tick species not yet evaluated for this B. burgdorferi s.l. species.

There were numerous places where competence couldn’t be confirmed (which is a far cry different from it can’t happen) as well as the fact there were tons of blank spaces – which means the tick species hasn’t even been evaluated yet.

Here’s the dealeo, all ticks transfer fluid.  ALL TICKS should be suspect.  Period.  Remember all the research I’ve posted stating Lyme “didn’t exist” in various geographical places until someone pushed hard enough to get it recognized:


According to Dr. Naveen Patil, Director of the Infectious Disease Program, ADH,

“We don’t have Lyme Disease in Arkansas, we have the ticks that transmit Lyme Disease but we don’t have any recorded cases of Lyme Disease.” 

We can thank a mother from Arkansas for getting Arkansas on the map for Lyme disease.

And so it goes:

Tick research is similar in that until something gets documented (published), researchers and doctors alike treat it as if it’s never, ever happened, and therefore (circular reasoning) it won’t happen in the future.

Four Borrelia Species Found in Ticks in North-Eastern Germany

2020 Feb 27;13(1):106. doi: 10.1186/s13071-020-3969-7.

Borrelia miyamotoi and Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) identification and survey of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks from north-eastern Germany.



Ixodes ricinus is the most common tick species in Europe and the main vector for Borrelia burgdorferi (sensu lato) and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). It is involved also in the transmission of Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever spirochete that causes health disorders in humans. Little is known regarding the circulation of Borrelia species and the natural foci of TBEV in north-eastern Germany. The goal of this study was to investigate the infection rates of Borrelia spp. and of TBEV in I. ricinus ticks from north-eastern Germany.


Ticks were collected by flagging from 14 forest sites in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania between April and October 2018. RNA and DNA extraction was performed from individual adult ticks and from pools of 2-10 nymphs. Real time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) targeted the 3′ non-coding region of TBEV, while DNA of Borrelia spp. was tested by nested PCR for the amplification of 16S-23S intergenic spacer. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was performed on B. miyamotoi isolates.


In total, 2407 ticks were collected (239 females, 232 males and 1936 nymphs). Female and male I. ricinus ticks had identical infection rates (both 12.1%) for Borrelia spp., while nymphal pools showed a minimum infection rate (MIR) of 3.3%. Sequencing revealed four Borrelia species: B. afzelii, B. garinii, B. valaisiana and B. miyamotoi.

  • Borrelia afzelii had the highest prevalence in adult ticks (5.5%) and nymphs (MIR of 1.8%)
  • Borrelia miyamotoi was identified in 3.0% of adults and registered the MIR of 0.8% in nymphs
  • Borrelia valaisiana was confirmed in 2.5% adult ticks and nymphs had the MIR of 0.7%
  • B. garinii was present in 1.1% of adults and showed a MIR of 0.1% in nymphs
  • The MLST of B. miyamotoi isolates showed that they belong to sequence type 635.
  • No tick sample was positive after RT-qPCR for TBEV RNA.


The prevalence of B. miyamotoi in I. ricinus ticks registered similar levels to other reports from Europe suggesting that this agent might be well established in the local tick population.

The detection of B. burgdorferi (s.l.) indicates a constant circulation in tick populations from this region.



If four borrelia species were discovered in German ticks, it’s highly likely these same ticks are transmitting to humans. German patients are sunk if doctors are utilizing worthless CDC 2-tiered testing as it ONLY uses one strain, which isn’t even discussed in this paper (B. burgdorferi).

Borrelia afzelii, miyamotoi, and garinii ALL are pathogenic to humans.

This 2004 article shows they found valaisiana in the cerebrospinal fluid in a, 61-year-old man with a history of spastic paraparesis, which is strong clinical evidence of advanced neuroborreliosis.” They further state, “This report is the first of genetic detection of B. valaisiana in CSF, which indicates a probable association of this genospecies with disease in humans.”

Sixteen years later we still don’t know if valaisianna is pathogen to humans.

This, right here, is why we don’t need more climate data.
We need to know what is causing disease in humans, and how to detect it (test), and treat it.

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