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Lyme disease is primarily transmitted by ticks; that much most people know. The link between the words ‘Lyme’ and ‘ticks’ is cemented in the public consciousness, so much so that in 2018, many will instinctively conjure images of ticks when they hear or read something concerning Lyme disease. This is certainly progress. The enigmatic disease was only discovered a mere 43 years ago, although it has been around for centuries. Since its discovery in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, the disease has had a hard time being taken seriously, or at least being considered as the debilitating threat it undoubtedly is. Now that Lyme is finally becoming more visible in the mainstream medical community, patients and doctors alike are looking at ways it can be transmitted. One of the areas up for discussion is the possibility of sexual transmission.
Many severe and extreme conditions can be transmitted sexually, and everyone is aware of the dangers of prominent STDs like AIDS, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and herpes. But could Lyme disease also join the line-up of threats? It was previously thought that any type of human-to-human Lyme transmission was impossible, and only specific types of tick could spread the disease. Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme; it’s carried by deer ticks in North America, and sheep ticks in Europe. It is estimated that as many as one in three ticks are contaminated with Borrelia, making the likelihood of catching Lyme in tick-populated areas quite high. Many people dismiss Lyme disease as they believe it’s easy to tell if you’ve been bitten by a tick or not. However, it is not altogether straightforward. Ticks will often seek out sheltered or hard-to-reach places on the human body before biting, and their saliva is laced with a paralytic agent that further minimises the risk of detection.
The appearance of a distinctive bullseye rash is one of the most concrete indicators of Lyme disease, although it can be quite hard to spot, and never appears in the first place in a minority of cases. This rash is accompanied by flu-like symptoms as the disease spreads in its acute stage. When these symptoms subside, the bacteria settle into the body, and the condition mutates into its chronic stage, which is notoriously hard to both diagnose and treat, and remains a point of contention between Lyme experts and other medical professionals. If the offending bacteria remains in a person’s system for many years, then it’s logical to assume that they can potentially transmit Lyme disease to their sexual partner(s) at any point during the prolonged infection. Therefore, it’s crucial to know if and how this type of transmission is possible.
According to the CDC (the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention), the case is crystal clear: their website officially states that ‘there is no credible scientific evidence that Lyme disease is spread through sexual contact’, going so far as to say that ‘the biology of the Lyme disease spirochete is not compatible with this route of exposure’. However, the CDC hasn’t got a great track history of Lyme expertise. Their position on the chronic form of Lyme is still a grey area at best, and their website also states that, in relation to the transmission of Lyme disease from mother to child during pregnancy, ‘no negative effects on the foetus have been found’. In fact, the transmission of Lyme during pregnancy is well-documented by Lyme experts and researchers, and although it’s a rare scenario, it is still possible.
So how do the experts see it? Dr. Carsten Nicolaus, head of Lyme specialists BCA-clinic in Augsburg, thinks that the question is not easily answered, and although it’s a probability, the risk seems very low. He cites a study conducted by Marianne Middelveen and Dr. Ray Stricker in 2014, which confirmed the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi in the genital secretions of Lyme-positive heterosexual couples. In one case, a couple was found to secrete an identical strain of Lyme spirochete in their separate samples, strongly indicating that the bacteria can be transmitted through unprotected sex. However, the study conducted is far too small to be of any diagnostic use; although the findings are interesting and alarming, more research and studies need be conducted to produce a concrete answer.
In theory, certainly, sexual transmission of Lyme disease is possible. The corkscrew-shaped Lyme spirochete shares many traits with Treponema pallidum, the microbe that causes syphilis. The latter is well-versed in the sexual transmission pathway, and has honed the method to near perfection. Borrelia has repeatedly been shown to be both opportunistic and insidious in the way it infects and survives in its host; it follows that if the opportunity for a new method of infection arose, it would almost certainly take it. As Lyme disease becomes more visible all over the world, it is important to remember that we know startlingly little about it, in comparison to other disorders. As such, it is crucial that meticulous study and tests continue, so we can rule out certain methods of transmission, or devise new ways to fight them.
Although this was written 4 months ago, it still demands an answer.
Isn’t it interesting that the small 2014 study barely raised eye-brows except for in the Lyme world? That should tell you something right away.
Authorities don’t want to know the answer to this question because first they’d have to admit stupidity & that they were wrong, and second, they’d have to do something about it….and heaven forbid either of those two things happen.
I’m quite open about the fact I believe I got this STD from my infected husband. All my initial symptoms were gynecological, it’s just I didn’t know anything about Lyme/MSIDS at the time. I went down the rabbit-hole of transmission fairly quickly in my journey due to my own case and I write about it, with tons of links to studies and experts disagreeing with the accepted narrative here: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/02/24/pcos-lyme-my-story/
Nothing is going to happen unless we demand it to happen. I find it highly interesting that at the first whiff of Zika being sexually transmitted, authorities followed through and it was the shot heard around the world – even though mosquitoes can’t even carry it in Wisconsin and many, many other states.
Here’s the map of places in the U.S. where the mosquitoes capable of transmitting Zika live:
Here’s where the black legged tick able to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi and B. mayonii (which cause Lyme disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (anaplasmosis), B. miyamotoidisease (a form of relapsing fever), Ehrlichia muris eauclairensis (ehrlichiosis), Babesia microti (babesiosis), and Powassan virus (Powassan virus disease) lives:
Here’s where the brown dog tick capable of transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever lives:
Here’s where the Gulf Coast tick capable of transmitting Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, a form of spotted fever lives:
Tick distribution maps found: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html
In total – 7 types of ticks spreading deadly diseases in every single state in the U.S. but we know more about a tropical disease that in 80% of those who contract it have ZERO symptoms, and 1 out of 5 will have mild symptoms that last a week. https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/21/how-zika-got-the-blame/. Call me crazy, but the disparity of risk between the two diseases couldn’t be greater.
Not to mention that migrating birds are transporting ticks worldwide:
I literally could go on and on with this….
The bacterium that causes Lyme disease – a worm-like, spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi – is carried and transmitted primarily by the tiny black-legged tick known as the deer tick. Deer ticks are found in forests or grassy, wooded, marshy areas near rivers, lakes or oceans. People or animals may be bitten by deer ticks during outdoor activities such as hiking or camping, or even while spending time in their back yards.
Named after numerous cases were identified in Lyme, Conn., in 1975, the disease has since been reported in humans and animals across the United States and around the world. Within the U.S., it appears primarily in specific areas including the southern New England states; eastern Mid-Atlantic states; the upper Midwest, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota; and on the West Coast, particularly northern California. The CDC maintains a map detailing confirmed cases of Lyme disease throughout the years.
Lyme disease is a reportable disease – which means that health care providers and laboratories that diagnose cases of laboratory-confirmed Lyme disease are required to report those cases to their local or state health departments, which in turn report the cases to the CDC.
People with pets should:
As noted above, there are preventive Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, but they aren’t necessarily recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to see if the vaccination makes sense for your pets. If your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated against Lyme disease, the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.
Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:
Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.
Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.
Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.
Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for the disease.
In humans, often the earliest indication of infection is a “bullseye” rash at the site of the tick bite – so named because it resembles a target. As the infection develops, symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. The disease can progress to cause chronic joint problems as well as heart and neurological problems. As with pets, Lyme disease is not contagious from one person to another.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more information about Lyme disease in people.
By Jim Hardy & Libby McBride
Britain could be in for a record-breaking “horror” summer of blood-sucking ticks which can cripple people and even make them blind.
Following a mild winter and with the balmy weather this spring, fears are growing that the insects could have survived their hibernation in vast numbers and could be ready to breed and multiply.
The ticks spread Lyme disease with their saliva as they gorge on people’s blood – but it’s incredibly early in the year for an outbreak.
If a bug latches on to a human it can pass on a germ which can cause blindness, paralysis and meningitis .
The nightmare vampire-like mites, which feast on flesh, have already left a five-year-old boy suffering from Lyme disease .
Doctors are monitoring William Bargate who was bitten twice within five days by two separate ticks after playing at a Conwy Council owned park in Llandudno, Wales.
Three days after the initial tick bite on March 22 – which is understood to have been attached to William’s head for up to 36 hours – he began to suffer flu-like symptoms including tiredness, muscle pain, headachesand a fever.
His mother Adelle Bargate, 37, took him to see a doctor but says that as he did not have the visible circular rash associated with the disease it was thought he had just contracted a viral infection.
But days later, William was taken to see the doctor for a second time after being bitten again.
As well as being unable to move his neck, he had also developed severe and worsened flu-like symptoms.
The disease most commonly affects the skin, joints, the heart and the nervous system and is generally treated with antibiotics but some patients claim the symptoms can continue after treatment.
“On the second visit, the doctor acknowledged the potential infection and gave him 10 days worth of antibiotics” Ms Bargate said.
“But his symptoms were worsening and I was really concerned so I took him to A&E in Bangor on Saturday.
“They took him straight to the children’s ward where he was immediately sent for blood tests and that’s when they said they were treating it as Lyme disease.
“It’s really difficult to get a positive test of Lyme disease so as a precaution to his nasty symptoms he is now on a three week course of antibiotics.”
William was discharged from hospital on Sunday with three weeks worth of antibiotics, and his mum was told he will need to go for further tests this week to monitor the suspected disease.
Mum Adelle continued:
“I’ve lived on the Orme for more than 16 years and I never had ticks pulled off me as a child, it only seems to have become a bigger problem over the last two years.
“I don’t think it’s being taken seriously enough in the area, I feel as though I am the only person who is making a noise about the number of them around here.
“Nobody seems to be doing anything about it and I’m worried more children will become sick because of them.
“Every time my children play outside I have to strip them and check them for ticks.”
Her son’s illness comes after she also found a tick on her eight-year-old daughter Briony’s head in June last year, which she suspects had been there for around two days.
It was the second tick she had found on her daughter in a week.
At the time, a number of families also reported finding the tiny blood sucking insects attached to their child’s skin after they were playing in and around the same park.
Public Health Wales declined to comment due to patient confidentiality.
Now it’s feared that billions of the blood-sucking bugs which can send you blind or cripple you for life are ready to creep across the country.
They love to lurk in lush long grass and woodland glades, so couples getting frisky in the fresh air face getting bitten.
The Health Protection Agency says there are 2,000 cases of Lyme disease every year in the UK, but the number is soaring.
TV Question of Sport star Matt Dawson, the former England rugby international, needed heart surgery after he was bitten by a tick in a London park in 2015 and Lyme Disease spread through his body.
According to The Big Tick Project – a nationwide research survey in collaboration with Bristol University that looks at the number of ticks on dogs – the numbers are on the increase for several reasons.
“Many factors may have contributed to the increase in tick numbers across the UK” they said.
“Changing weather patterns mean prolonged periods where conditions are favourable for tick survival, particularly wetter summers and warmer winters.
“A lack of awareness amongst pet owners, leading to inadequate treatment and prevention may also play a significant role in contributing to problems for dogs.
“However, despite the growth of tick populations across the country, only 12 per cent of people are actually concerned by the risk posed by ticks.
“More worryingly, 47 per cent of pet owners were not aware that they too are at risk of infection from tick-borne diseases.”
Last summer mum Emily Porter warned parents to be on their guard after she spotted this tick embedded in her three-year-old son’s scalp after their trip to Lyme Park in Disley, Manchester.
The mum-of-two, from Marple,believes she was lucky to spot the tick so soon and managed to get it out with a tick remover.
She said at the time “I saw it whilst washing his hair. It stood out against the blond.
“I probably wouldn’t have spotted it in my other son’s hair and I only knew what it was as I am on high alert as we have a dog who has had them.
“Someone else would have probably thought it was a scab or a bit of dirt as they are so tiny at first.”
In a statement at the time, a spokesperson for National Trust-owned Lyme Park advised visitors to wear long trousers and check themselves afterwards to reduce the risk of infection.
The first symptom when someone is bitten by an infected tick is a red circular ‘bullseye’ skin rash which may subside after a week or two.
A high temperature, muscle and joint pain may then follow.
Most infections are not serious but in extreme cases it can cause paralysis, encephalitis and meningitis.
It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, found in the digestive system of deer, pheasants and mice.
For more on prevention: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/12/tick-prevention-2019/
Please know, the number of folks getting the “classic” bullseye EM rash is much smaller than is being touted: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/21/lyme-disease-dont-wait-for-blood-tests-where-patients-have-bullseye-rash/ Read comments at end of article as well.
This whole weather issue is a bunch of bunk. Independent Canadian researcher, John Scott, as proven tick proliferation and therefore the spread of disease has absolutely NADDA to do with the weather: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/13/study-shows-lyme-not-propelled-by-climate-change/
And, according to a UW Madison PhD in Climatology, there’s only ONE climate change computer model even slightly close to the truth and it shows the least amount of “change.” He also claims the debate over climate change is infused with political games played to create policy. https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/17/uw-madison-phd-in-ecological-climatology-climate-change-computer-models-fudged-except-russian-model/
It’s that time.
Similar to Lyme/MSIDS treatment, tick prevention is a multi-pronged effort and includes protecting yourself, your yard, and your pets.
Dress for success: Research has shown permethrin treated clothing causes ticks to drop off or renders them unable to bite: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/27/study-conforms-permethrin-causes-ticks-to-drop-off-clothing/.
SOURCE: TickEncounter Resource Center. For an interactive map: https://tickencounter.org/faq/tick_habitat
Remove Japanese Barberry, honeysuckle, and buckthorns
Clinically we find a multitude of neuro-psychological symptoms that present with children afflicted with tick-borne illnesses. Many of those symptoms did not exist prior to exposure. The number of children with anxiety disorders, OCD, mood dysregulation, ADHD, bipolar disorder, gender dysphoria and others are prominent and included in the working diagnosis and treatment plan of Lyme and other tick bhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/somerdelsignorekidslyme/orne diseases.
There are countless studies linking neuro-psychological impairments with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses many of which suggest a larger percentage of children are affected.
A review of literature reveals studies by Brian Fallon and others that link Lyme disease to neurological and psychological ailments. New onset depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and other mental illnesses were postulated to be the result of a Lyme disease exposure. Fallon outlined several supportive strands of evidence throughout his research. He noted the incidence of mental illness is greater in those with Lyme disease versus other medical conditions. These psychiatric conditions were new onset and did not exist prior to contracting Lyme disease. Lastly, these mental illnesses improved after administering courses of antibiotic therapy.
So what is thought to contribute to the psychological changes? Further evaluation thru single photon emission tomography or SPECT scans as it’s known revealed that those with
“Lyme disease typically have multifocal areas of decreased perfusion in the cortex and subcortical white matter” Fallon et al. 1997.
Cortical and subcortical perfusion is studied extensively with PTSD patients. The pattern of poor perfusion is similar to those who also suffer from a tick-borne illness. A result of poor perfusion can lead to breakdown of the neural pathways that provide an interconnectedness between all regions of the brain. Specifically, the subcortical regions play a significant role in emotional regulation. This is where your fight or flight response stems via control of Dopamine and other neurotransmitters. Your cortical regions control sensory, motor and visual response. In the presence of Lyme disease, which has an affinity for the neurological system, inflammation occurs contributing to this poor perfusion state. It’s plausible to suggest neurological and psychological changes as it relates to tick-borne illness.
Studies directed specifically at the pediatric population were conducted by Rosalie Greenberg, a pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist. Although small, Dr. Greenberg studied 14 children diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She noted
Bransfield and others discuss links for autism spectrum disorder development in children as evident by the spirochete that causes Lyme can be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child. This can lead to neurological ailments as well as significant immune dysfunction. Supportive evidence showed upwards of 30% of those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had a positive blood test for Borrelia Burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme Disease. I’ll certainly delve into autism and links to infection in the coming weeks as I’m fascinated!
Children present differently. Perhaps it is the vulnerable blood brain barrier or naïve immune system that contributes. We know in children the brain continues to develop until they reach their early 20’s. Studies looking closer at the link between childrens’ neurological status and tick-borne illness speculates around 70% to present with onset of headaches, fatigue, mood disturbance, irritability and acute outbursts where symptoms did not previously exist. Anecdotally, I too have witnessed these accounts.
Let’s postulate, just for fun, out of the 4 million children currently diagnosed with mental illness at least 30% or more of those have a tick-borne illness. That’s roughly 1.2 million children whom could be cured of their mental illness by merely treating the infection with courses of antibiotics and/or natural remedies.
This certainly would present a fundamental paradigm shift within the mental healthcare community but isn’t it worth it? Shouldn’t we all Think Differently about mental illness?
The take home message here for parents. If your child (or you) present with sudden onset of neurological changes, mood swings, ADD/ADHD, sleep disturbances, motor or vocal tics, fasciculations, unfounded anxieties and fears, rage, impulsivity, concentration issues, dyslexia, regression with milestones etc, seek out an evaluation for tick-borne illnesses.
Recent Tick-Task Force initiatives, passed by NY state legislators and championed by Senator Sue Serino, secured 1 million dollars to fund research that allow better understanding of the link between Lyme, tick-borne diseases and mental health issues. These funds will also help support preventative actions as well as raise awareness. It’s solid movement in the right direction. This recent legislation would direct the Office of Mental Hygiene and Department of Health to conduct these studies. Fingers crossed for the follow thru! You can find more information about critical legislation passed recently in the NY senate and full description of the tick-borne illness initiatives by visiting serino.nysenate.gov.
More and more coming out daily on how pathogens are implicated in brain diseases and mental disorders. This article should be shared widely as there are multitudes of children being misdiagnosed with mental illness that could be cured by treating the underlying infection(s).