December 10, 2018

UMaine is Going to Test for Infections in Ticks

What a great idea! According to V. Paul Reynolds, the University of Maine is going to test ticks to determine how many or what percentage of ticks carry infections and what kind they carry. From the article linked to, it appears researchers want to focus on Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis, all diseases that are extremely dangerous to people.

This is all good and never should any of us downplay the importance of understanding ticks and the spread of disease. However, consider what I am about to write.

Hydatid disease in humans comes from the ingestion of Echinococcus granulosus eggs. These tiny eggs are carried in wild and domestic dogs, foxes, and raccoons (definitive hosts) and spread through their feces and ingested by secondary hosts – deer, moose, cows, sheep – ungulates – which causes the growth of cysts in organs such as liver, lungs, brain, heart. Most common are the lungs and liver.

Maine scientists and researchers have determined that moose in Maine are infected with cystic echinococcosis (they like to call it lungworm), most likely contracted from wolves/coyotes that populate the state of Maine in the tens of thousands.

But, we are talking about ticks, right? Correct! Hang on!

There are many kinds of ticks that carry diseases, some of which are talked about in V. Paul Reynolds’ piece. But there is no talk of this very dangerous, even deadly disease that can infect and affect man. I have written extensively about how men can become infected by the inadvertent ingestion of the E. granulosus eggs, i.e. through infected water, foods, feces (disturbing wolf/coyote scat) and from your pet dog that roams about freely and is not adequately treated by your local veterinarian.

Few in the U.S. know anything about and have never heard of such a disease. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently had stated that worldwide Hydatid disease among people was at epidemic levels. Today, WHO says that at any one time, more than 1 million people are affected.

WHO also states that: “Humans are infected through ingestion of parasite eggs in contaminated food, water or soil, or through direct contact with animal hosts.”

But, Tom. We are talking about ticks and the spread of diseases. That’s right.

Ticks cannot be carriers of the E. granulosus egg…through their own ingestion and pass it on through their feces or blood…that we know of. But there is a remarkable phenomenon that shouldn’t be disregarded.

Research has discovered that insects that are commonly found on scat can carry the microscopic eggs on them and transplant those eggs on the next warm body or object they land on, i.e. you, me, a bird, a cow, a deer, a moose, a picnic table, plants, flowers, etc. Should that egg(s) be inadvertently ingested by you or I or any of the listed unsuspecting culprits and hundreds, perhaps thousands of other contacts you can come up with, there is no limit in how this disease can be spread. The odds are low, perhaps, but realistic none the same. This is something that we should be educated about.

Our own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that these eggs can remain viable for up to one year. Extreme heat and cold has little effect. Fire will destroy them.

So imagine if you can, any of the several tick varieties that inhabit our areas, crawling on or near an infected coyote scat before working their way up a stem of grass or a bush. You are out for a walk later discovering that same tick on you. The way we have been brainwashed and fear instilled in us about Lyme disease, in our semi-panic stage to get the tick off us, we grab the tick, trying to squeeze it and kill it, or simply to touch it to save for the doctor or burn in a fire, we forget to wash our hands thoroughly or before we do, we put our hands on or near our mouth or nose. The next thing you know, this possible Lyme disease-carrying tick also has a few viable E.g eggs that got on you and you ingest it.

Frightening prospects to say the least.

Also, consider the possibilities of those ticks that find deer and moose as a source of a blood meal. It’s not that the tick will necessarily infect the deer or moose, or any other ungulate it might land on by spreading it through the blood, but the ungulate, even it doesn’t groom well, may ingest the eggs from a tick carrying an E.g. egg.

We know that ungulates that grow the cysts will not often die directly from the disease but surely lungs infected with cysts inhibits that animal’s ability to avoid large predators. This, in turn, increases the mortality rate which could present significant problems with managing wild ungulate herds and sustaining a viable population. This act aides in the spread of disease.

With all the many ways that E.g can spread, it is time that all of us become educated to the prospects of how these diseases are spread and how other animals and ourselves can become infected.

There are other diseases from ticks than Lyme disease.

Get educated. You may want to begin by going to this page and begin reading.

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Beyond Lyme: New Tick-Borne Diseases On The Rise In U.S.

For some reason, ticks flock to mice. Other animals groom the bloodsuckers off and kill them. But mice don’t. They let the critters attach and feed on their face and ears.

Ostfeld says he has seen mice with 50, 60, even 100 ticks on their face and ears. “When I first noticed this, it really grabbed my attention.”

Most of these ticks are carrying Lyme disease, Ostfeld has found. Others are carrying anaplasmosis, babesiosis or Powassan. Some ticks harbor two, three or even four pathogens at once.

Theses observations gave him an idea:<<<Read More>>>

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