Archive for the ‘Transmission’ Category

Can I Catch Lyme Disease Without a Tick Bite? 3 Alternative Ways of Transmission

Can I Catch Lyme Disease Without A Tick Bite? 3 Alternative Ways Of Transmission

As awareness of Lyme disease as a public health threat increases, so does the concern around its transmission and treatment. People are starting to realise the very real danger of Lyme infection, and they have a lot of questions, especially around alternative ways Lyme disease is transmitted.

Understanding the basics of Lyme transmission, diagnosis and treatment can go a long way in helping allay fears around this increasingly common disease. Let’s break down some of the most popular questions people have about Lyme disease.

How do you catch Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. It is typically transmitted to humans by Ixodes ticks, also known as black-legged or deer ticks. When ticks feed on rodents, other small mammals or certain birds that are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the ticks themselves become infected. When a tick carrying Borrelia burgdorferi bites a human, the bacterium spreads from the tick to the bitten human, leading to Lyme disease.

Can you catch Lyme disease without a tick bite?

Although far less common than tick bites, there are some additional ways that Lyme is transmitted. Here are three alternative ways of transmission:

  1. During pregnancy

There is some evidence that Lyme disease can spread from a woman who is pregnant to her placenta, leading to potential complications. However, it appears that these problems can be avoided when the Lyme-infected mother receives antibiotic treatment for her Lyme disease. Lyme disease has not been found to be transmitted through breast milk.

  1. Through a blood transfusion

Scientists have determined that the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease can live in the blood of an actively infected person even after it has been drawn and placed in storage. Although there are no known cases of Lyme infection through a blood transfusion, a person with Lyme disease who is receiving treatment should not give blood. After antibiotic treatment has been completed, however, Lyme patients may be eligible blood donors.

  1. During sex

Scientists are very much at odds over whether Lyme disease can be transmitted sexually. While some research indicates that Lyme bacteria may be passed from person to person during sex, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that there is no credible evidence supporting the claim that Lyme disease can be transmitted through sexual contact.

People being treated for Lyme disease may not be eligible for blood donation.

What should you do if you’ve been bitten by a tick?

Because tick bites are the main way that Lyme disease is transmitted, taking precautions to avoid being bitten can be your first line of defence. Some of the ways to protect yourself from ticks are:

  • Avoid wooded areas, long grass, fallen logs and other tick habitats.
  • If you’re going to be in an area where you may be exposed to ticks, dress protectively. Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt and long trousers tucked into your socks. If you have long hair, pull it back.
  • Use tick repellent. Active ingredients that have been shown to repel ticks include DEET, picaridin and lemon eucalyptus.
  • Check for ticks periodically while outdoors, and take a shower as soon as you get home.

If you’ve been bitten by a tick, do your best to remain calm. Avoid methods like smearing Vaseline on the tick or burning it with a match, as neither of these works to remove the tick. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Take care to avoid squeezing or squashing the tick.
  • Using a tweezers with a fine point or a special tool designed to remove ticks, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible.
  • Steadily and firmly pull the tick straight out.
  • Once the tick is out, disinfect the bite area and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Place the tick in a small bottle or plastic bag. If it’s still alive (which is preferable for identification purposes), add a small green leaf or damp tissue to the container.
  • Explore your options for having the tick tested.

    How do you know if you have Lyme disease?

    After you’ve been bitten for a tick, it’s important to watch for symptoms of Lyme disease so you can seek treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of early Lyme disease include:

    • An expanding red rash that sometimes resembles a bullseye or target
    • Headaches and neck stiffness
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Joint pain and swelling
    • Weakness or paralysis of facial muscles
    • Lightheadedness or fainting
    • Heart palpitations or chest pain

    Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any or all of these symptoms of Lyme disease. The sooner the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

    Knowing you’re at risk for Lyme disease can be scary, especially when the disease seems to be spreading so rapidly. But arming yourself with knowledge about Lyme disease and the different ways it’s transmitted can help you be more aware of what you need to do to protect yourself.



The same CDC that is spreading misinformation about COVID-19 has been spreading misinformation about Lyme/MSIDS for 40 years.  

A nurse uncovered 33 years of congenital transmission in the research:

A dermatologist from South American took it upon himself to document evidence for sexual transmission:

A gynecologist‘s perspective:

My story – initially symptoms were all gynecological (I get ZERO funding from anything I do & no reason to lie):

A recent study showing strong evidence for sexual/congenital transmission:

Pilot study demonstrates sexual transmission:

Phd’s, with a specialty in cell-wall deficient form of Bb, believes Lyme is sexually transmitted:

A microbiologist’s perspective:



Bartonella Rochalimae and Canine Heart Infections

Bartonella rochalimae and Canine Heart Infections

Cute Dog
Image by Chen Vision, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In a recently published paper, NC State researchers looked at 18 dogs infected with a strain of the bacteria Bartonella called Bartonella rochalimae. They documented the health effects of the bacteria, which included infectious endocarditis – an inflammation of the heart’s inner lining and valves – as well as more general chronic illness. The work is further evidence of the connection between B. rochalimae and both endocarditis and chronic health effects in dogs and may have implications for human health. Lead author Ed Breitschwerdt, Melanie S. Steele Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Bartonella expert, sat down with The Abstract to answer some questions about the new findings.

The Abstract (TA): It looks as though the dogs in the study show evidence that this particular strain is associated not just with infectious endocarditis (IE), but also with the persistent health problems we see with infections from more common Bartonella (B. henselae, etc) species?

Breitschwerdt: That is correct. The association with endocarditis was very recent as well. So this manuscript provides further support for this species as a pathogen in dogs and humans.

Bartonella is now a well-recognized cause of what was historically culture-negative endocarditis; that is, patients (dogs and humans) with echocardiographic evidence of endocarditis and no bacterial growth using conventional blood cultures.

TA: How many strains of Bartonella have been identified to date? How is B. rochalimae different from other strains of Bartonella? Do different types of fleas or insect vectors carry particular strains, is it geography-based, or is it just luck of the draw?

Breitschwerdt: We are currently at around 40 named Bartonella species or subspecies, 10 of which have caused IE in a dog or human. Unfortunately, we have very little information in veterinary or human medicine regarding potential differences in how we should be most effectively diagnosing and treating specific Bartonella species or subspecies. Thus, most diagnostic and treatment considerations are based upon experiences with the most common Bartonella species (Bartonella henselae) that infect dogs and humans.

The genus Bartonella is unique among vector borne pathogens in the context of the wide spectrum of arthropod vectors that are known or suspected to transmit these bacteria. Yes, there are definitive geographical localizations, such as Bartonella bacilliformis, transmitted by a specific sandfly species in the mountainous Andes in Peru and Ecuador.

Alternatively, Bartonella henselae is transmitted to cats by a specific flea species throughout much of the world. Rodents and small mammals are frequently infected with specific Bartonella species in specific geographic locations by an evolutionarily adapted flea species that tends to selectively infest specific hosts or a narrow host range.

Most recently bats, infected by bat flies, have become another important reservoir for newly discovered Bartonella species. Importantly, a bat-associated Bartonella species (Candidatus Bartonella mayotenensis) was first identified as a cause of culture-negative endocarditis in a patient at the Mayo Clinic by amplification and sequencing of the bacterial DNA from the patient’s heart valve. It was several years later when bats were found to be reservoirs for this new species.

TA: Are there strains of Bartonella that aren’t associated with what we think of when we think of bartonellosis: the mimicking of chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis, migraines, seizures, etc?

Breitschwerdt: The diagnosis of infection with a Bartonella species remains challenging despite improvements in microbiological isolation and DNA detection methodologies. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer set used in our laboratory to detect other Bartonella species with a high degree of sensitivity did not find B. rochalimae DNA. This is only one of many examples of the need for more comprehensive (sensitive and specific) diagnostic tests that will clarify the role of Bartonella species in patients with migraines and seizures. We continue to work on improvements in diagnostic testing modalities, while attempting to clarify the role of Bartonella species in a spectrum of chronic diseases.

TA: Does this particular strain really “like” the aortic valve, or is that true of Bartonella generally?

Breitschwerdt: In both dogs and humans, approximately 75% of Bartonella IE cases involve the aortic valve. The remaining 20-25% involve the mitral valve or both the mitral and aortic valves. Thus it is clear that all Bartonella species to date have a predilection to localize to the aortic valve.

TA: How prevalent is IE in dogs? Is it always fatal?

Breitschwerdt: IE is a relatively uncommon disease. Depending upon the study, Bartonella can be the cause of over 1/3 of IE cases in dogs, which is remarkable as we did not know this genus infected dogs until 1993, when the first case of IE bartonellosis was documented at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. That is the first case of bartonellosis in a dog worldwide.

TA: Is this something that veterinarians should be taking into consideration when treating dogs with infectious endocarditis? Would it change the treatment regimen in terms of type or dosage of antibiotics?

Breitschwerdt: Yes, there are special antibiotic selection considerations when Bartonella is the suspected or confirmed cause of endocarditis. Not a good infection to have or an easy infection to treat.



Again, we owe Dr. Breitschwerdt a world of gratitude for his work with Bartonella.  He has single-handedly studied and brought forth research on this elusive organism that can make life miserable.

For more:

Can Lyme Be Sexually Transmitted or Passed on to a Fetus?

Can Lyme Be Sexually Transmitted or Passed on to a Fetus?

by. Dr. Bill Rawls
Updated 7/27/18

The official word from experts is that Borrelia burgdorferi, the microbe commonly associated with Lyme disease, cannot be spread sexually. However, whole families (including small children) testing positive for the microbe would suggest otherwise.

Experts base their assumptions on the fact that Borrelia burgdorferi concentrations in semen in people known to have Lyme disease are typically quite low. In addition, trans-utero spread (across the placenta during pregnancy) has not been scientifically documented.

This is in line with traits of the microbe. Host-dependent microbes can spread from host to host through a variety of different pathways, but they typically specialize in primarily one pathway. Borrelia’s preferred pathway of spread is by way of biting insects, most commonly ticks. It has honed this pathway over millions of years.

Other corkscrew-like bacteria, however, do specialize in sexual and congenital transmission. The most well known is Treponema pallidum, the microbe that causes syphilis. It’s interesting that Lyme disease and syphilis share many common symptoms and the two microbes are actually similar in many ways — except that Treponema has been honing the sexual transmission pathway for about as long as Borrelia has been taking advantage of ticks.

The fact that the two microbes are so similar might suggest that Borrelia could transmit sexually or congenitally. Borrelia is a master opportunist; if an easy opportunity arose to spread sexually or cross through the placenta into a new host, it probably would. Using its corkscrew shape, it can bore through any tissues in the body and show up almost anywhere.

The bottom line is that sexual and congenital propagation of Borrelia is possible, but much less likely than other microbes that typically spread by sexual transmission. If it were to occur, it would probably be from an infected male passing Lyme disease to a female via semen. Passing the microbe from infected female to male partner is much less likely. An infected female who became pregnant, however, could also pass the bacterium along to the fetus through the placenta.

To reduce the possibility of transmission, men suspected of having Lyme disease should use condoms during intercourse. If pregnancy is desired, antibiotics or antimicrobial herbs should be administered to reduce concentrations of the microbes before unprotected intercourse. Ideally, attempts for pregnancy should be deferred until Lyme disease symptoms have subsided.

For a pregnancy complicated by Lyme disease, the mother should undergo antibiotic treatment, especially for acute Lyme disease — but always under a doctor’s supervision. Tetracyclines, including doxycycline, should be avoided during pregnancy. Herbal therapy can be a good option if antibiotics are not tolerated.


1. Stricker RB, Middelveen MJ. Sexual transmission of Lyme disease: challenging the tickborne disease paradigm. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2015;13(11):1303-6.
2. Hercogova J, Vanousova D. Syphilis and borreliosis during pregnancy. Dermatol Ther. 2008 May-Jun;21(3):205-9.
3. Williams C et al. Maternal Lyme disease and congenital malformations: a cord blood serosurvey in endemic and control areas. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1995 Jul;9(3):320-30.
4. Strobino B et al. Lyme disease and pregnancy outcome: a prospective study of two thousand prenatal patients. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Aug;169(2 Pt 1):367-74.
I find it highly interesting that even though mother and baby can test positive for Lyme disease, the CDC still states congenital transmission rarely occurs, even though nobody’s counting cases:
In a nutshell, researchers collected specimens and then tested them.  They point out that initial tests did not find the virus but further sampling of the placenta showed virus-positive results.
There’s a few important points:
  1. If researchers tested Lyme patients multiple times in many different places within the body like they did for these babies who supposedly have COVID, they would find Lyme too.  This just doesn’t happen.  This is a perfect example of research bias.
  2. Testing for COVID is abysmal and shouldn’t be trusted on its own:
  3. People are equating a positive COVID test result with illness, yet many are testing positive and have ZERO symptoms which means they aren’t sick.  They just show antibodies. This can happen with Lyme too.  My dog tested positive for Lyme and had ZERO symptoms. My vet told me he would forever test positive for Lyme. Meanwhile my husband and I both test negative on the arbitrary and unscientific 2-tiered CDC testing but positive on a more sensitive antibody test by IGeneX.  This issue of flawed testing is a real fly in the ointment:,
  4. The babies testing positive for COVID are fine, yet one continued to test positive.  I wrote about this before when a friend kept testing positive despite being completely healthy.  This person was detained in the hospital for weeks on end entirely due to a continuing positive test, but he had ZERO symptoms.  This should be a wake-up call.
  5. The best article on this is here:  This expert immunologist explains that it’s highly likely most people testing positive for COVID is purely due to viral debris (which is NOT infectious).

As to sexual transmission of Lyme, a recent study by Scott had some interesting findings:


  • Case 4 provides confirmation for an ACA rash and gestational Lyme disease (club feet at birth).  Both parents tested positive for Bbsl.

Not only did the parents have definitive proof of chronic Lyme, THEY HAD SYMPTOMS – unlike these COVID positive babies, and many others testing positively without ANY symptoms whatsoever (which simply means they are NOT sick).  

I’m not sure what has happened in the world of science but it is riddled with this sort of nonsense.  The two diseases couldn’t be handled more differently.  I guarantee you that if researchers kept poking, prodding, and retesting chronic Lyme patients, they too would eventually find Bb, but this just doesn’t happen.  Frankly, with Lyme, they aren’t looking hard or long enough.

It’s quite clear to me that researchers are rewarded for positive COVID findings while they are demoted for positive Lyme findings.
Lyme just isn’t sexy.  
Lyme/MSIDS has become the ugly wall-flower in the corner of the room – which BTW is truly a world-wide pandemic that isn’t going away.

BTW: I’m nearly 99.9% certain I got Lyme sexually from my husband.  To read about my story as well as other research on it:  All my initial symptoms were gynecological but I didn’t know then what I know now….

Webinar Series to Highlight Tick Problems and Solutions for Pennsylvania—-and-solutions-—-pennsylvania

Webinar series to highlight tick problems — and solutions — for Pennsylvania

Tick webinars
Penn State Extension is hosting a 10-part webinar series on ticks.


Kelly Jedrzejewski
July 01, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Did you know that Pennsylvania is ranked No. 1 in the nation for Lyme disease cases? As part of Penn State Extension’s efforts to educate and share information, educators will be hosting a 10-part webinar series on ticks and disease prevention starting July 9 and running through Sept. 17.

Erika Machtinger, assistant professor of entomology, is part of the extension team that will be hosting the webinar series.

“Since ticks are a major concern in the commonwealth, the idea is that folks will get a basic and understandable foundation for how to protect themselves, their families and their animals from vector-borne diseases,” she said.

Penn State Extension piloted a workshop for vector-borne diseases in the fall that was successful. Machtinger explained that an in-person workshop was scheduled for May but had to be canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to continue the series because of the prevalence of vector-borne diseases in Pennsylvania,” she said. “We also thought it was fitting because people might be spending more time outside.”

In Pennsylvania, several species of ticks are of concern to both people and animals, and several pathogens are associated with those ticks. Along with native ticks, there are concerns about an invasive tick species and its impact on cattle.

“We’ve put together a great team to deliver this series, from insect taxonomists to integrated pest management specialists to wildlife biologists,” said Machtinger. “We’ll be delivering the spectrum of information from many angles.”

Each webinar is one hour and will take place at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the scheduled dates. The webinars, which will be recorded for later viewing, include ample time for moderated question and answer sessions.

To register, visit

Dates and topics are as follows:

–July 9: “Vector-borne Disease Basics.”

–July 16: “Ticks of Pennsylvania.”

–July 23: “Protecting Pets from Tick-borne Diseases.”

–July 30: “Tick Biology.”

–Aug. 6: “Tick Protection Around the Home.”

–Aug. 13: “Protecting Yourself from Tick Bites.”

–Aug. 27: “Lyme Disease and Other Tick-borne Diseases in Pennsylvania.”

–Sept. 3: “Tick Risks for Pennsylvania Cattle.”

–Sept. 10: “Protecting Your Horses from Tick Bites.”

–Sept. 17: “Hunters and Vector-borne Diseases: A Tick-ing Time Bomb.”

“Education on vector-borne diseases is an incredibly powerful tool to help protect people and animals,” Machtinger said. “Understanding the tools that you need to have in your toolbox to prevent tick and mosquito bites can reduce anxiety about being outdoors and make a difference in reducing vector-borne disease risk.”





Interrupted Blood Feeding in Ticks: Causes and Consequences

Interrupted Blood Feeding in Ticks: Causes and Consequences

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Free article


Ticks are obligate hematophagous arthropods and act as vectors for a great variety of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and helminths. Some tick-borne viruses, such as Powassan virus and tick-borne encephalitis virus, are transmissible within 15-60 min after tick attachment. However, a minimum of 3-24 h of tick attachment is necessary to effectively transmit bacterial agents such as Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., and Rickettsia spp. to a new host. Longer transmission periods were reported for Borrelia spp. and protozoans such as Babesia spp., which require a minimum duration of 24-48 h of tick attachment for maturation and migration of the pathogen.

Laboratory observations indicate that the probability of transmission of tick-borne pathogens increases with the duration an infected tick is allowed to remain attached to the host. However, the transmission time may be shortened when partially fed infected ticks detach from their initial host and reattach to a new host, on which they complete their engorgement.

For example, early transmission of tick-borne pathogens (e.g., Rickettsia rickettsii, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Brucella canis) and a significantly shorter transmission time were demonstrated in laboratory experiments by interrupted blood feeding.

The relevance of such situations under field conditions remains poorly documented.

In this review, we explore parameters of, and causes leading to, spontaneous interrupted feeding in nature, as well as the effects of this behavior on the minimum time required for transmission of tick-borne pathogens.



Partial feeding is not rare and needs to be taken into account. Unfortunately, authorities have followed a tightly controlled narrative when it comes to transmission times – which has only served to hurt patients for decades.

There are cases where Lyme (borrelia) has been transmitted within hours:


Bob Giguere of IGeneX states a case by Dr. Jones of a little girl who went outside to play about 8:30a.m. and came inside at 10:30 with an attached tick above her right eye.  By 2 o’clock, she had developed the facial palsy.  At the hospital she was told it couldn’t be Lyme as the tick hadn’t been attached long enough.  They offered a neuro-consult…..

By 4pm she couldn’t walk or talk.

Do not believe what the “experts” tell you about transmission times!

Authorities also talk about ticks having a “grace period” before they transmit which is hog-wash:

For more: