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Drug Duo Cures a Tick-Borne Disease -- in Mice

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – Babesiosis is a sometimes serious illness transmitted to humans by ticks. Now, researchers say a two-drug combo seems to have cured the illness in mice. Babesiosis – transmitted by the same ticks that transmit the bacteria behind Lyme disease – is caused by the B. microti parasite, which can develop resistance to current treatments. "This is the first radical cure against this parasite," said lead researcher Choukri Ben Mamoun. He's an associate professor of infectious diseases at Yale University, in New Haven, Conn. People infected with the babesiosis parasite sometimes have no symptoms. However, in other cases they can develop symptoms that range from mild and flu-like, to severe and life-threatening. Babesiosis is becoming more common in the United States, the researchers noted, and is more widespread in the Northeast and northern Midwest. The Yale team said ... Read more

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7 Ways to Give Ticks the Slip

Posted 22 May 2016 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, May 22, 2016 – While only a few tick species infect people with diseases, the rising popularity of many outdoor activities and the spread of residential developments has upped the odds that one of those creepy parasites might latch on to you. "Luckily, ticks don't fly, jump or fall from the sky," vector-borne disease expert Stephen Wikel said. He's a professor emeritus of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University's Frank H. Netter M.D. School of Medicine, in North Haven, Conn. "They generally move from grass to a living host, and crawl upwards, looking for a warm, moist area to feed. Ticks also have incredible anti-detection defenses. For example, their saliva is loaded with antihistamines, anticoagulants and other inhibitors that prevent wound healing, and dampen pain and itch responses; unfed nymphs are so small, they can be mistaken for freckles," he said. So, how can you ... Read more

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Study: Longer-Term Antibiotics Won't Ease 'Chronic Lyme Disease'

Posted 31 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 – People with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease are unlikely to find relief from longer-term antibiotic therapy, according to a new Dutch study. Although antibiotics are the correct therapy to treat Lyme disease when it is diagnosed early, longer-term use appears ineffective against the symptoms linked to the tick-borne illness and may carry the risk of side effects, the researchers said. "Most patients with Lyme disease are cured after initial antibiotic therapy. But, up to 20 percent of patients report persistent symptoms, such as muscular or joint pain, fatigue or concentration problems, despite initial antibiotic therapy," said study senior researcher Dr. Bart-Jan Kullberg. He is a professor of infectious diseases at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Treating these patients with longer courses of antibiotics has ... Read more

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Lyme Disease 'Biofilm' Eludes Antibiotics: Report

Posted 26 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2016 – The bacteria that causes Lyme disease protects itself from antibiotics by forming a slime-like layer called a biofilm, a new study shows. In many cases, Lyme disease returns after a patient has completed antibiotic treatment, and this finding may help explain why that occurs, the researchers said. University of New Haven researchers determined that Lyme disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria produces a biofilm that makes it up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than other bacteria. They reported their findings recently in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology. The discovery may lead to new ways to treat Lyme disease, said study author Eva Sapi, head of biology and environmental sciences at the university. "These findings could change the way we think about Lyme disease, especially in patients where it seems to be a persistent ... Read more

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Gene Discovery Could Point to New Lyme Disease Test: Study

Posted 13 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 12, 2016 – A distinctive genetic signature in people with Lyme disease could lead to new ways to diagnose the illness, scientists report. This gene signature occurs in the white blood cells of people infected with the tick-borne bacteria that causes Lyme disease, according to the researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Although 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many cases go undetected. With more accurate tests, the number of Americans diagnosed with the disease could be 10 times higher, the researchers said. "Improved diagnostics are urgently needed for Lyme disease," lead investigator Dr. Charles Chiu, an associate professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF, said in a university news release. "The tick that transmits Lyme ... Read more

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New Lyme Disease Bacteria Discovered in Upper Midwest: CDC

Posted 9 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 9, 2016 – A new Lyme disease-causing bacteria has been identified in the United States, and it may bring even worse symptoms, health officials said. Borrelia burgdorferi was the only bacteria species believed to cause Lyme disease in North America – until this new discovery, the researchers said. The newly-identified bacteria, called Borrelia mayonii, appears closely related to B. burgdorferi, say a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This discovery adds another important piece of information to the complex picture of tick-borne diseases in the United States," CDC microbiologist Jeannine Petersen said in an agency news release. The first indication there might be a new species of Lyme disease-causing bacteria was unusual lab test results from six samples from people suspected to have the illness. Further genetic testing at the CDC and the Mayo ... Read more

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Studying Tick Biology With Lyme Prevention in Mind

Posted 9 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 9, 2016 – Scientists who sequenced the genome, or genetic composition, of the Lyme disease-transmitting deer tick hope the achievement will lead to new ways to control the blood-sucking parasites. The decade-long effort involved an international team of 93 scientists from 46 institutions. "The genome provides a foundation for a whole new era in tick research," project leader Catherine Hill, a professor of medical entomology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release. "Now that we've cracked the tick's code, we can begin to design strategies to control ticks, to understand how they transmit disease and to interfere with that process," she said. The deer tick, also called the black-legged tick, is the first tick species to have its genome sequenced, the researchers said. The findings were published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature ... Read more

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Lyme-Causing Ticks Expand Their Range in U.S.

Posted 19 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 18, 2016 – Ticks that transmit Lyme disease are now found in nearly half of all counties in the United States, a much broader swath than was seen in the late 1990s, researchers report. The findings show "that the distribution of Lyme disease vectors has changed substantially over the last nearly two decades and highlights areas where risk for human exposure to ticks has changed during that time," said study author Dr. Rebecca Eisen, a research biologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease – transmitted by black-legged and western black-legged ticks often called deer ticks – can cause symptoms such as fever, headache and fatigue. It is often mistaken for the flu. Knowing where these ticks are found can help doctors make a correct diagnosis of Lyme disease, experts said. Researchers analyzed available data and found black-legged ticks ... Read more

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Pediatricians' Group Urges Action on Climate Change

Posted 26 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 26, 2015 – Dirtier air, heat stress, greater exposure to Lyme disease – these and other threats to children will increase because of climate change, a leading group of U.S. pediatricians warns. Doctors and policy makers must take steps to protect youngsters from the hazardous effects of climate change, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a new policy statement. "Every child needs a safe and healthy environment and climate change is a rising public health threat to all children in this country and around the world," academy president Dr. Sandra Hassink said in a news release from the organization. The threats to children also include natural disasters, more infectious diseases and problems with food and water supplies, the academy said. "Pediatricians have a unique and powerful voice in this conversation due to their knowledge of child health and disease, and their ... Read more

Related support groups: Lyme Disease, Malaria, Malaria Prevention, Malaria Prophylaxis, Heat Stress

Lyme Disease in U.S. Is Under-Reported, CDC Says

Posted 12 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12, 2015 – Lyme disease may be grossly under-reported in the United States. Government researchers say the tick-borne infection affects about 10 times as many Americans as previously indicated by confirmed case reports. About 329,000 cases of Lyme disease occur every year, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in their analysis of a nationwide health insurance claims database for 2005 through 2010. That's much higher than the 30,000 confirmed and probable Lyme cases reported to the CDC in 2010. But it tracks fairly well with a previous CDC estimate of about 300,000 Lyme disease cases annually, said lead author Dr. Christina Nelson, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC's division of vector-borne disease. "We've always had the understanding that cases are under-reported, so we always knew that surveillance doesn't capture every case," ... Read more

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Watch Out for Disease-Carrying Insects This Summer

Posted 6 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, July 5, 2015 – People who spend lots of time outdoors in the summer need to be careful about insect bites, an expert says. Certain insects, such as ticks and mosquitoes, may be carriers of disease, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, said Dr. George Ruggiero, chief of family medicine and director of medical education at Peconic Bay Medical Center in New York. Anyone who develops headache, fever, chills and aches after flu season ends should consider the possibility that they've been bitten, he said. People who develop a rash should also be seen by a doctor, he added. "A combination of education and taking the right precautions are the best ways to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne diseases," Ruggiero said in a medical center news release. "Always be cognizant of your surroundings and diligent in your self-examination in order to prevent any serious ... Read more

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Another Tick-Borne Illness Documented in Northeast

Posted 8 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 8, 2015 – The same ticks that spread Lyme disease may also carry a rarer bacteria that's causing serious illness in the northeastern United States. Like Lyme disease, Borrelia miyamotoi disease causes flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, chills and muscle pain. But at its most severe, it can lead to a serious brain infection – meningoencephalitis, researchers say. And nearly one-quarter of patients treated for the disease require hospitalization, a new study suggests. "This is an emerging infection and a lot of people and doctors have not heard about it," said lead researcher Dr. Philip Molloy, medical director of Imugen Inc., a Norwood, Mass.-based company that develops blood tests for tick-borne diseases. Imugen funded the new study. Fortunately, B. miyamotoi disease (BMD) can be treated with the same antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease, experts said. How many ... Read more

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In Northeast, Weather Changes May Mean More Ticks, Earlier

Posted 27 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 – Ticks in the northeastern United States are showing up earlier in the spring and expanding their range because of warmer temperatures over the past two decades, experts say. Although the Northeast is currently contending with record-breaking cold, the trend over the past 19 years has been toward warmer temperatures, the researchers explained. And this is enabling black-legged ticks that carry Lyme disease and other infections to begin feeding several weeks earlier than usual, the investigators found. This could increase the risk for Lyme disease over the coming decades, the researchers said. "The risk is changing with climate change. We need to prepare ourselves for tick avoidance education earlier in the season," said research co-author Richard Ostfeld, a senior scientist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. "The fact of the matter is ... Read more

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Lyme Disease More Serious, Costly Than Believed: Study

Posted 6 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 – Prolonged illness in Americans with Lyme disease is more widespread, serious and costly than previously believed, a new study suggests. The study authors – from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore – found that Lyme disease has a much greater impact on patients and the health system, costing up to $1.3 billion a year to treat. The investigators analyzed nearly 52,800 cases of Lyme disease in patients younger than 65 who were treated with antibiotics within 30 days of a Lyme disease test order and/or Lyme disease diagnosis. These patients were compared to a control group of nearly 264,000 people who did not have the tick-borne disease. Compared to the control group, Lyme disease patients cost the health care system about $2,900 more per patient, and involved 87 percent more visits to doctors and 71 percent more visits to emergency rooms ... Read more

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Health Tip: Safely Remove a Tick

Posted 8 Aug 2014 by Drugs.com

-- Promptly and safely removing a tick from your skin can help reduce the risk of illness and complications. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these guidelines for removing a tick: Using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as closely as possible to the surface of the skin. Pulling upward steadily and evenly (never jerking or twisting), gently remove the entire tick. If the mouth parts remain in the skin, try to remove with the tweezers. If you can't remove the remaining pieces, leave them alone and allow the skin to heal. Use rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub or water and soap to thoroughly cleanse the wound once the tick is removed. Dispose of the tick in a container of rubbing alcohol, wrapping up in tape, placing in a sealed bag or flushing it down a toilet. Read more

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