“Recently, I got a call from Tom Martin, an entrepreneur from Minneapolis. Martin has a new product that should interest anyone concerned with safe tick removal, not only off of themselves but pets as well. The product is called Rid-A-Tick. Advertised as a “safe and easy tick removal system, Rid-A-Tick is simply an adhesive patch, or medical tape, that you place over the tick while it is still in your skin or your pet’s. The patch, in effect, smothers the air-breathing tick and forces it to back out from your skin. After a few minutes, the patch is removed taking the tick with it. The patch can then be disposed of along with the tick. Or, the patch and the tick can be saved for medical examination if that is called for.”<<<Read More>>>
In this article I was reading, it amazes me that doctors, politicians and scientists will argue that if you want to limit the infestation of the ticks that carry Lyme disease, we need to kill or eradicate the landscape of deer.
And yet, moose are dying by the tractor trailer truck load and it is blamed on global warming.
Is any connection being blocked due to political agendas? Probably.
I was reading George Smith’s article about how the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is making plans within their proposals to draft 15-year management plans for deer, to figure out how the state can manage a “socially acceptable” population of deer and at the same time mitigate the affects of Lyme disease, at a socially acceptable level. Lyme disease is believed by most to be carried by the deer and thus deer have become the target. Because the deer is the target, the controversy comes from three different entities – those who find deer cute and cuddly and want them running all about their land; those who want them available in ample supply to hunt and fill their freezers; those who hate hunters and are willing to kill deer so hunters can’t enjoy their sport.
It certainly does appear that reducing deer populations (to what level I’m not sure there is a standard number due to varying influences and environmental factors) will reduce incidences of man contracting Lyme disease.
The life cycle of the tick responsible for carrying the infectious disease, including all directly influencing factors, is complicated. Perhaps the deer has become the easy target due to a lack of understanding about how to interrupt the life cycle of the tick – more appropriately should be called the mouse tick.
The deer is a host. This means that an adult tick hitches a ride on a deer for the purpose of obtaining a meal of blood. This is all a necessary part of the life cycle. It is not the deer, however that gives the disease to the tick. The tick does infect the deer, but studies have shown that a deer will “cleanse” itself of the disease and thus is not considered a carrier of the disease.
It’s the white-footed mouse that is the main culprit of transmitting the disease. Once infected, the mouse remains a carrying until death. After the tick leaves the deer, the female ticks hatch all new larvae. The larvae make their way to the mouse, where the Lyme disease is passed to the nymph. As I understand the cycle, the tick larvae cannot have the infection but pick it up from the mouse as it becomes a nymph. The infected nymph grows to an adult and begins looking for a host for another blood meal.
Incidentally, the larvae doesn’t only go to the mouse. It can travel to other rodents and small wildlife, where the disease can be passed to the nymph, which can become an adult tick and begin looking for a blood meal.
It would appear that any interruption or change of this cycle would limit or change the prevalence of the tick. One way that has been tried is to reduce the populations of deer. In places where deer populations are very dense, a serious thinning of the herd becomes a reasonable limitation to tick growth and prevalence. It would only make sense…wouldn’t it?
Have we looked enough at finding ways to control the white-footed mouse? Snakes, owls, bobcats, weasels, and foxes are common predators. Are there changes in these predators and their environment that are effecting the white-footed mouse? Short of the use of chemicals, is the “natural” way of keeping mice in check being interrupted some how? Are changes in our ecosystems increasing, decreasing or having no effect on the perpetuation of the tick and Lyme disease?
Modeling in recent years has suggested that perhaps those predators that readily find the white-footed mouse a prey species, have been reduced in numbers to where they are ineffective at any kind of control over the mouse. There are a couple of difficulties in this presentation. First, to my knowledge, the modeling has not been taken to the field, or, if it has, results have not been made public. Another issue is that “scientists” can’t even agree on what predators consider the mouse’s prey. Some say the fox is the biggest predator of the mouse and some say the coyote is. Some say that even though the list of natural predators of the mouse is varied, there is little interruption of the perpetuation of mice.
I would find it interesting that it appears that the incidence of Lyme disease has increased right along with the prevalence of coyotes. If coyotes regularly eat white-footed mice for lunch, wouldn’t it make some sense that this would tend to reduce the prevalence of the spread of Lyme disease?
The argument is also made that the presence of coyotes limits the number of foxes, therefore, fewer mice are eaten. The theory has been laid on the table that coyotes do eat mice, but live in a more spread out habitat than the fox and so the effective result is that fewer mice get eaten, thus more ticks and more disease. Consider also that, for those familiar with the boots-on-the-ground eating habits of the coyote, an animal that will eat anything, the diet of the coyote includes “snakes, owls, bobcats, weasels, foxes and probably any other creature that, given the opportunity, would feast on a white-footed mouse.
So, depending upon which bandwagon best fits your narrative, will determine whether you want to kill deer, mice, or coyotes. For the MDIFW, their job will, more than likely, end up being a matter of making deer management decisions based on social demands rather than good science. But this is nothing new.
But above all,
DON’T GO LOOK!
An online news article states that Vermont now leads the nation in reported cases of Lyme disease. The same report blames this on an “overabundant deer population.” The same report claims that the ideal deer per square mile, in order to “control” ticks, would be 20 per square mile. Other than a few isolated areas, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont don’t have that many deer.
We understand that deer are a source of a “last blood meal” for the ticks’ survival and perpetuation, it is not the only source. Surely, reducing actual “overabundance” of deer populations would contribute to the reduction in tick prevalence and thus Lyme disease infection rates, it appears as though, with information being given that shows low density deer populations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the deer is becoming a convenient scapegoat. Perhaps there are other agendas at work here.
If the intent is to reduce the prevalence of Lyme disease, how about providing some honesty in scientific research.
Lyme disease has tightened its grasp on the Northeast and Midwest, with a dramatic rise in the number of counties considered at high risk, a new government study finds.
The number of Northeast counties where the risk of Lyme disease is at least twice the national average skyrocketed from 43 in 1993-1997 to 182 in 2008-2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. That’s an alarming jump of 323 percent.
In Maine, more than half of all counties are at high risk for the disease, spread by the bite of the eight-legged deer tick.
An interview with author Dr. Cass Ingram
There’s a tiny, would-be assassin hiding in North America’s fields and woodlands that goes by the name of ioxides scapularis, but is more commonly known as the black-legged deer tick. A single bite from this creature can destroy your life – and if untreated, may even kill you.
“The disease caused by this tiny biting insect is called Lyme disease, and it’s one of the most dreaded and destructive diseases known,” says medicinal spice expert and health researcher Dr. Cass Ingram, author of “The Lyme Disease Cure.” “In the USA alone there are likely a half-million new cases of disease caused by deer tick bites annually – but in many cases, the victim is entirely unaware of what has happened to them.”
Dr. Ingram says a person contracts Lyme disease when cork-screw-like bacteria called “spirochetes” are released from the mouthparts of the biting tick, and bore into the joints and connective tissues of their human hosts, where they cause significant inflammation and pain, as well as tissue damage.
“There are a wide range of other germs which may ‘co-infect’ the tick bite victim, including organisms which may attack the brain and nervous system,” says Dr. Ingram.
MULTIPLE SYMPTOMS MAKE DIAGNOSIS DIFFICULT:
Lyme disease can create a host of confusing symptoms – both immediate and delayed. The disease is frequently misdiagnosed as: fibromyalgia, arthritis, polymyositis, ‘depression,’ multiple sclerosis, ALS, schizophrenia, psychosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Lyme also specifically attacks the heart and nervous system. Thus, victims of Lyme and other tick bite diseases are also often told that they have Bell’s palsy, neuropathy, pericarditis, and cardiomyopathy, while tick bite diseases and Lyme as the cause are never considered.
PREVENTING EXPOSURE TO LYME DISEASE AND TICK PATHOGENS:
In 2013, the CDC reported cases of Lyme disease in 46 states. Those camping, canoeing, hiking or vacationing in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin need to take special precautions due to the exceptionally high number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in those states. Such precautions include:
o Wear the lightest-colored clothes possible, preferably white or off-white. White is the best, since the tiny tick nymphs, which are black, can be seen more readily. Larger ticks can be easily seen against such a background.
o Socks are pulled over the pant legs. The socks should be white.
o Spray the shoes, socks, and legs with the natural, potent tick repellent, Herbal Tick-X, part of Dr. Ingram’s new Lyme disease protection kit.
o Check clothes often for evidence of crawling, climbing ticks.
o Wear a hat to prevent ticks from falling from tall grass or trees onto the head.
o Be sensitive, and be aware. Have a high awareness for entities crawling on the body or in the hair. If any such sensations occur, check the body immediately.
o Upon arriving home or when in a secure place, strip down immediately; place all clothing in a plastic bag. Inspect the body fully for ticks. The head and neck should be carefully inspected. The hair should be thoroughly brushed and/or combed all the way down to the scalp. After any wilderness adventure take a shower and scrub the skin.
RESPONSE TO BEING BITTEN:
“Any tick bite, if discovered, should be treated topically. The tick itself, along with the bite area, should be saturated with the oil of wild oregano to attain constant contact, which is ideal to destroy any residual tick-related germs and the consequential local inflammation. That constant contact can also be achieved by saturating a bandage or a piece of cotton and once the tick is removed taping it against the region. This can then be changed every 12 or 24 hours and continued until all infection and inflammation is eradicated.”
BASIC PROTOCOL – TREATING LYME DISEASE WITH WILD SPICES
Wild spices in the form of oil of oregano will literally burn away the protective exterior membranes (biofilm) of viruses and pathogen transmitted by an infected tick. Many types of germ-killing spices are reviewed in the book, and readers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the healing properties and uses of each. The spices used by Dr. Ingram to cure his own Lyme infection included:
o oil of wild oregano (P73 material)
o multiple spice dried essential oil complex consisting of oils of wild oregano and sage, along with remote-source cumin and cinnamon
o juice of wild oregano
o capsules of anti-inflammatory enzymes containing bromelain, papain, and ginger
Public Release – November 12, 2012
ATLANTA (November 12, 2012)–An emerging tick-borne disease that causes symptoms similar to malaria is expanding its range in areas of the northeast where it has become well-established, according to new research presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).
Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health reported that from 2000 to 2008, cases of babesiosis–which invades red blood cells and is carried by the same tick that causes Lyme disease–expanded from 30 to 85 towns in Connecticut. Cases of the disease in Connecticut, where it was first reported in 1991, also have risen from 3 to about 100 cases per year.
The findings on babesiosis presented at the ASTMH annual meeting were accompanied by discussions of a range of other investigations into newly emerging tick-borne diseases, which include afflictions that can cause fatal encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
“Today’s findings underscore the shifting landscape of tick-borne diseases, whose rapid emergence can challenge the best efforts of science and medicine to diagnose, treat, and prevent their occurrence,” said Peter Krause, MD, a researcher at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut.
ASTMH President James W. Kazura, MD, FASTMH, said: “This is a real-time illustration of the inter-connectedness of human and animal health that many people don’t often think about. Ticks are a major carrier for many human diseases and efforts like this offer timely information that is of regional and clinical importance.”
Lyme disease–with 20,000-30,000 cases reported each year in the United States–is still the best known example of a recently emerged tick-borne disease. But research points to a growing number of pathogens carried by the deer tick, all of which are expanding their range.
Malaria look-alike in United States
A prime example is babesiosis, which is caused by the parasite Babesia microti. It has similarities to malaria in that it invades and destroys red blood cells. In the United States, this parasite is the most common pathogen transmitted through blood transfusions.
Acute cases are commonly associated with fever, fatigue, chills, headache, sweats and muscle pain. Infection can be asymptomatic or severe, causing death in about 6 to 9 percent of patients hospitalized with the illness. If transmitted through a blood transfusion, the mortality rate is about 20 percent. However, if properly diagnosed, babesiosis generally is promptly cured with antibiotics.
Its range is expanding:
Krause’s colleague at Yale, Maria Diuk-Wasser, PhD, said that as Babesia has expanded its range. In some northern Connecticut towns the current rate of deer tick infection is now similar or even higher than in coastal Connecticut or the highly-endemic Nantucket Island, where about 10 percent of deer ticks are carrying the B. microti parasite.
The expansion of Babesia’s range in Connecticut follows a similar explosion of the parasite in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, where the number of cases diagnosed in residents increased 20-fold from 2001 to 2008, from 6 cases to 119 cases per year during 2001 to 2008.
Babesiosis is now considered endemic in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. And cases have turned up in at least 8 other states, from Washington to northern California in the West and from Maine to Maryland in the East.
In a separate study, Krause, Diuk-Wasser, Durland Fish, MD, and colleagues found evidence that Lyme disease and babesiosis parasite co-infection in mice appears to increase the transmission of Babesia microti and enhance its ability to become established in new areas.
They studied mice that had been deliberately infected with either one of the parasites that cause the diseases–B. microti in the case of babesiosis and B. burgdorferi for Lyme–or both at the same time. They allowed ticks to feed on the mice, and then each week over a six-week period they measured the percentage of ticks infected with each pathogen. They found ticks that fed on the mice infected with both the Lyme and babesiosis parasites were more likely to be carrying Babesia–and at higher concentrations–than ticks that fed on the mice infected only with the babesiosis parasite.
“This suggests that Lyme disease is somehow intensifying transmission of babesiosis,” Krause said.
Encephalitis-causing Ticks Emerging in Northeast
Marc El Khoury, MD, with New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, reported on two related diseases: deer tick virus, which, as its name suggests, is carried by the hard-bodied deer tick, and Powassan virus (POWV), which is carried by a soft-bodied tick that feeds on groundhogs and woodchucks. But the two diseases share a common ancestor and are difficult to tell apart in standard antibody tests.
Until recently, however, deer tick virus was not considered a threat to human health. The first clue that deer tick virus could cause human disease came in 2001 when deer tick virus RNA, taken from the brain of a man who died in 1997 shortly after a presumed Powassan encephalitis infection, was sequenced.
Now, El Khoury reports that, in Lyme-endemic areas, many, if not all, cases previously diagnosed as POWV are likely deer tick virus. Furthermore, the number of cases appears to be rising rapidly. Between 1958 and 2003–a span of 45 years–only about 40 cases of POWV were reported in the United States and Canada. Then, in four years, from 2008 to 2012, 21 cases were reported from Wisconsin and Minnesota, and 12 cases from New York State.
“Almost all of these cases are in Lyme country, where humans are much more likely to be preyed upon by deer ticks carrying deer tick virus than ticks carrying Powassan virus,” El Khoury said. “Now it appears that in Lyme-endemic areas, people can not only get Lyme disease or babesiosis, but also a deer tick virus-related meningoencephalitis.”
Many infections are probably mild or asymptomatic. But more severe infections can progress to encephalitis, which can have a case fatality rate of up to 15 percent and cause permanent nerve or brain damage in about 50 percent of diagnosed cases. Powassan virus infections (that may in fact be deer tick virus) have been reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
There’s Nothing Like Family
And that’s not all. Deer ticks also are known to transmit a bacterial disease known as HGA (human granulocytic anaplasmosis) Also known as ehrlichiosis, HGA has become the third most frequent vector-borne disease in North America and Europe, and is now emerging in Asia, according to J. Stephen Dumler, MD, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
HGA attacks white blood cells, and while milder forms cause fever and muscle pain, it can also cause serious disease and immune system malfunction that can lead to opportunistic infections. It is related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever (transmitted by another tick species) and typhus (transmitted by lice.)
HGA’s rapid spread has been abetted by an expanded family of deer tick relatives, with different, closely related tick species carrying the disease in the Western United States, Europe and Asia, Dumler said. But as in the case of POWV and deer tick virus, limited information can sometimes lead to incorrect conclusions when it comes to the growing menagerie of tick-borne pathogens.
Dumler reported on an unusual outbreak of life-threatening HGA in China between 2007 and 2010 that affected hundreds of patients. But when scientists looked more closely, scrutinizing patients’ blood for foreign DNA and sequencing whatever they found, the culprit was identified not as HGA but as a novel tick-borne virus–one that had a 30 percent case fatality rate. And just this summer, a novel, closely-related and dangerous tick-borne virus infected two Missouri men.
Sam Telford, SD, MS, of Tufts University in Massachusetts noted that one of the biggest challenges posed by the emergence of new tick-borne diseases is the ability to match surveillance capabilities with the discovery of new diseases.
“We increasingly need to apply the most sophisticated genetic tools to identify the numerous new tick-borne microbes that have the theoretical capacity to infect humans,” Telford said. “Only by raising awareness among health professionals of what to look for, publishing case reports with good laboratory details, and doing good epidemiology will we be able to truly understand and appropriately respond to emerging disease threats.”
Most like to call it “Best Available Science.” I prefer to recognize it as cherry picking what best fits the plan of garnering monies and promoting agendas. However, perhaps we can call efforts in making decisions in wildlife management as best available guessing.
Case in point: In an area of Connecticut officials are setting up study areas in hopes of learning more about the best ways in which to reduce or eliminate ticks that carry Lyme disease. It seems that there is some disagreement over how many deer live in the area.
The “official” counting method has determined that within the four study areas, there are approximately 29 to 30 deer per square mile – a high amount when it is considered that the management goal is around 10 deer per square mile. However, an independent effort at counting deer, has determined there to be 7.42 deer per square mile.
Is this significant? Well, when you consider that the effort to control ticks has evolved into reducing the number of deer to accomplish that task, I think it might be safe to say that those differences of estimated deer populations are highly significant and detrimental to arriving at reliable data from any study.
Bill Hyatt, bureau chief of the bureau of natural resources for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), said, “The counts we’ve been doing are accurate to the level we need them to be.” I’m not sure I understand that statement. Two things that scientific studies depend on are constants (control) and accurate data from within the control area. Without these how reliable does any study become?
If a proposed theory is that the density of the population of deer is a driving factor behind the spread of Lyme disease, it only seems prudent that a count of deer must be highly accurate and not “accurate to the level we need” it to be. To make that statement, in my mind, is saying that deer densities from two different counts showing a wide disparity in numbers isn’t an issue of concern. I think it should be. There are other influencing factors that can become part of the overall equation depending up deer densities to begin with. Are those being calculated? How could it be if they don’t know the population density to begin with?
To further complicate this study and effort, in addition to having to question any results determined from this study, are the results of recent studies that birds may be the biggest factor of all in the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease. Can you accurately determine the effect of deer on the spread of Lyme disease if birds within these four study areas are contributing to the spread?
We all must question whether or not best available science is being used here in making decisions in wildlife management and disease control. If methods used to count deer end up with such vast differences in outcomes, then how can any method be anything more than best available guessing? Or is this another one of those studies whose main purpose is to grab grant monies and/or tax dollars to keep people employed with the government?
Birds are more important than previously recognized as hosts for Lyme disease-causing bacteria, according to a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE. The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is responsible for Lyme disease, was known to be carried by white-footed mice, wood rats, western gray squirrels, and other small mammals, but fewer studies have looked at the role of birds as reservoirs.
“The role of birds in the maintenance of Lyme disease bacteria in California is poorly understood,” said lead author Erica Newman, a UC Berkeley PhD student. “This is the most extensive study of the role of birds in Lyme disease ecology in the western United States, and the first to consider the diversity of bird species, their behaviors, and their habitats in identifying which birds are truly the most important as carriers.”<<<Read More>>>
In articles posted in some Maine newspapers, as well as on George Smith’s blog, the opening paragraph may very well cause readers to think that hunters are the cause of Lyme disease. His statement says, “For more than a century, Maine deer have been managed for maximum populations that benefit deer hunters. But Lyme disease is changing the discussion, and is likely to force Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to reduce deer populations in coastal, southern, and central Maine – even while they struggle to rebuild deer populations in western and northern Maine.”
I have no reason to believe that Smith is attempting to blame the prevalence of Lyme disease on hunters. It is, however, important to choose our words carefully. There is a distinct separation between the management of deer in Maine, or any other state, for surplus harvest(hunter benefit) and intentionally managing deer herds at too high a number in order that disease occurs and/or is spread. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) does not manage deer populations at high population numbers, regardless of public health and safety issues, simply to benefit hunters.
While the remainder of Smith’s article deals with the facts of how towns and communities are trying to deal with Lyme disease, it is not the fault of hunters. On the contrary. Hunting is one of the proven elements of deer management in which population numbers can be controlled. When wildlife managers are limited through restricted land access, stealing from them the ability to reduce and maintain healthy deer populations, then the results are what some Maine residents are seeing now. If hunters were allowed into these regions and MDIFW were free to “manage” these deer herds as they would like, the issues of Lyme disease would probably be reduced significantly.
Readers need to understand the functions and purposes of wildlife management and in this case the tying of the hands behind the backs of MDIFW deer managers prohibiting them the necessary tools to control deer populations.
IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF HUNTERS!