Archive for the ‘Toxoplasmosis’ Category

Epstein-Barr Virus – A Key Player in Chronic Illness

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/epstein-barr-virus-a-key-player-in-chronic-illness?Epstein Barr Virus: A Key Player in Chronic Illness

Epstein-Barr Virus: A Key Player in Chronic Illness

by Dr. Bill Rawls
Posted 11/3/17

So, you’re experiencing symptoms of tiredness, achiness, sore throat, and possibly swollen lymph nodes and low-grade fever that just won’t go away.

You’ve Googled your symptoms, and mononucleosis pops up as a likely possibility. But if you’re well beyond college age, mononucleosis isn’t very common.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and even Lyme disease are other possibilities you might have entertained, especially if you have symptoms beyond those mentioned above. But then you came across something called reactivated Epstein-Barr virus, which fits your symptoms to a tee.

If you are aware that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the cause of mononucleosis, you may be wondering: What’s the difference between chronic reactivated EBV and mononucleosis? And beyond that, what makes chronic reactivated EBV chronic — and how does it play into other chronic illnesses?

To find out, read on to learn more about this complex and convoluted microbe called Epstein-Barr virus and what can make it a long-term troublemaker.

Almost Everyone Has EBV

Let’s start with the fact that EBV is much more common than you might imagine: >95% of world’s population has been infected with it.

Another interesting fact is that it’s a herpes-type virus. Yep, you read that right: EBV is a close relative of genital herpes. Known technically as Human Herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4), it’s #4 on the list of nine different herpes-type viruses that can infect humans.

Herpesviruses are composed of strands of DNA inside an envelope. After initial infection, they stay dormant in tissues indefinitely, but can reactivate if immune system functions become depressed.

In other words, if you’ve ever been infected with a herpesvirus like EBV, you will always carry it in your tissues.

EBV Can Spread Like Wildfire

The majority of people become infected with EBV as infants or young children. The virus spreads primarily by oral route via saliva. To enter the body, it infects mucous membranes lining the mouth, throat, and stomach. From there, the virus infects B cells, the type of white blood cell that produces antibodies. It also infects T cells and natural killer cells, but to a lesser extent. Infected white blood cells transport EBV throughout the body.

In this active phase, called the lytic phase, the virus takes over the machinery of infected cells to generate new viruses. This is when people are most symptomatic and contagious.

The virus spreads remarkably easily, especially in children. It is most typically spread by people who are infectious, but don’t know it — daycare workers, babysitters, grandmothers with big wet kisses. Following that, infected children rapidly pass it along to other children.

Which is a really good thing — because if you get it as an infant or young child (remember to thank your grandmother), you typically don’t get very sick at all. In fact, it’s unlikely that you would even remember the infection.

It’s only if you don’t get EBV at a young age and then get exposed later in life when your immune system is suppressed that you’re at risk for developing the form of EBV called mononucleosis.

Known as kissing disease, infectious mononucleosis (IM) is spread by intimate contact with someone shedding the virus. It typically occurs in young adults who haven’t been exposed early in life. It usually catches the person off guard when immune system functions are depressed, such as during the stress of high school or college.

Compared to EBV occurring in childhood, IM is much more severe: Common symptoms include sore throat, fever, severe fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. It can drag on for months and be quite debilitating.25

Whether the initial encounter with EBV occurs as an innocuous infection as a child or as debilitating mononucleosis as a young adult, the host’s immune system eventually gains ground and the infection is contained.

The virus, however, is not eradicated. It persists inside memory B cells, a type of white blood cell that retains “memory” of an infection for future reference — except in this case, the cells are sabotaged into storing the actual virus. Memory B cells infected with EBV accumulate in lymphoid tissue and nerve tissue, and stay there for a lifetime.

This dormant state is referred to as the latent phase.9, 6, 12, 23Traditionally, people in the latent phase weren’t considered noninfectious. But with all the daycare workers, teachers, grandmas, and college students actively shedding the virus without knowing it, it’s become clear that someone can be very infectious without being ill. In fact, recent evidence supports that people often actively shed virus from tonsillar tissues without having significant symptoms.23

Either way, whether EBV is completely dormant or infectious without symptoms, the virus generally doesn’t cause any significant problems as long as immune system functions are robust. You can carry it for a whole lifetime and not know it — as most people do.

However, allow the immune system to become disrupted — by stress, poor diet, and other key factors I’ll explore below — and EBV can reactivate, causing symptoms similar to the mononucleosis, but much worse.4

Reactivated EBV Can Become Chronic

Chronic reactivated EBV is like mononucleosis from hell.

Symptoms of reactivated EBV include severe chronic fatigue, chronic achiness, chronic sore throat and irritation of mucous membranes, swollen lymph nodes, and a range of debilitating neurological symptoms. Symptoms can wax and wane for years. Severe cases can include evidence of liver dysfunction, immune suppression, and anemia.1

The most plausible explanation for why chronic reactivated EBV is so severe and unrelenting is that it’s not just EBV that’s at play.

This is where things get both interesting and complicated.

People often carry other herpesviruses in addition to EBV. The list includes Herpes simplex types 1 and 2 (oral and genital herpes), varicella-zoster virus (causing both chickenpox and shingles), cytomegalovirus (CMV), HHV-6 types a and b, HHV-7, and HHV-8.

Though they are all related, each of these viruses infects the body in a different way — therefore they cause slightly different symptom profiles. In important ways, they are all are remarkably common:

They stay dormant in tissues and can be reactivated just like EBV.

If disruption of a person’s immune functions allows reactivation of multiple herpesviruses at once, symptoms can be severe and highly variable.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

Many people with chronic Lyme diseasefibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome are found to have reactivation of EBV, along with other herpesviruses and a list of other microbes including Mycoplasma, Bartonella, Chlamydia, and new microbes added to the list every day.

This strongly suggests that reactivation of EBV is likely not EBV alone.

The Connections Between EBV and Chronic Illnesses Are Many

Scientists are just beginning to explore the link between chronic EBV and other chronic illnesses, but one of the most well-researched is EBV’s relationship with multiple sclerosis (MS). Many studies have defined a variety of different mechanisms by which the virus could initiate and perpetuate MS — not enough to define EBV as the sole cause of MS, but highly suggestive that it does play a role in the illness.10

Similarly, studies have shown high viral loads of active EBV in a high proportion of patients with a variety of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and autoimmune thyroiditis.14 Again, a strong link, but not enough to suggest absolute cause of EBV alone.

And that’s not the end of the multi-microbe connections.

Recent evidence has suggested that EBV and HHV-6a might together play a role in MS.29 MS has also been linked to a variety of different microbes including, but not limited to, Chlamydia pneumoniae,35, 37 Mycoplasma sp., Spherula insularis, and paramyxovirus.14, 36

Autoimmune diseases have also been linked to a variety of microbes, including EBV, but also additional herpesviruses; other viruses including Parvovirus; a protozoan called Toxoplasmosis; and bacteria including Mycoplasma, Yersinia, and others commonly associated with chronic Lyme disease.14

Often referred to as stealth pathogens, the microbes mentioned and many others share similar stealthy characteristics:

  • They have the ability to live inside cells.
  • They infect white blood cells and are carried throughout the body, especially to areas of inflammation.
  • They can persist in a dormant state.
  • They are master manipulators of the immune system.
  • They can exist in healthy people without causing illness.
  • They are present in all populations of the world.

The deeper you dig, the more connections you find between chronic illnesses and stealth microbes. But after a while, you begin to appreciate that it’s not as much the microbes causing problems as it is disruption of the host’s immune functions that allows those microbes to flourish.

In other words, a person could be harboring a variety of stealth microbes — EBV, CMV, HHV-7, Borrelia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, and others — and not be ill as long as their immune system functions are robust.

Let immune system functions falter, however, and like a pot boiling over on the stove, the microbes erupt and cause illness.

Chronic Immune Dysfunction Is Triggered by the Perfect Storm

I came to see chronic illness differently than most other physicians because of my personal struggle overcoming chronic Lyme disease.

My experience taught me that the microbes are always there — I had likely harbored mine since childhood. It’s not until a perfect storm of factors comes together to disrupt immune functions that a person becomes ill. For me, that perfect storm was caused primarily by years of chronic sleep deprivation associated with every-other-night obstetrics on-call-duty and eating a poor diet on the run, but there were other minor stress factors as well.

My recovery did not progress until I started addressing the underlying chronic immune dysfunction.

As I shifted my practice toward caring for individuals with chronic illness, I began to see similar patterns in my patients — not necessarily the same stress factors that I had experienced, but stress factors that disrupt immune functions just the same. I began cataloging them and, interestingly, I reached a limit of just 7 categories of stress factors that are associated with chronic illness.

As astounding as it may sound, I came to the conclusion that the causes of all chronic illnesses can be traced back to these 7 factors that I came to call System Disruptors. I’ve been testing this theory for more than 10 years and always find it to be reliable. I’ve also discovered solid scientific support for my theory.

The 7 System Disruptors are:

1. Poor diet. We live in a world saturated with artificially manipulated foods. Regular consumption of these foods disrupts all systems of the body.

2. Toxins. The modern world is saturated with artificial toxins. Toxins disrupt all healing systems of the body.

3. Emotional stress. Continually running from the proverbial tiger inhibits digestion, suppresses immune function, disrupts sleep, and sets the stage for chronic illness.

4. Physical stress. Cumulative trauma, excessive heat or cold causes damage to the body, but living a sedentary life can be just as harmful.

5. Oxidative stress. Every cell in the body is continually generating free radicals as a byproduct of energy production. Free radicals damage internal components of cells. Inflammation is also a type of free radical damage.

6. Artificial radiation. Normal background radiation from the sun, solar system, and the earth itself are now amplified sources of radiation that saturate the modern world.

7. Microbes. The effects from this system disruptor set the stage for chronic illness.

For every patient with chronic illness, I can always trace back to a perfect storm of factors that came together to cause the person’s illness. What type of chronic illness they ended up with depends on three factors:

  • The person’s genetics — which determines risk, but not whether an illness will occur
  • The variety of different low-grade stealth pathogens the person has collected through life
  • How System Disruptors contribute to immune dysfunction, which allows low grade pathogens with stealthy characteristics to flourish and upset the balance of the microbiome and homeostasis in the body

Diagnosing and Treating Chronic EBV Isn’t Black and White

To help identify chronic EBV, start by trying to rule out infectious mononucleosis. By definition, IM is an acute infection with EBV alone, and there are antiviral agents (such as acyclovir, ganciclovir, and vidarabine) that work extremely well for IM and other acute infections of herpes-type viruses, so it’s worth doing testing to define IM over reactivated EBV.

Testing for IM looks for antibodies to the virus; the presence of different types of antibodies can distinguish between IM and reactivated EBV. But testing for IM isn’t always straight-forward — mononucleosis-like syndromes can also occur with other herpesviruses (CMV, HHV-6), other viruses (typically adenoviruses), and a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii.26 In other words, many different viruses can cause viral syndromes similar to EBV.

If you have all the symptoms of chronic reactivated EBV, then the likelihood of EBV being present is quite high, along with other microbes.

As for treating chronic reactivated EBV, because there are antiviral agents that work well for IM, you might expect that chronic EBV would also respond to antivirals.

Unfortunately, antivirals don’t work for chronic EBV.

Scientists have sorted out the technical reason for this. Antiviral agents work by blocking DNA polymerase, an enzyme the virus uses to replicate inside cells. Latent or chronic EBV infection, however, does not require DNA polymerase for the virus to replicate — therefore, current antiviral agents are ineffective against chronic EBV infection.1

Other conventional therapies, including steroid therapy (prednisone) and immunosuppressive drugs, have been used to treat chronic EBV infection, but success has been limited.1These therapies can inhibit the destructive processes of a disrupted immune function, but they have no capacity to restore normal immune function.

Lots of researchers are also looking at vaccines against EBV. The problem is that characteristics of the virus vary greatly across different geographical areas, making it difficult to create a single vaccine.8

Other methods of eradicating EBV being contemplated by conventional medical science include: B-cell depletion with monoclonal antibodies (targeting EBV-infected B cells with immunoglobulins) and new types of antiviral drugs.11, 16, 20

Focusing all efforts on eradicating EBV, however, is short-sighted. The bottom line: The underlying problem is chronic immune dysfunction, and you will not start getting well until normal immune system functions are restored.

There’s A More Practical Approach to Regaining Wellness

Remember, EBV doesn’t cause problems unless immune system functions have been disrupted.1, 14, 20, 23 Therefore, any solution must address restoring normal immune system functions in order to suppress whatever microbes may be present and flourishing.

First and foremost is minimizing the 7 System Disruptors. Following an optimal diet and making some lifestyle modifications to promote a healing environment in the body is essential for overcoming chronic EBV or any other chronic illness.

Modern herbal therapy should be the cornerstone of any restorative approach. Herbal extracts have incredible abilities, including:

  • Reducing destructive inflammation
  • Enhancing natural killer cells and other aspects of the immune system necessary to control microbes like EBV
  • Balancing hormone systems in the body that have been disrupted by chronic illness
  • Suppressing stealth microbes directly to restore balance in the microbiome

While many herbs have been found to suppress EBV, EBV is rarely found in isolation — chronic immune dysfunction always allows a variety of low-grade stealth pathogens to flourish. Therefore, a comprehensive regimen of herbal extracts is necessary.

Some effective herbal extracts for restoring immune function, balancing the microbiome, and suppressing viruses such as EBV include:

Generally most people will respond to restorative solutions alone. Drug therapy is only necessary if severe or extreme illness is not responding to the restorative therapies. It is, however, important to maintain an ongoing working relationship with your medical provider during your entire recovery.

Ultimately, all of this is great news for those with chronic reactivated EBV: It means the power to take back control of your health and feel better is in your hands. By learning how to limit the System Disruptors in your life, you’ll start to strengthen your immune function so you can live in harmony with microbes like EBV.

_______________

**Comment**

Unfortunately, I had to learn about this through my daughter who had severe EBV that lingered and ultimately led to the removal of her tonsils as well as using LDI/LDA therapy:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/05/30/new-kids-on-the-block-ldaldi/

Being in Wisconsin, an epicenter for Lyme, our LLMD is also who we take our children to – just in case, God forbid, they should become infected.  Our LLMD believes, as Dr. Rawls, that immunoconfusion, or a perfect storm of events overwhelming the immune system, is behind many chronic diseases.  Retraining the immune system to recognize friend vs foe is behind LDA/LDI treatment and can often help many chronic conditions.  It certainly has helped my daughter, who is also hypothyroid, hypoglycemic, and suffers from severe endometriosis.  EBV nearly destroyed her liver.

I can attest to having to learn the importance of diet, hormones, stress, environmental toxins, and microbes.  It is crucial to find a practitioner(s) who is versed in this approach to tease out your imbalances through proper testing and clinical diagnosis.  As with Lyme, much testing isn’t helpful and requires an experienced eye and listening ear to help you uncover your personal pitfalls.  Most doctors are not trained in hormone therapy and with the chemically laden environment we live in, this is most unfortunate as many suffer from serious hormonal imbalances and mineral/vitamin deficiencies.  Doctors are taught to fear hormones when they are naturally occurring substances in the body that often need supplementing due to environmental factors.  I’m of course advocating for bioidential hormones – as close to nature as possible; however, for those of you suffering with endometriosis that makes your life unbearable, please read this unique approach which gave my daughter her life back:  https://www.theendocure.com/

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/04/11/diagnosed-with-ebv-had-lyme/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/10/lyme-or-fibromyalgia/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/03/28/combating-viruses/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/05/21/toxoplasmosis/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/04/17/mast-cell-activation-syndrome-lymemsids/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/14/lost-link-als-lyme/

__________________

REFERENCES
1. Cohen J. Optimal Treatment for Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus Disease. Pediatr Transplant. 2009 Jun; 13(4): 393–396.
2. Joo E et al. An Adult Case of Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus Infection with Interstitial Pneumonitis. Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Dec; 26(4): 466–469.
3. Kang M, Kief E. Epstein–Barr virus latent genes. Exp Mol Med. 2015 Jan; 47(1): e131.
4. Jha H, Pei Y, Robertson E. Epstein–Barr Virus: Diseases Linked to Infection and Transformation. Front Microbiol. 2016; 7: 1602.
5. Tsao S et al. The role of Epstein–Barr virus in epithelial malignancies. J Pathol. 2015 Jan; 235(2): 323–333.
6. Paschale M and Clerici P. Serological diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus infection: Problems and solutions. World J Virol. 2012 Feb 12; 1(1): 31–43.
7. Shen Y et al. Understanding the interplay between host immunity and Epstein-Barr virus in NPC patients. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2015 Mar; 4(3): e20.
8. Tzellos S and Farrell P. Epstein-Barr Virus Sequence Variation—Biology and Disease. Pathogens. 2012 Dec; 1(2): 156–175.
9. Iizasa H et al. Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-associated Gastric Carcinoma. Viruses. 2012 Dec; 4(12): 3420–3439.
10. Lassmann H et al. Epstein–Barr virus in the multiple sclerosis brain: a controversial issue—report on a focused workshop held in the Centre for Brain Research of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Brain. 2011 Sep; 134(9): 2772–2786.
11. Pender M and Burrows S. Epstein–Barr virus and multiple sclerosis: potential opportunities for immunotherapy. Clin Transl Immunology. 2014 Oct; 3(10): e27.
12. Stanfield B and Luftig M. Recent advances in understanding Epstein-Barr virus. Version 1. F1000Res. 2017; 6: 386.
13. Gru A et al. The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in T Cell and NK Cell Lymphomas: Time for a Reassessment. Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2015 Dec; 10(4): 456–467.
14. Lossius A et al. Epstein-Barr Virus in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis—Association and Causation. Viruses. 2012 Dec; 4(12): 3701–3730.
15. Rowe M, Fitzsimmons L, and Bell A. Epstein-Barr virus and Burkitt lymphoma. Chin J Cancer. 2014 Dec; 33(12): 609–619.
16. Martorelli D et al. Exploiting the Interplay between Innate and Adaptive Immunity to Improve Immunotherapeutic Strategies for Epstein-Barr-Virus-Driven Disorders. Clin Dev Immunol. 2012; 2012: 931952.
17. Houldcroft C and Kellam P. Host genetics of Epstein–Barr virus infection, latency and disease. Rev Med Virol. 2015 Mar; 25(2): 71–84.
18. Draborg AH, Duus K, and Houen G. Epstein-Barr Virus in Systemic Autoimmune Diseases. Clin Dev Immunol. 2013; 2013: 535738.
19. Rac J et al. Telomerase Activity Impacts on Epstein-Barr Virus Infection of AGS Cells. PLoS One. 2015; 10(4): e0123645.
20. Pender M. The Essential Role of Epstein-Barr Virus in the Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis. Neuroscientist. 2011 Aug; 17(4): 351–367.
21. Dittfeld A et al. A possible link between the Epstein-Barr virus infection and autoimmune thyroid disorders. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2016; 41(3): 297–301.
22. Chen XZ et al. Epstein–Barr Virus Infection and Gastric Cancer
A Systematic Review. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 May; 94(20): e792.
23. David A. Thorley-Lawson. EBV Persistence—Introducing the Virus. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2015; 390(Pt 1): 151–209.
24. Iwakiri D. Epstein-Barr Virus-Encoded RNAs: Key Molecules in Viral Pathogenesis. Cancers (Basel). 2014 Sep; 6(3): 1615–1630.
25. Dunmire SK, Hogquist KA, and Balfour HH. Infectious Mononucleosis. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2015; 390: 211–240.
26. Krupka JA et al. Infectious mononucleosis-like syndrome with high lymphocytosis and positive IgM EBV and CMV antibodies in a three-year-old girl. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2017;42(2):210-212.
27. Collin V, Flamand L. HHV-6A/B Integration and the Pathogenesis Associated with the Reactivation of Chromosomally Integrated HHV-6A/B. Viruses. 2017 Jun 26;9(7).
28. Warren-Gash C et al. Association between human herpesvirus infections and dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. 2017 Jun 23;7(6):e016522.
29. Fierz W. Multiple sclerosis: an example of pathogenic viral interaction? Virol J. 2017 Feb 28;14(1):42.
30.Enquist LW, Leib DA. Intrinsic and Innate Defenses of Neurons: Détente with the Herpesviruses. J Virol. 2016 Dec 16;91(1).
31. Hutt-Fletcher LM. The Long and Complicated Relationship between Epstein-Barr Virus and Epithelial Cells. J Virol. 2016 Dec 16;91(1).
32. Siddiquey MN et al. Anti-tumor effects of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid on Epstein-Barr virus-associated T cell and natural killer cell lymphoma. Cancer Sci. 2014 Jun;105(6):713-22.
33. Cekanaviciute E et al. Gut bacteria from multiple sclerosis patients modulate human T cells and exacerbate symptoms in mouse models. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Sep 11. pii: 201711235.
34. Berer K et al. Gut microbiota from multiple sclerosis patients enables spontaneous autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Sep 11. pii: 201711233.
35. Ivanova MV et al. Role of Chlamydia in Multiple Sclerosis. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2015 Sep;159(5):646-8.
36. Libbey JE, Cusick MF, Fujinami RS. Role of pathogens in multiple sclerosis. Int Rev Immunol. 2014 Jul-Aug;33(4):266-83.
37. Sriram S et al. Detection of chlamydial bodies and antigens in the central nervous system of patients with multiple sclerosis. J Infect Dis. 2005 Oct 1;192(7):1219-28. Epub 2005 Sep 2.
38. Buhner S. Herbal Antivirals, Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. Storey Publishing. Copyright 2013.

 

One Dose of Antibiotic for Lyme Disease in Rhode Island

**Please view my comment at end of article**

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170729/fighting-lyme-disease-in-ri-dose-of-antibiotic-without-prescription by Lynn Arditi  July 29, 2017

http://wpri.com/2017/08/01/expert-pharmacy-helps-combat-lyme-disease-doctors-not-required/  Channel 12 WPRI Eyewitness News video

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — A family-owned pharmacy in this seaside town recently began dispensing antibiotics to people without prescriptions to reduce the risk of developing Lyme disease.

Green Line Apothecary announced in late June that it is offering the single 200-mg prophylactic dose of doxycycline to adults within 72 hours of a deer tick bite if they meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria for infection risk.

Proponents of the program — reportedly the first of its kind in the country — say it serves an important public health need by expanding timely access to treatment that could prevent more people from developing the potentially debilitating disease. And they hope it will become a national model.

But experts caution that expanding access to antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease may do more harm than good. Most people who will get the preventative treatment, they say, would likely never have developed Lyme disease. For those who are infected, some doctors worry a prophylactic dose may not be enough to prevent the patient from getting sick. And misuse or overuse of antibiotics can contribute to another major public health problem: antibiotic resistance.

The pharmacy program follows passage of legislation by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2016 that expands pharmacists’ role to include initiation of drug therapies under so-called collaborative practice agreements.

The state health department’s approval of the Green Line program comes amid growing public concern over Lyme disease, which each year is diagnosed in roughly 30,000 people in the country, 95 percent of them in 14 states including Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, Rhode Island reported 904 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease, the 11th-highest rate in the country, according to the CDC.

“As a state we are always looking at ways to be proactive in reducing the incidence of Lyme disease,″ said Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the state health director who, on June 12, signed a two-year collaborative practice agreement with Green Line. The pharmacy program, she said, is “one of those approaches.”

Washington County is Rhode Island’s ground zero for Lyme disease, with nearly twice the statewide rate, state health data show.

“Everybody knows someone who has been impacted by Lyme,” said Anita N. Jacobson, a pharmacist and clinical associate professor at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy.

Christina Procaccianti, a pharmacist and Green Line’s owner, is one of those people. The vintage-style pharmacy and soda fountain opened in 2016 on Main Street in Wakefield.

Procaccianti, 34, contracted Lyme disease in 2011, while she was pregnant. After an eight-week course of antibiotics, she said, she made a full recovery and delivered a healthy baby girl. “I know how awful Lyme is,” she said.

“If we can prevent it for anybody,” she said, the effort will be a success.

The program kicked off June 22 with a poster display, informational fliers and offers of free “Lime Rickey’s for Lyme Disease.”

Peter Schunke was among the first to seek treatment. That morning, his wife, Elizabeth, had plucked a “pin-top size” tick from his back left shoulder. Schunke, 72, had contracted Lyme disease years ago, so he and his wife headed to the pharmacy.

They hadn’t saved the tick. Procaccianti, the pharmacist and owner, showed Peter Schunke a chart with different types and sizes of ticks for identification. Then she asked him a series of questions. He signed consent forms, handed her his insurance card and walked out with two 100-mg doxycycline pills.

Later, Elizabeth and Peter Schunke said the tick looked like the smallest of the four pictured on a poster displayed at the pharmacy.

“I’m pretty sure it was not engorged,” Peter said, “because it was so tiny.”

The smallest on the poster — the tick larvae — would not meet the CDC guidelines for treatment.

If he had pointed to the tick larvae “we wouldn’t have given [doxycycline] to him,″ Procaccianti, the pharmacist said. “He pointed to a tick that we positively identify as fitting the criteria. … Every single checkpoint on his questionnaire is checked off.”

She added: “The problem with these deer ticks is that they’re so micro tiny that an engorged tick may not even look engorged.”

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks.

Early signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue and, in some cases, a characteristic red rash, often shaped like a ring, called erythema migrans. But about 20 percent to 30 percent of those infected with Lyme disease never develop the telltale rash. Later symptoms can include severe headaches, neck stiffness, arthritis, joint pain, facial palsy and problems with short-term memory, among others.

Though the Infectious Disease Society of America “does not generally recommend” antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease even after a deer tick bite, in highly endemic areas, such as Rhode Island, a 200-mg dose of doxycycline “may be offered to adult patients” who meet their criteria, the CDC website states. (The CDC has separate criteria and dosages for children 8 years or older.)

“We don’t recommend it but we offer it,″ said Dr. Timothy P. Flanigan, medical director of The Lifespan Lyme Disease Center at Newport Hospital.

The treatment’s effectiveness, he said, is based primarily on a single study. “It’s not wonderful evidence, but it is partial evidence,” he said. “Patients deserve to know the pros and cons and we let patients know that, and we let them make a decision.”

If someone gets bitten by a deer tick on a Friday afternoon or a weekend, Flanigan said, they may not be able to get an appointment to see their doctor within the critical 72-hour window. And the program could reduce costly emergency department visits.

“I think this is a good use of a pharmacy-based clinic,” Flanigan said.

The largest study of doxycycline as a prophylactic treatment to prevent Lyme disease was published in 2001 in The New England Journal of Medicine. Led by Dr. Robert B. Nadelman, an infectious disease specialist, researchers found that among the subjects treated with doxycycline within 72 hours of a deer tick bite, only one developed the erythema migrans rash at the site of the deer tick bite compared with eight who received a placebo.

The Nadelman study concluded that a single 200-mg dose of doxycycline — twice the average daily dose to prevent malaria — given within 72 hours after a deer tick bite can prevent the development of Lyme disease.

The prophylactic doxycycline treatment, the study concluded, could reduce the risk of developing Lyme disease by 87 percent.

To be eligible for the treatment, however, the CDC requires the tick be positively identified as a deer tick and have been attached for 36 hours, “based on the degree of engorgement.”

If every person treated meets all of the CDC criteria, Jacobson said, statistically they would only need to treat 11 people in order to prevent one case of Lyme disease.

But that’s a big “if.” Can patients be expected to properly identify the offending insect from a tick-photo lineup? And how would they know if it had been attached for 36 hours?

Outside of a research study, the conditions to determine whether all of those seeking the prophylactic treatment qualify are “almost non-existent,” said Dr. Rade B. Vukmir, a spokesman for The American College of Emergency Physicians.

Ticks which can transmit Lyme disease are about the size of a poppy seed. They’re so small that “people almost never see the tick,″ Vukmir said. “And the ticks they do see are typically not deer ticks.″

Vukmir practices medicine in Pennsylvania, which, in 2015, the CDC reports had the highest-rate of Lyme disease cases in the country.

Even in areas that are endemic for Lyme disease, he said, the likelihood of a tick bite transmitting the infection is so low — between 3 percent and 5 percent — that about 50 people would need to be treated with the prophylactic antibiotic to prevent one person from developing the disease. “You’re treating a lot of people without any benefit.”

And overuse of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance. At least 2 million people in the U.S. each year become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of those infections, according to the CDC.

“If you’re that one person who benefited, you’d say absolutely that’s important to me,″ Vukmir said. ”[But] from the public health level there would really not be any way to justify that treatment.”

Laboratory tests have demonstrated that the antibiotics doxycycline and amoxicillin also “can induce a persistent form of the bacteria that are more tolerant to treatment,″ Dr. Ying Zhang, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It’s also not known whether a 200-mg dose of doxycycline is always enough to prevent Lyme disease, Zhang said. So someone may still become infected and get sick, he said, but the antibiotic could cause their blood to test negative for Lyme, making diagnosis more difficult.

Concerns about the pharmacy-based program recently prompted Rhode Island’s health director to take another look at the guidelines.

Last week, Alexander-Scott said she was considering modifying the collaborative practice agreement to require people seeking treatment at Green Line to bring in the tick or a photo of it to improve proper identification. Over the next two years, she said, state health officials will “collect and analyze data to see if this is a good way to address our challenges and diseases in our state.”

URI’s Jacobson, a past-president of the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association who led the effort to permit pharmacists to initiate drug treatments, said Green Line’s pharmacists are following the CDC protocol “to the letter.”

“If anything, I think we are improving antibiotic usage,” Jacobson said, “because the other way is you just call the doctor and say, ‘I got bitten by a tick.’ If it’s a Friday night and it’s an on-call doctor, what do they do?”

The doctor, she said, might just call in a prescription.

As of Friday, Green Line had treated 31 people and declined to treat another 27, most because the 72-hour window had already past, Procaccianti said. The pharmacy also last week began requiring that people bring in the tick or a photo of it to be eligible for treatment, she said.

“We don’t want to unnecessarily give anybody an antibiotic,” she said, “so we’re really being very careful making sure everybody meets the criteria.”

Dr. Fredric J. Silverblatt, an infectious disease specialist and head of South County Hospital’s Lyme clinic, is the prescribing physician for the Green Line program.

Silverblatt, who lives in a wooded area, said he has contracted Lyme disease “three, four times.” The last time, he developed encephalitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the brain, and was hospitalized for several weeks. He now keeps a bottle of doxycycline in his medicine cabinet.

“If I pull a tick off,” he said, “I will take 200 milligrams.”

He said he offers the same prophylactic treatment to some of his patients.

Clinical studies published to date show “no evidence” that anyone treated prophylactically with doxycycline has developed Lyme disease six months to three years after treatment, Silverblatt said, and “that’s comforting.”

However, he said, overuse of antibiotics remains “a valid concern.”

“The chance that a person who has been bitten by a tick will actually get Lyme disease is between 3 percent and 5 percent,″ he said. “So the question can be raised: Is this really worthwhile?”

That depends, he reasoned, if you’re one of the “unlucky 5 percent.”

Prevention tips:

— Wear long pants and tuck pant legs into socks

— Spray clothing, shoes and camping gear with the insecticide permethrin, which kills ticks on contact.

— Check your entire body thoroughly for ticks, especially the back of your knees, waistband, armpits or any other constricted places.

— Use sticky duct tape to remove tick larvae from you or your dog before they bite.

— If you find an attached tick, remove it immediately. Once attached, ticks do not wash off in the shower.

How to remove an attached tick:

— Using fine-tipped tweezers grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

— Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin.

— Clean bite area, hands and tweezers with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

— To save the tick for identification, place it in a sealed bag or wrap it in scotch tape.

— Take a photo of the tick and send it online to TickSpotters.

— Testing of individual ticks generally is not useful, the CDC states, because even if the test shows that the tick contained disease-causing organisms, that does not necessarily mean that you have been infected.

— If you develop symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

Source: CDC; tickencounter.org

 **Comment**
This article reminds me of Bull Sharks which can’t see worth a crap so they hunt in shallow murky waters inadvertently biting people they mistakenly think are food.
1) As Dr. Zhang apty stated, there is no proof whatsoever that 1 pill of doxy cures Lyme:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/03/24/one-pill-of-doxy-only-reduces-prevalence-of-rash-not-lyme-disease/
2)  Zhang’s comment about doxy throwing borrelia into a more persistent form (round body forms) is something the CDC/NIH/IDSA isn’t acknowledging at all.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21753890#  I guess since a researcher outside The Cabal discovered this – it is tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.
The bull sharks continue to swim in murky waters – blind as bats.
3) Once a person takes antibiotics, LD may not be picked up on future testing.  This will definitely present problems.
4)  The EM rash is a poor indicator of Lyme Disease.  Just how poor?
Rashes-larger-blog
5)  The “two magic pills approach” gives patients and doctors a false sense of security.
6)  The whole “tick of a certain size,” and “72 hours” is more murkiness.  WHY?  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/04/14/transmission-time-for-lymemsids-infection/  People have jumped right to 3rd stage Lyme (is in the central nervous system) within hours.  “Ticks of a certain size” omits the fact that ticks often partially feed, drop off, and then have pathogens already in their salivary glands allowing a much quicker transmission time – regardless of size.
The Bull sharks continue to want to simplify this.
7)  There is NOTHING simple about Lyme Disease.  The borrelia of Lyme is one of the most complex organisms on the planet and they continue to treat it similarly to the common cold, even though it persists, morphs, and hides.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/
8)  Due to borrelia’s pleomorphism and ability to hide stealthily in the body undetected, one must consider that if those 1-2 pills don’t do the trick, it very well might set the patient up for dementia/Alzheimer’s later on:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/08/09/dr-paul-duray-research-fellowship-foundation-some-great-research-being-done-on-lyme-disease/
https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/06/03/borrelia-hiding-in-worms-causing-chronic-brain-diseases/  Doxy will NOT kill nematodes (worms).  Ticks often have multiple parasites within them – passing them onto people.
**Refuse to swim in murky waters with bull sharks and educate those around you so they can see clearly**

 

A Bug for Alzheimer’s?

https://aeon.co/essays/how-microbial-infections-might-cause-alzheimers-disease

Please read the article above, written by Melinda Wenner Moyer, edited by Pam Weintraub.

A brief summary:

Robert Moir, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, believes that beta-amyloid, a key player in Alzheimer’s, might be a good guy who is actually protecting the brain from pathogens.

This idea is coming from numerous corners of the world and has been labeled ‘pathogen hypothesis.’ Others pointing this out are pathologist Alan MacDonald, neuropathologist Judith Miklossy, and microbiologist Tom Grier.

Moir has published mouse studies showing that their brains create amyloid plaques within hours of contracting infections and they actually kill pathogens.

This observation flies in the face of accepted dogma about beta-amyloid and it is rarely discussed in AD groups.

A meta-analysis of 25 published studies has shown that infected folks are 10 times more likely to develop AD, leading international researchers to co-sign an editorial begging others to consider pathogens in relation to AD.

But, the cabal isn’t having it. Moir’s 2016 paper was rejected six times without even a review before finally getting the nod.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/13/lyme-science-owned-by-good-ol-boys/

The author reminds the reader that infections in the brain are nothing new and a short list of them includes: Syphillis, Herpes simplex encephalitis, tick borne disease, HIV, Toxoplasma gondii, Chlamydia pneumoniae, HSV-1, and Zika.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/10/bugs-causing-alzheimers/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/06/03/borrelia-hiding-in-worms-causing-chronic-brain-diseases/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/08/09/dr-paul-duray-research-fellowship-foundation-some-great-research-being-done-on-lyme-disease/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-michael-conner/man-diagnosed-with-als-di_b_8891262.html

The journalist also points out that pathogen causation is not proven and that Alzheimer’s patients might be prone to infection but that some studies suggest the infections came first. She also says that the majority of folks suggesting the ‘pathogen hypothesis’ do not feel the infections work alone but rather can cause a domino effect that over time can accumulate causing AD.

And lastly, if beta-amyloid causes AD then removing these plaques should get rid of symptoms, but when 145 beta-amyloid-reducing drugs were tested, not one slowed progression of the disease.

Once again, proving a science cabal exists, Moir recounts how at a Korean conference, attendees were asked to raised hands if they thought infections played a part in AD and a majority of hands went up.

“Ten years ago, it would have been four guys in a corner, all huddled together, not talking to anyone else, Moir says.

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/01/02/fake-science/

Isn’t that sad?

Dr. Zubcevik Challenges TBI Standard of Care

http://www.mvtimes.com/2016/07/13/visiting-physician-sheds-new-light-lyme-disease/

Dr. Nevena Zubcevik, attending physician at Harvard Medical School and co-director of Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, http://spauldingrehab.org/research-and-clinical-trials/lyme-disease/, recently spoke at a weekly meeting of clinicians, which was open to the public at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

In standing room only, Zubcevic admonished that singer/actor Kris Kristofferson’s recent cure of dementia, once diagnosed and properly treated for Lyme Disease, should be a lesson for medical professionals.  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/06/09/alzheimers-byproduct-of-infection/.  She also stated that children present differently than adults, with headache being the most common symptom but to get them tested if they are acting out, experiencing mood issues, irritability, and fatigue.  (They need to be tested; however, with sensitive testing that Lyme Literate Doctors – LLMD’s use.  One lab that offers these tests is Igenex Labs in CA.  The best way to get good information is to contact a Lyme Support Group in your state.  They have all the information regarding LLMD’s, testing, costs, and educational materials.)

She explained of a haunting case of a young male institutionalized for schizophrenia. After proper testing for Lyme Disease, he started daily antibiotics and within six months he was normal.

For more information on how borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme Disease, and various coinfections can and often do affect the brain see: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/10/18/psychiatric-lymemsids/ .  Also, see Amy Hilfiger’s story: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/07/01/ally-hilfiger-on-fox-5-ny/, as well as how Toxoplasmosis can affect the brain: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/05/21/toxoplasmosis/.

She also debunked myths.

*Studies show you can get Anaplasmosis in 15 minutes from tick attachment, 10 minutes for Powassan virus, and that it is UNKNOWN how long it takes for the various strains of borrelia (LD). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=296pVc5Zbxw&index=2&list=UUTXTo-yWGZkRwrQ9X6X7E0A

*Doxycycline CAN be given to children, infants, and pregnant women.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26680308  (no correlation between the use of doxycycline and teratogenic effects during pregnancy or dental staining in children was found)

*A two-day course of Doxy has little to no prophylactic value, and that the proper course is 100-200mg twice a day for 20 days, regardless of engorgement time.

*The current testing misses 69 out of 100 patients who have LD, and doesn’t pick up borrelia miyamotoi at all, not to mention other strains. Miyamotoi is prevalent in Massachusetts.

*The “classic” bullseye rash only happens 20% of the time and when it does present can look like a spider bite or bruise.

*Patients often have coinfections which tests do not pick up. These coinfections make patient cases extremely difficult and complex.

She also stated that borrelia can go into tissue, travel in the bloodstream and is twice the speed of a white blood cell which means it can swim against the flow of blood and evade the white cell by quickly burrowing into tissue, thereby avoiding the immune system.

She stated that having LD is a body-wide toxic war – leaving the patient feeling miserable, and that while she is fairly new to this field, she sees no controversy – that animal studies clearly show persistence after treatment and that human tests do too.

She mentions the work of Dr. Ying Zhang of Johns Hopkins Lyme Center and that his work has indicated that current treatments may not clear persisters. Due to this research she feels a combination of several antibiotics, particularly new combinations, are promising.

Zubcevik found that a patient with chronic LD, when given a PET scan, showed blue and purple, indicating atrophy, whereas after six months of IV antibiotics, presented with yellow and green, indicating metabolically active regions.

Zubcevik has patients who have been ignored, beaten down, and who have lost the will to live. They show signs of post-traumatic stress and have destroyed marriages often leaving them alone. They break down crying with she tells them she believes them.

Babesia Cure?

http://news.yale.edu/2016/06/06/combination-therapy-cures-tick-borne-illness-mice

Yale researchers have found that combining atovaquone and ELQ-334, at low doses, cleared Babesia in mice and prevented recurrence up to 122 days.

ELQ stands for Endochin like quinolone and is a preclinical candidate that targets the liver and blood stages of malarial organisms.

http://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2875-13-339  It’s been known since 1948 that Endochin has anti-malarial properties; however, it has proven to be ineffective in vivo against human malaria.  Recent advances have suggested revisiting previously abandoned lead molecules to be possible viable anti-malarial drug candidates.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23019377  ELQ-271 and ELQ-316 are effective against acute and latent toxoplasmosis.

When I asked my pharmacist about the ELQ’s, he said he couldn’t find anything about the manufacturing process, and that as far as side effects, there won’t be a much information available until ELQ-334 proceeds further in the approval process. Sometimes side effects don’t show up until well after drugs have been on the market.  He also stated that there were only 800 cases of neuropathy from 1998-2013 reported to the FDA for quinolines.  

While I could be wrong, Endochin like quinolone could possibly mean it is made with fluoride.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/18/antibiotics-to-avoid–the-plague-due-to-fdas-oversight-failure.aspx  Quinolones are made with fluoride, which enables them to penetrate into tissue, including your brain.  This ability is what makes them valuable against tick borne infections.

Omniflox, Raxar, Trovan, Zagam, and Tequin have all been banned due to their side effects; however, Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, and Floxin continue to be prescribed.

In Dr. Cohen’s 2001 study, the following side effects were documented:

*Nervous system symptoms occurred in 91 percent of patients (pain, tingling and numbness, dizziness, malaise, weakness, headaches, anxiety and panic, loss of memory, psychosis)
*Musculoskeletal symptoms in 73 percent of patients (tendon ruptures, tendonitis, weakness, joint swelling)
*Sensory symptoms in 42 percent of patients (tinnitus, altered visual, olfactory, and auditory function)
*Cardiovascular symptoms in 36 percent of patients (tachycardia, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations)
*Skin reactions in 29 percent of patients (rashes, hair loss, sweating, intolerance to heat or cold)
*Gastrointestinal symptoms in 18 percent of patients (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
A comprehensive list of reactions can be found at Dr. Cohen’s site Medication Sense.

According to Dr. Mercola, quinolones are too often prescribed for minor problems such as sinus, bladder, and prostate infections. He feels these super-antibiotics should be used as a last line of defense.

 

Be armed with facts to make an informed decision about these antibiotics with your LLMD (Lyme literate doctor).  One of the most experienced LLMD’s in Wisconsin states that he has used quinolones for over 20 years without tendon rupture.  It’s important to notify your doctor immediately if you notice symptoms such as tendon pain or anything else that doesn’t seem right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasma-gondii-660x380

Toxoplasma gondii,

by AJ Cann http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/26/mind-bending-parasite-permanently-quells-cat-fear-in-mice/

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/epi.html Toxoplasmosis is caused by a common protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and is the leading cause of death attributed to food borne illness in the U.S. More than 60 million carry it but are asymptomatic. It is also on the of the CDC’s “Neglected Parasitic Infections,” and has been targeted for public health action.

Transmission:  food (undercooked contaminated meat, or knives, utensils, cutting boards, or other foods that had contact with contaminated meat), congenitally (mother to infant), and in blood transfusions, and organ transplants. Sexual transmission is theorized.  However, cats, the only known hosts, play an important role, by eating infected rodents, birds, or other small animals and shedding oocysts in their feces up to 3 weeks after infection. An infected cat contaminates the litter box and/or the soil or water if it goes outside. Transmission to humans occurs after accidental ingestion. In the human host, the parasites form tissue cysts in skeletal muscle, myocardium, brain, and eyes, and may remain for the life of the host, and can reactivate when the immune system is compromised.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16457490  There is evidence of coinfection of Toxoplasmosis with Lyme Disease. This particular patient was initially diagnosed with MS and had symptoms of clumsiness and weakness of the right extremities, and years later was also diagnosed with LD (borrelia). Toxoplasmosis is significant in people who are immuno-suppressed, and Lyme Disease will trigger a previous asymptomatic case.

http://chronic-lyme-disease-solutions.com/Toxoplasmosis.html  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/basics/symptoms/con-20025859

Symptoms: body aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, confusion, seizures, coordination problems, fever, lung problems, blurred vision, encephalitis, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been linked with anti-social, aggressive, and jealous behavior in men, and promiscuity in women. Children born with it may develop hearing loss, mental disability, blindness, and even death.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/308873/  Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky and British groups say that Toxoplasmosis in lab rats changes the wiring in their brains which can take away their fear response, drawing them to their number one predator — cats. Years ago Czech scientist, Jarosav Flegr, noticed reckless traits in his own behavior which included crossing the street in the middle of dense traffic and openly scorning the Communists who ruled his native Czechoslovakia. He accidentally discovered he had the parasite when he was asked to donate blood to test a diagnostic kit for Toxo. He discovered that the French have infection rates as high as 55%, due to their desire for steak prepared saignant, which literally means, “bleeding,” while Americans have a 10-20% infection rate. Neurobiologist Ajai Vyas found Toxo cysts in rat testicles and semen and that the protozoan then moves into the female womb, typically infecting 60% of pups, then heads to her brain to affect her behaviors eventually getting back to the cat. This leads to the possibility of sexual transmission in humans. The research also found that 75% of the females preferred the infected males. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torry points out that schizophrenia rose in prevalence in the latter half of the 18th century just when people in London and Paris started keeping cats as pets. He believes that 75% of schizophrenia is associated with infections, with Toxo a significant portion.

Once a human becomes infected the parasite needs to get back into the cat, the only place where it sexually reproduces. Due to the impoverished Soviet economy, Flegr gave personality tests and computer-based tests to assess reaction times to infected and non infected Czech students. His findings were so strange he tested then civilian and military populations. He found: infected men wore rumpled old clothes, had fewer friends, and were more hesitant, while infected women wore expensive, designer brands, had more friends, and were extremely trusting – doing what they were told. Both had slower reaction times, less attentiveness, an abnormal fear response, and were two and a half more times more likely to be in traffic accidents. Two Turkish studies have replicated the traffic accident finding. He also also found that 12 of 44 schizophrenia patients had reduced gray matter, with the decrease occurring almost exclusively in those who tested positive for Toxoplasmosis.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295012.php?trendmd-shared=0  Medical News Today reported on a study claiming the parasite is responsible for around a fifth of schizophrenia cases. Now, new research by Johns Hopkins provides further evidence of this association after reviewing two previous studies which identified a link between cat ownership in childhood and development of schizophrenia and other mental disorders later in life and then  comparing them with the results of a 1982 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) questionnaire.  The questionnaire revealed that around 50% of individuals who had a cat as a family pet during childhood were diagnosed with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses later in life, compared with 42% who did not have a cat during childhood. 

T. gondii may be the culprit. 

Researchers at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands conducted a meta-analysis of more than 50 studies that established a link between T. gondii and increased risk of schizophrenia.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247346.php   Women carrying IgG antibodies to Toxo when giving birth have a higher risk of self-harm or suicide later on, especially if antibody levels are high.

Diagnosis:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20025859 Serology to check for antibodies to the parasite, although tissue cysts may be observed through stained biopsy. The CDC recommends all positive results be confirmed by a specialty lab for Toxoplasmosis. In some cases if testing is done too soon, there will be a false negative, and it would be wise to consider retesting later to give the body a chance to produce antibodies. A positive means you are actively infected or that you are asymptomatic. Congenital cases are found using molecular methods such as PCR or with an ultrasound scan that reveals hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain). A negative ultrasound does NOT rule out infection.

Please see your health practitioner for Treatment

Treatment: Healthy people keep the organism in check and do not require treatment; however, if you are also fighting MSIDS, you should consider this organism in your treatment picture.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/toxoplasmosis/basics/treatment/con-20025859
Pyrimethamine (Daraprim), a malarial drug is the typical drug of choice, which may prevent your ability to absorb the B vitamin, folate, necessitating supplementation. In conjunction, Sulfadiazine is used, with Clindamycin (Cleocin) as an alternative. Those with HIV/AIDS may need to take these medications for life or until the CD4 remains high for 3-6 months. Spiramycin, an experimental drug in the U.S., is used in Europe to reduce a baby’s risk of neurological problems and may be obtained from the FDA.

Similarly to borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme Disease, once the parasite is in brain cells; however, antibiotics cannot kill off the thick-walled cysts.

Prevention: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/basics/prevention/con-20025859

*Wear gloves when you garden or handle soil and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.
*Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat.
*Wash kitchen utensils thoroughly. After preparing raw meat, wash cutting boards, knives and other utensils in hot, soapy water to prevent cross contamination of other foods. Wash your hands after handling raw meat.
*Wash all fruits and vegetables. Scrub fresh fruits and vegetables, especially if you plan to eat them raw. Remove peels when possible, but only after washing.
*Don’t drink unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products may contain toxoplasma parasites.
*Cover children’s sandboxes. If you have a sandbox, cover it when your children aren’t playing in it to keep cats from using it as a litter box.

If you’re pregnant or otherwise at risk of toxoplasmosis or its complications, take these steps to protect yourself:
*Help your cat stay healthy. Keep your cat indoors and feed it dry or canned cat food, not raw meat. Cats can become infected after eating infected prey or undercooked meat that contains the parasite.
*Avoid stray cats or kittens. Although all stray animals need good homes, it’s best to let someone else adopt them. Most cats don’t show signs of T. gondii infection, and although they can be tested for toxoplasmosis, it may take up to a month to get the results.
*Have someone else clean your cat’s litter box. If that’s not possible, wear gloves and a face mask to change the litter. Then wash your hands well. Change the litter daily so that excreted cysts don’t have time to become infectious.