Archive for the ‘Tularemia’ Category

Where Ticks Are and What They Carry – Science Conversation With Dr. Cameron  Approx. 50 Min

Dr. Daniel Cameron, a leading Lyme disease expert, discusses where are the ticks and what are the diseases they carry.



The word is finally getting out.  TICKS ARE EVERYWHERE!


Rocks and picnic benches:

Caves:, and



In the South:, and, and

Southern Hemisphere:


And everywhere else…..

Remember, there are 300 strains and counting of Borrelia worldwide and 100 strains and counting in the U.S.  Current CDC two-tiered testing tests for ONE strain!  Do the math….

For more:





Natural Compound Deters Lone Star Tick Larvae

Natural Compound Deters Lone Star Tick Larvae

by Leslie Mertz

lone star tick adult femaleA botanical compound called p-anisaldehyde has been found to have deterrent properties on the larval stage of lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum). The effects on nymphal and adult (shown above) stages of the lone star tick have yet to be tested, however. (Photo credit: Dr. Amanda Loftis, Dr. William Nicholson, Dr. Will Reeves, Dr. Chris Paddock, via CDC Public Health Image Library)

A naturally occurring botanical compound found in anise, fennel, vanilla, and cranberries is effective in deterring one of the major human and livestock pests, according to research by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).  The study showed that the botanical compound called p-anisaldehyde fends off the larva of the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), which is one of the most prevalent ticks in the southeastern and south-central United States. Not only does the lone star tick parasitize cattle, horses, goats, dogs, and many other animals, but it is also the most frequently reported tick species to bite humans in those regions of the country, and it can transmit diseases such as erhlichiosis, spotted-fever rickettsiosis, tularemia, and protozoan infections, according to Allan Showler, Ph.D., research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas, and lead author of a study on the subject published in October in the Journal of Medical Entomology:

“This tick is problematic anywhere there are a lot of host animals. For instance, on the east Texas coastal plains, you have turkey and white-tailed deer, as well as other large ungulates like feral nilgai antelope, all running around hosting ticks. That’s in addition to the domesticated livestock, such as cattle, that are ranging out there. So, anytime humans go hunting or hiking or otherwise go out into these areas, they might pick up a tick,” Showler says.

Making matters worse, all three life stages in three-host tick species—the larvae, nymphs, and both adult males and females—bite. The larval tick climbs onto low vegetation and waits (the wait is called “questing”). When a host animal happens by, it gloms on, finds a vulnerable spot, and sinks its mouthparts into the skin to begin feeding. “Once it becomes replete with blood, it will drop off and become a nymph,” Showler describes. The process repeats with the nymph questing, feeding and dropping off to become an adult, and with the adult repeating the process. When the adult female drops off the host, she lays her eggs. (In one-host tick species, such as the southern cattle fever tick, all three mobile life stages feed on the same host without dropping off.)

Showler has been interested in “more organic, greener, less-toxic-to-humans approaches for tick repellency and tick control, but when it comes to many of the botanicals, it’s kind of a crapshoot,” he says, explaining that many have not been thoroughly tested on different pest species. “I started out with a number of different botanicals that might bear something out in pilot studies. And while the other ones weren’t so interesting, p-anisaldehyde was.” He found studies showing that this compound disoriented mosquitoes but was an attractant for certain other insect species and was toxic to others. “It was really curious, so we decided to just give it a go on these ticks and see what happened,” he remarks.

Specifically, he and co-author Jessica Harlien, who is also a USDA-ARS researcher, tested various formulations and treatments of p-anisaldehyde on lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum). “What jumped out at us more than anything else was its deterrence or repellency,” he says. The two are different: A deterrent causes the target species to avoid a compound, while a repellant actually drives the tick away. “We’re pretty sure that p-anisaldehyde is a deterrent, at least on lone star tick larvae.” They also found that the compound is lethal to the ticks if they are immersed in certain concentrations and that exposure of adult females to sublethal concentrations reduced egg production.


Allan Showler, Ph.D., research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, is the lead author of a new study reporting that a naturally occurring botanical compound is effective in repelling larval lone star ticks. (Photo credit: Allan Showler, Ph.D.)

So far, they have conducted all of their deterrence and repellency tests of p-anisaldehyde on larval ticks. “Part of the reason is the larvae tend to be more vulnerable because they’re smaller, so it’s a good place to begin,” he says, noting that they will start testing repellency on nymphs and adults soon.

“When it comes to botanicals, I know some people like to say it’s been done to death, but it’s the opposite. Actually most of the studies stop where we stopped: We make a discovery, but now someone else has to take the reins and develop it into a commercial product,” he explains. “What we’ve done in this study is report that p-anisaldehyde looks to have lethal (contact) properties on lone star tick larvae, and it has deterrent properties against larvae, but, as far as how it might be formulated and applied in an economically feasible way for use on humans or other animals, that is something that has yet to be developed.”

Beyond lone star ticks, the researchers are also running tests on other pest species, notably house flies and selected biting flies. “We’ve got some really good preliminary information,” he says, adding that they hope to publish those results soon. As another teaser of his work, he adds, “Without divulging anything, we’re working right now on something that, at least in the laboratory, is knocking these lone star ticks dead really fast. I can’t give any more details because we’re still in the middle of the study, but hopefully that’s coming soon.”



This work is a year old but holds promise for action against the Lone Star Tick which is responsible for transmitting the Alpha-gal (red meat) allergy, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and STARI, a Lyme-like illness that they keep insisting isn’t Lyme but every patient claims looks, acts, and smells just like Lyme.

More on Alpha-gal:

In Tick Management, Species Matters

In Tick Management, Species Matters

three tick species
No single tick-management method works perfectly, and one factor plays a key role in how well any particular tick-management method might work: Which tick species is it best suited for? A new guide in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management reviews research on tick management tools and their effectiveness on three tick species (shown here, left to right): the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). (Image credits, L to R: Lennart Tange/Flickr, CC BY 2.0; Dr. Amanda Loftis, Dr. William Nicholson, Dr. Will Reeves, Dr. Chris Paddock, CDC Public Health Image Library; James Gathany, CDC Public Health Image Library)

In any part of the United States where ticks are present, awareness and personal protection are the first steps to avoiding tick bites and the potential disease pathogens they transmit: Using repellent and conducting frequent tick checks, especially after venturing into wooded or brushy areas, will help in avoiding ticks of all varieties.

But, for managing ticks more broadly, such as in yards and park spaces or at the community or regional level, the problem gets more complicated. No single method works perfectly, and one simple factor plays a key role in how well any particular tick-management method might work: Which tick species is it best suited for?

As part of a new special collection on Integrated Tick Management in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Alexis White and Holly Gaff, Ph.D., of Old Dominion University have written a guide to tick control technologies that delineates their varying levels of effectiveness against the three dominant disease-carrying tick species in the eastern half of the United States: the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis).

To the casual observer, a tick is a tick, but entomologists and public health professionals know different tick species behave in different ways.

“Most of the host-targeted methods … are tailored more toward one or two specific species of ticks because of tick-host preferences,” says White. “For example, lone star ticks are not known to feed on rodents, so bait boxes and tick tubes would not be an effective control measure for this species.

Host-targeted methods aim to reduce the tick population by recruiting the animals that ticks feed on to the effort. For instance, bait boxes attract rodents and bring them into contact with acaricide (a tick-targeted pesticide), while tick tubes provide acaricide-laden nesting material for rodents. Both are tailored well to blacklegged ticks and American dog ticks, which commonly feed on rodents.

Lone star ticks, meanwhile, commonly feed on larger animals such as deer. A device known as the “4-poster” works similar to the rodent bait box, attracting deer with food placed in the center of four posts with rollers laden with acaricide that the deer rub against while feeding.

White and Gaff examined existing research on these tick-management methods as well as several others: habitat modification, controlled burns, broadcast acaricides, deer removal, deer fences, and even a semi-autonomous robot known as “TickBot” that lures ticks toward acaricide as it patrols a prescribed path.

“Based on current literature, broadcast acaricides consistently reduce human and domestic animal tick encounters at least for a short period of time,” says Gaff. “However, these chemicals are known to be harmful to other invertebrates in the environment and cannot be applied in all areas because of legal restrictions.”

For the typical homeowner in tick-prone regions, though, White says a few methods offer the best combo of practicality and effectiveness across species. “Our recommendation is for homeowners with property adjacent to woods to maintain regular mowing and leaf litter removal throughout the yard and also install a mulch barrier between the edge of their yard and the forest to serve as a reminder of the tick dangers along that edge,” she says.

In the course of their review of existing research, they noted that, due to its role as the primary vector of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, the blacklegged tick has been the subject of far more research than other species. However, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes in a new report released Tuesday, both the volume and variety of tick-borne diseases is on the rise, with afflictions such as anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, spotted fever rickettsiosis, and tularemia added to the list alongside Lyme disease.

Gaff says more research is needed, and integrated tick management (ITM) efforts must aim to employ a variety of practices to reduce the threat of tick-borne diseases.

“ITM needs to focus on creating areas with reduced tick populations rather than eliminating all ticks from the environment. Ticks do serve a purpose in the ecosystem, but we do not have to be their next blood meal,” she says.



Being involved with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) I’ve heard recent discussions about this “mulch barrier” actually drawing ticks similarly to leaf litter.  The mulch retains moisture, which ticks like.  Unfortunately, ticks have been found right in play grounds that use mulch as the flooring. Due to this, I would not advise using mulch as a plan for controlling ticks.


PCR of Skin Infections With Eschar on Travelers – Rickettsia Most Detected

Seek and Find! PCR analyses of skin infections in West-European travelers returning from abroad with an eschar.

 Travel Med Infect Dis. 2018.


BACKGROUND: Skin infections are among the leading causes of diseases in travelers. Diagnosing pathogens could be difficult.

METHOD: We applied molecular assays for the diagnostic of a large collection of skin biopsies and swabs from travelers with suspected skin infections. All samples were tested by qPCR for Coxiella burnetti, Bartonella sp., Rickettsia sp., Borrelia sp., Ehrlichia sp., Tropheryma whipplei, Francisella tularensis, Mycobacteria sp., Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Leishmania spp., Ortho poxvirus and Para poxvirus and then screened for the presence of bacteria by PCR amplification and sequencing, targeting the 16S rRNA gene.

RESULTS: From January 2009 to January 2017, 100 international travelers presenting with a suspected skin infection were enrolled. We detected 51 patients with an identified pathogen on skin samples. Travelers presenting with eschars were more likely to have a positive PCR sample (n = 44/76, 57.9%) compared to other patients (n = 7/24, 29.2%). Spotted fever group Rickettsia (n = 28) was the most frequently detected pathogens (19 R. africae, 6 R. conorii, 3 R. mongolitimonae); S. aureus were detected in 11 patients; S. pyogenes in 3; Leishmania sp.; M. leprae and B. henselae in 1 patient, respectively.

CONCLUSION: By targeting the most commonly encountered causative agents of travel-related skin infections, our strategy provides a sensitive and rapid diagnostic method.



Hantavirus & Tularemia Warnings Issued in San Diego County

Hantavirus, tularemia warnings issued in San Diego County

March 1, 2018

In a follow-up on two infectious disease issues in San Diego County, mice with hantavirus and tularemia positive ticks, San Diego County Vector Control has issued some updated information and warnings for the public.


Vector Control officials said five Western harvest mice caught in routine trapping in open fields in 4S Ranch and in the rural Black Mountain area have tested positive for hantavirus, bringing this year’s total number of rodents to test positive to 17. That is the highest number of rodents to test positive in San Diego County since 2012, when 35 mice and one meadow vole tested positive over the course of the year.

Vector Control officials said the high number was not a cause for alarm. Hantavirus is common in San Diego County, but it is mainly carried by wild mice that do not live around humans so people are rarely exposed to the virus. In addition, the 17 rodents that tested positive represent 4.8 percent of the 351 wild rodents that Vector Control has trapped  and tested this year, a figure within normally-expected ranges.

Still, officials said people should remember to protect themselves from potentially being exposed to hantavirus. The virus can cause deadly infections in people and there is no vaccine or cure for it.

Hantavirus:  An interview with Dr. Paul Ettestad (Approx. 10:30 Min)

In addition, County Vector Control officials said Friday that several more batches of ticks trapped along Lopez Canyon Trail in Sorrento Valley have tested positive for tularemia, a potentially dangerous bacterial disease also known as “rabbit fever.”

County officials are reminding people again to protect themselves and their pets from ticks — which can transmit tularemia and other diseases when they bite people — whenever they are hiking, bicycling or walking in grassy backcountry areas, on trails or in the wild.

Vector Control officials said last week that several batches of ticks trapped in routine monitoring in the area of Lopez Canyon Trail had tested positive for the disease. Because they are small, ticks are “batched” together into larger groups to conduct testing.

County officials said they posted signs warning people to protect themselves from ticks last week and have posted additional signs in the wake of the new find.

While Tularemia is spread by ticks, Hanta virus so far is not:; however, it is interesting that this virus loves mice and well…..ticks love mice.  Time will tell.   As it turns out, the hantavirus is not a new disease and is far more widespread than previously suspected in the United States. For example, tissues analysis has revealed that the earliest proven case of hantavirus occurred in Utah in 1959, and has been found in 32 states….From 1993 to 2004, there were 362 cases of HPS diagnosed[1] with 132 fatalities in the US alone.[2] However, HPS is also found throughout Latin America. Panama, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina have had reported cases of HPS.[3] From 1993 to 2004, there have been 1548 cases and 252 deaths throughout Latin America.[4] The hantavirus is newly discovered by modern science, but people have lived with it for years previous…..However, because USAMRIID was involved and conducted the research at Fort Detrick, HTN was grandfathered into the ongoing US bioweapons program. Despite its ability to effect military operations as demonstrated in the field, military studies of hantavirus do not appear to have gone past the research stage.[6]…the hantavirus will enter a host cell and replace itself with a negative strand of messenger RNA (mRNA), so when the mRNA brings the genetic information for reproduction, the virus is reproduced instead of the original host cell’s molecule. As the cell reproduces more hantavirus, the hantavirus kills the host cell and infects others. As this spreads throughout the body, the internal structures fail and can lead to death….It is a virus that does not skip any demographic, is found naturally, and has a 50% mortality rate. These factors frighten some who worry about its use as a bioweapon.
Hantavirus has not been known to be weaponized or used for bioterrorism, but it is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Category C Agent.2 Its presumed ease of production and dissemination, as well as its high potential for severe morbidity and mortality, raise concern for the possibility that this emerging pathogen could be engineered for future mass exposures.2
Although no cases of human-to-human transmission have been identified in the United States, investigation of an epidemic in Argentina in 1995 provided strong evidence for person-to-person transmission; strict barrier nursing techniques are now recommended for the management of suspected cases.
Prevention – stay away from mice and their droppings.  Since people often catch the virus by breathing it into their lungs, don’t use anything that allows particles from mouse droppings to get into the air (like sweeping with a broom).  Soak droppings down with a good disinfectant for 20 min and then wipe up with a mop.  In Spring, open doors and windows to sheds and allow them to air out well before entering.
Let’s pray ticks and other insects can not transmit Hantavirus and that it’s not been tweaked for biowarfare purposes.
Tularemia:  Tularemia, in aerosol form, is considered a possible bioterrorist agent that if inhaled would cause severe respiratory illness. It was studied in Japan through 1945, the USA through the 60’s, and Russia is believed to have strains resistant to antibiotics and vaccines. An aerosol release in a high population would result in febrile illness in 3-5 days followed by pleuropneumonitis and systemic infection with illness persisting for weeks with relapses. The WHO estimates that an aerosol dispersal of 50 kg of F. tularensis over an area with 5 million people would result in 25,000 incapacitating casualties including 19,000 deaths.  Scroll to page 237 for Table 6.1 which shows Tularemia was used in Europe during WWII.  Debate remains whether massive outbreaks of Tularemia on the Eastern Front was a biowarfare application against German troops or occurred naturally.  Then on page 246 Table 6.3 shows confirmed applications of Tularemia during wartime, by terrorists, and/or as criminal activity.23,33,37,179, as well as it’s an agent produced for weapons use by nations with biowarfare programs.14,22,23,33,52.  It is a category A agent, which is of highest priority and a critical biological agent for public health response activities.
Hantavirus is not listed on page 250 Table 6.5 as a biowarfare agent, but mosquito transmitted Yellow Fever Virus is.




Tularemia Infected Ticks Found on Sorrento Valley Trail in CA  (See news story here)

by Allison Horn, Feb. 13, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – San Diego County public health officials issued a warning Tuesday about diseased ticks found on a popular Sorrento Valley trail.

Several ticks collected in routine trapping at Lopez Canyon trail tested positive for the potentially dangerous bacterial disease tularemia.

The trail is located between Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa Boulevards, just north of Qualcomm’s corporate offices. Warning signs are in place for hikers.

Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics but it can be fatal.

County Vector Control officials say they have been finding increased numbers of ticks around the County this year. The insects found in Sorrento Valley are the only ones that have tested positive for any disease.

Ticks crawl on vegetation and latch on to passing animals and people, then bite and feed on blood.

County public health officials advise anyone who is bitten to carefully remove the tick. If they develop a rash or fever in the weeks after a bite, they should see a doctor.

The County has recommendations for you to stay safe.

  • Wear insect repellent
  • Stay on designated pathways
  • Check your clothing and pets for ticks
  • Leave pets at home or keep them leashed
  • Check clothing and gear when you get home
  • Don’t panic if you’re bitten



More on Tularemia:  Fortunately, there is no clearly established historic use of tularemia as a weapon, although tularemia has successfully been weaponized by select nations. Certain characteristics of tularemia categorize it as a high-risk threat.  A little history…..

Tularemia was allegedly used against German troops in 1942 near Stalingrad.[3] Around 10,000 cases of tularemia had been reported in the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1943. However, the number of cases jumped to more than 100,000 in the year of the Stalingrad outbreak. German Panzer troops fell ill in such significant numbers during the late summer of 1942 that the German military campaign came to a temporary halt. German soldiers became ill with the rare pulmonary form of tularemia, which may indicate the use of an aerosol biological weapon (the ordinary transmission pathway is through ticks and rodents). According to Kenneth Alibek, the used tularemia weapon had been developed in the Kirov military facility.[3] It was suggested by some, however, that the outbreak might have been of natural origin, since a pulmonary form of tularemia has also been noted in natural outbreaks in Martha’s Vineyard in 2000.[6]

In the Soviet Union, the outbreak at Stalingrad was described as a natural outbreak. Crops were left in the field during the German offensive and the rodent population swelled, putting many inhabitants into contact with infected rodents. In some parts of the Stalingrad Oblast, as many as 75% of the inhabitants became infected. It was also noted that before the war, there was a so-called “threshing tularemia”, caused by people inhaling infected dusts soiled by rodents while threshing grain.[7]

At the conclusion of the war, Soviet troops invading Manchuria captured many Unit 731 Japanese scientists and learned of their extensive human experimentation through captured documents and prisoner interrogations…..

But don’t panic….. ha, ha, ha




Bb in Small Kentucky Mammals

Borrelia burgdorferi in small mammal reservoirs in Kentucky, a traditionally non-endemic state for Lyme disease

Buchholz MJ, Davis C, Rowland NS, Dick CW.
Parasitology Research, online first 2018 Feb 7.


The incidence of tick-borne zoonoses such as Lyme disease has steadily increased in the southeastern United States. Southeastern states accounted for 1500 of over 28,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease reported in the United States during 2015. Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, is maintained in small mammal reservoirs and vectored to new hosts by ixodid ticks.

This study examined ecological relationships of the B. burgdorferi/vector/reservoir system in order to understand the dynamics of Lyme disease risk in Kentucky. Small mammals were captured using live traps from November 2014 to October 2015. Ticks were removed and blood and tissue collected from small mammals were screened for B. burgdorferi DNA by PCR with primers specific to the OspA gene.

Prevalence of B. burgdorferi (21.8%) in Kentucky small mammals was comparable to the lowest recorded prevalence in regions where Lyme disease is endemic. Moreover, infestation of small mammals by Ixodes scapularis, the primary vector of B. burgdorferi, was rare, while Dermacentor variabilis comprised the majority of ticks collected.

These findings provide ecological insight into the relative paucity of Lyme disease in Kentucky.



The conclusion of this study is all wrong.  Bb was found Kentucky mammals.  That in itself is important.  Also, the fact the preponderance of ticks were dermacentor variabilis (wood tick or American dog tick) which supposedly has not been proven to be a competent vector of Bb as supposedly it doesn’t efficiently pass Bb from inside the tick to humans or other hosts), it does transmit Tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

BTW:  these transmission studies given as references for this fact were done from 1997-2006.  It’s now 2018.  Notice it states, “It doesn’t efficiently pass Bb.”  What if it passes it inefficiently?  It still passes!

Regardless of whether the wood tick can transmit Bb or not, they do transmit pathogens.  The fact that nearly 22% of small Kentucky mammals have Bb due to the black legged deer tick and most of the ticks they picked up were wood ticks, those deer ticks were particularly infected.

Hear ye, hear ye, the South has Lyme.

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

We don’t have Lyme Disease in Arkansas, we have the ticks that transmit Lyme Disease but we don’t have any recorded cases of Lyme Disease.”  A news report emphasizing the CDC’s belief Arkansas is a “low incident” state in regards to Lyme Disease, is countered by the Arkansas Lyme Foundation that claims at least 150 cases, and they just started counting. (Video here)

People are dying and I’m not exaggerating, people are calling us every week in desperate situations,” said Sikes.  Last summer, a friend who lives in Oklahoma found a classic bullseye rash on her seven-year-old daughter.

“That’s a spider bite,” a local pediatrician told her. “We don’t have Lyme in Oklahoma.”

The doctor was wrong. Had my friend taken his advice, her daughter would not have been diagnosed in a timely fashion and she would likely have developed symptoms over the next few months or years. She probably would have become severely debilitated, and the infections might have crossed the blood-brain barrier and become chronic.

Get the picture yet?  Lyme/MSIDS is everywhere.

Quit saying it’s rare!