Archive for the ‘Ticks’ Category

First Report of Dwarf Deer Tick   June 7, 2017 by

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has identified a dwarf deer tick, which is identical to a typical adult female deer tick but is half the size.

Oh goody, if ticks weren’t hard enough to see, now they can be harder to find.

A typical deer tick is 3 millimeters, whereas the dwarf deer tick is just 1.5 millimeters, with the nymph tinier yet.

The finding, reported in the Journal of Medical Entomology, states that additional studies of teratology (abnormal development) in ticks and the implications in disease transmission are needed.

LDA President Pat Smith on Contagion Live

Patricia Smith, President of the Lyme disease Association, discusses Lyme disease has spread throughout the United States in the past decade. Part 1

Lyme Disease: What Makes Diagnosis & Treatment Difficult? Part 2

How Have Tick-Borne Diseases Grown in the United States? Part 3

What Do I Need to Know About Lyme Transmission Time? Part 4

Are Patients Facing Difficulties in Accessing Treatment for Lyme? Part 5

Why is May Lyme Disease Awareness Month? Part 6

How Does Government Acknowledgement of Lyme Affect Patient Care? Part 7

The Current State of Lyme Disease Prevention. Part 8

Lyme Disease Legislation May Advance Patient-Centered Research. Part 9

Review of Tick Attachment Time For Different Pathogens

Stephanie L. Richards, Ricky Langley, Charles S. Apperson and Elizabeth Watson 


Improvements to risk assessments are needed to enhance our understanding of tick-borne disease epidemiology.

We review tick vectors and duration of tick attachment required for pathogen transmission for the following pathogens/toxins and diseases: (1) Anaplasma phagocytophilum (anaplasmosis); (2) Babesia microti (babesiosis); (3) Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease); (4) Southern tick-associated rash illness; (5) Borrelia hermsii (tick-borne relapsing fever); (6) Borrelia parkeri (tick-borne relapsing fever); (7) Borrelia turicatae (tick-borne relapsing fever); (8) Borrelia mayonii; (9) Borrelia miyamotoi; (10) Coxiella burnetii (Query fever); (11) Ehrlichia chaffeensis (ehrlichiosis); (12) Ehrlichia ewingii (ehrlichiosis); (13) Ehrlichia muris; (14) Francisella tularensis (tularemia); (15) Rickettsia 364D; (16) Rickettsia montanensis; (17) Rickettsia parkeri (American boutonneuse fever, American tick bite fever); (18) Rickettsia ricketsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever); (19) Colorado tick fever virus (Colorado tick fever); (20) Heartland virus; (21) Powassan virus (Powassan disease); (22) tick paralysis neurotoxin; and (23) Galactose-α-1,3-galactose (Mammalian Meat Allergy-alpha-gal syndrome).

Published studies for 12 of the 23 pathogens/diseases showed tick attachment times. Reported tick attachment times varied (<1 h to seven days) between pathogen/toxin type and tick vector. Not all studies were designed to detect the duration of attachment required for transmission. Knowledge of this important aspect of vector competence is lacking and impairs risk assessment for some tick-borne pathogens.


The researchers point out that unlike mosquitoes which rely on saliva for transmission, ticks can transmit via saliva, regurgitation of gut contents, and also via the cement-like secretion used to secure itself to the host (hard ticks).  Published data on transmission times relies upon rodent studies showing 15–30 min for Powassan, anywhere from 4-96 hours for bacteria, 7–18 days for the protozoan Babesia microti, and 5-7 days for neurotoxin (Tick Paralysis). For soft ticks, attachment time of 15 sec–30 min was required for transmission of Borrelia turicata (Tick Relapsing Fever).

The challenge with these studies, and there are many, is that most placed multiple ticks on multiple rodents.  Multiple ticks may be transmitting different pathogens.  It has also been shown that ticks feeding on mice coinfected with B. microti and B. burgdorferi were twice as likely to become infected with Bb compared to B. microti, suggesting that coinfection can amplify certain pathogens – which is another reason to only use one rodent and one pathogen to separate out multiplying factors to muddy the waters.  Also, rarely do studies record the titer of both tick and host – again, making it nearly impossible to determine what’s what.  It was also noted that transmission times are unknown for many pathogens.

**And as always:  if you are the ONE person who contracted Lyme Disease in 10 minutes, all these numbers are essentially meaningless.  The frightening truth is that these numbers, along with geographical information regarding tick habitats, are often used against patients.  It is beyond time for doctors to listen, educate themselves, and treat patients with the respect they deserve – not to mention it’s time for them to treat patients clinically and not based on tests that are wrong over half the time and with the knowledge that ticks are spreading everywhere and bringing the pathogens with them. (In other words, throw the maps away!)

The review essentially gives the following transmission times for various pathogens. Again, please know these numbers are not definitive and many, many cases have proven this fact.

Take each and every tick bite seriously and don’t mess around and take a “wait and see approach.”  There is too much at stake.

Transmission Times noted in review:

Anaplasmosis: 24 hours and increased dramatically after 48-50 hours.  It is possible for it to be transmitted transovarially (from mom to baby tick) and it inhabit’s the salivary glands more frequently than the mid-gut.

Babesiosis:  Greater than 36 hours, 17% after 48 hours, and 50% after 54 hours.  Can be transmitted transovarially and transstadially (pathogen stays with tick from one stage to the next).  Ticks feeding on mice coinfected with B. microti and B. burgdorferi were twice as likely to become infected with Bb compared to B. microti.

Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi):  24 hours; however, the researchers comment that there are questions regarding previous transmission studies.  They also commented that there may be a difference in attachment time between nymphs and adult females. Transovarian transmission is unknown.

Tick Relapsing Fever (Borrelia turnicatae, B. hermsii):  15 and 30 seconds respectively.  Transovarian transmission is unknown.

Borreliosis (Borrelia mayonii):  24 hours.  Transovarian transmission is unknown.

Borrelia myamotoi Disease:  24 hours.  Transovarial transmission occurs.

Tularemia (Francisella tularensis):  Not assessed.  Can be transmitted mechanically by deer flies, horse flies, mosquitoes, aerosol/ingestion when processing/eating infected animal tissues.  Can be transmitted transtadially and transovarially.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia rickettsii):  10-20 hours.  Can be transmitted transovarially.

Heartland Virus:  Not assessed.  Can be transmitted transovarially and transstadially.

Powassan Virus:  15 Minutes; however, it is possible it was sooner since the first they checked for transmission was 15 minutes.  Can be transmitted transovarially.

Tick Paralysis (Neurotoxin):  2-6 days.

Alpha Gal/Mammalian Meat Allergy (Galactose-a-1,3-Galactose):  Not assessed.  Transovarian transmission is unknown.

For more on transmission times, please read:



Case Reports of Tick Bites and Illness in Two Central North Carolina Residents

Retrospective Case Reports of Two Central North Carolina Residents

Frequency of Tick Bites and Associated Illnesses, 2001-2014


BACKGROUND Tick bites are a source of illness and disease agents that may lead to morbidity and occasional fatalities in North Carolina. Public health interest in tick-borne illness and disease has increased due to continuing discoveries of tick-borne diseases and their increasing geographic spread and disease incidence. There are no data published on lay individuals with cumulative tick bites and associated illnesses over a period of years.

METHODS We learned of a married couple living on a central North Carolina property who had used reasonable bite prevention methods, kept attached ticks after removal, and recorded dates and related illness records from 2001–2014. We obtained permission to analyze their records. Ticks were identified by an entomologist.

RESULTS The male subject had a total of 219 bites from identifiable ticks comprising 213 Amblyomma americanum, 4 Dermacentor variabilis, and 2 Ixodes scapularis. He was treated for possible Rocky Mountain spotted fever once and presumed Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness once. The female subject had 193 bites comprising 168 A. americanum, 23 D. variabilis, and 2 I. scapularis. She was treated for 4 episodes of presumed Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness and one possible case of a tick-borne infection. Several years of data were missing for both subjects.

LIMITATIONS This retrospective report relied on the subjects’ own records for much of the data. The experience of these individuals cannot be generalized. Diagnoses of these tick-related illnesses are inexact due to lack of tests for the Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness and cross-reactivity in tests for spotted fever rickettsiosis.

CONCLUSIONS This report demonstrates that tick-associated illnesses, including episodes fitting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of the Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness, may be more common than realized. Use of personal tick protection measures for tick bite illness and disease prevention may not be sufficiently protective. Further subject-based research on tick and disease burden on selected populations would be informative, and could aid in planning appropriate actions to mitigate the effects of tick-borne disease in North Carolina.


Dr. Neil Spector and Dr. Rawls on People’s Pharmacy Radio Program

Tune in to Dr. Rawls on The People’s Pharmacy

What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease
Dr. Rawls appears with Dr. Neil Spector on the nationally acclaimed radio program, The People’s Pharmacy, in an enlightening discussion on Lyme disease. Listen to the on-air radio broadcast at 7 a.m. (EDT) June 3, or the replay airing on June 4 at 3 p.m. (EDT). Listen to it live on your local radio station or access the recorded podcast available Monday.


Lyme diseaseThere’s been a big increase in mouse populations in many places over the past year. As a result, the number of ticks is booming, and you have a greater chance of being bitten when you go outside. Could a bite put you in danger from Lyme disease?

The Basics of Lyme Disease:

Lyme disease is the name given to a constellation of symptoms in reaction to infection with a tick-borne pathogen called Borrelia burgdorferi. The black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, is the usual culprit in transmitting this germ. Black-legged ticks feed on white-tailed deer and white-footed mice as well as humans, hence the name “deer tick.”

The infection can produce a rash (though it doesn’t always), along with fever, chills, joint pain, fatigue, headache and flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, Borrelia infection can cause more serious symptoms, including arthritis, pain in muscles and tendons, heart symptoms due to inflammation of the heart muscle and neurological symptoms from inflammation of nerve tissue. Some people also experience brain fog or problems with memory and concentration.

Lyme Disease Stories:

Both of our guests on today’s show are physicians, and both have suffered with Lyme disease that went undiagnosed and untreated for many years. In Dr. Spector’s case, the primary symptoms were heart rhythm abnormalities as the infection destroyed his heart. He eventually needed a heart transplant. (He wrote Gone in a Heartbeat.)

Dr. Rawls also had cardiac symptoms, in addition to fatigue and many other problems. When he finally figured out what was happening to him, he developed a multi-modal treatment plan incorporating herbs to modulate his immune reaction. He also wrote a book, Unlocking Lyme.

Diagnosing Lyme:

While a bulls-eye rash is usually thought of as the signal of Lyme disease, not all target-shaped rashes are the result of Lyme, and quite a few people with Lyme disease never notice a rash. Indeed, some are unaware of having been bitten by a tick.

Lyme disease diagnosis is not as straightforward as the diagnosis for certain other diseases. The laboratory tests need to be interpreted by a clinician who is experienced in the use of two-tiered testing.

(IGeneX uses a far more sensitive test.  Learn about it here:

Taking Control:

When patients feel they need to take control for themselves, one resource is ILADS: The International Lyme and Associate Diseases Society.

There is also more information on this website about other tick-borne infections. We discussed Lyme disease, Bartonellosis and alpha-gal allergy in Show 1003. Show 907 covered Bartonella infections in detail.

This Week’s Guests:

Neil Spector, MD, is an associate professor of medicine as well as pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University Medical Center. He holds the Sandra Coates chair in breast cancer research. Dr. Spector co-directs the experimental therapeutics program for the Duke Cancer Institute and is a Komen Scholar. His book is Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician’s Search for True Healing.

Bill Rawls, MD, is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He has written about Lyme disease, fibromyalgia and chronic immune system dysfunction. His books include Unlocking Lyme: Myths, Truths and Practical Solutions and Suffered Long Enough. His website is

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. (We’d be grateful for a review on iTunes or Google Play.) CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Dr. Martz on Fox31 Denver Go here for interview.

You may remember Dr. Martz from the documentary, Under Our Skin.  He was initially diagnosed with a death sentence of Lou Gehrig’s Disease but was found to have Lyme Disease.  Once he started treatment for Lyme, he improved and is alive to talk about it.

Come hear from several tick-borne disease experts from across the country speak at this free, half-day forum on June 3rd, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm at the American Mountaineering Center at 710 10th Street in Golden, CO. The 2nd Rocky Mountain Forum provides an opportunity to learn about the rapidly changing status of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, risk of exposure here and throughout the US, challenges of diagnosis, and prevention practices. Join us to increase your awareness of the multiple diseases that ticks may transmit that can affect the health and well-being of your family, patients, students and pets.

Experts in the field of ticks and tick-borne diseases from Colorado and beyond will be presenting. For details on speakers and agenda, please visit us at

IPM Institute Submits Tick-borne Disease Testimony Letter to Congress

FY2018 LHHS IPM Institute Testimony Tick-borne Disease IPM FINAL 060217

Integrated Pet Management (IPM) Institute submitted Tick-borne disease testimony to Congress today.  Wording is in link above.

ITM (Integrated Tick Management) seeks to manage tick habitats, incorporate pesticide sprays, and provide host-targeted strategies for deer and mice.

Excerpt below:

In 2015 alone, the estimated annual US direct and indirect medical costs, lost income and tax revenue from 380,690 new cases of Lyme disease at $10,817 per case, totaled more than $4.1 billion. Lyme disease can cause lifelong, debilitating effects in humans and animals, and in some cases, death from direct and indirect health impacts.
If additional tick-borne diseases including babesia, anaplasmosis, tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are considered, the number of cases and costs increases by 30 percent to an estimated $5.4 billion annually. Tick-borne diseases in humans are increasing in number of diseases, cases and geographic distribution in the US. Without a serious investment in cost-effective, long-term solutions to reduce tick populations, tick-borne diseases will continue to spread and costs on the population’s health and wallets will only increase.
Given these tremendous costs and impacts on human lives, resources for tick-borne disease prevention and research must be elevated to a level commensurate with other diseases. For example, in 2012 the NIH invested $112 million in hepatitis C with 1300 new cases annually, or $86,154 per new case. Similarly, there was an investment of $29 million compared to 5700 new cases of West Nile virus, or $5087 per new case. In comparison, only $25 million was invested vs. 312,000 new cases of Lyme disease, which is only $80 per new case. As Lyme disease cases rose in 2013, the NIH reduced funding to $20 million. The investments to reduce Hepatitis C and West Nile virus have been effective and provide evidence that commensurate funding would mitigate tick-borne disease.
Although tick-borne diseases have been identified as a top priority in the CDC strategic plan, investment in reducing tick populations has remained minimal. The total 2016 CDC funding line for Lyme disease was approximately $10.6 million dollars.
In particular, more resources for prevention are critically needed. All federal agency funding allocation from 2006-2010 for tick-borne disease studies totaled $368,103,780. Only 2% ($7,362,075) of that funding supported tick surveillance and environmental factors, and only 3% ($11,043,113) of that funding for tick-borne disease studies supported research on ticks.