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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » East Hampton Star

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Author Topic: East Hampton Star
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If you're out on the East end of Long Island take
all precautions. Spotted a lone star tick a few weeks ago on my neighbors dog. The rain, ugggh!

Posts: 465 | From New York, NY | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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copying this here by author who HAS CHRONIC LYME ....

East Hampton Star

Nature Notes

Putting the Bite On

By Larry Penny


Flash: Christine Hagen's wayward male osprey, Earl, returned six days after he disappeared. He dropped a fish in the nest and flew off, been feeding since.

All is well with Mr. and Mrs. Osprey in Sag Harbor west of Otter Pond, but there seems to be a problem with the three youngsters. As of the weekend, one is standing up looking as if it's ready to fly, one is crouching down, and the other is AWOL. Christine wonders if another Cain and Abel situation is developing. More next week.]

Other than the threat of overdosing on too much sun, being bitten by green-head flies and mosquitoes, and the occasional shark swimming by, the beach turns out to be the safest place in the great outdoors to hang around in.

The woods, fields, brushlands, and mish-mash edges are crawling with vermin -- well, not worms, but ticks and chiggers.

The spring rains and the ensuing lush vegetation have spawned a giant menagerie of creepy-crawlies.

Three kinds of ticks, all of which carry diseases, and chiggers are out of the starting gate and promise to cause a lot of misery, if not a lot of disease.

Saturday and Sunday I encountered chiggers while weeding on my hands and knees; they usually don't show up until August, but this year they are early and probably just as ubiquitous as last year.

I have been visited by chiggers, Trombicula alfreddugesi, every year since first getting them in the Culloden Point woods in September of 1983.

It's the chigger larvae that are troublesome. They are microscopic and almost translucent. I happened to get two on my arm and was able to watch them skedaddle about until I shook them off. I might have known chiggers were about, because two weeks earlier I found a red adult on some plants I was pressing.

Sunday night, about four hours after working outside, I felt the telltale itching on my hands and arms that signals the entry of the chigger mouth parts into my skin.

They were doing their dirty work, secreting proteolytic enzymes, digesting my epidermis, and sucking it up through a little feeding tube they created called a ``stylostome.'' I'd been had.

I took a hot bath, which kills the chiggers, but the itching persisted. Then I applied rubbing alcohol with a Q-tip to mollify the itch, after which I was able to sleep.

Yes, chiggers are everywhere. Unattended, their itchy ``bites'' last for days, but they don't give you diseases as ticks do.

The most notorious disease-carrying tick across most of America is the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis.

A single deer tick nymph or adult can infect you with Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis (nee ehrlichosis) -- that is, one biting tick can carry the spirochete bacteria, plasmodia, and non-spirochete bacteria that cause the three different diseases.

There are cases on record where a single tick bite has caused all three diseases.

The two bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, and the malaria-like babesiosis with antimalarial drugs. Long Island rivals Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts in the frequency of these three diseases, and anaplasmosis is by far the least frequent.

The lone star tick, Amblyoma americanum, the one with the white spot on the back, is becoming the most common tick on Long Island after first showing up on Fire Island, Gardiner's Island, and in Montauk in the late 1980s.

It is also able to carry more than one disease, but it is particularly dangerous because of the likelihood of it carrying HME, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, caused by two bacteria in the genus Ehrlichia.

The lone star tick can also give one tularemia, which it can pick up from cottontail rabbits, and a new disease, STARI, Southern tick-associated rash illness.

Fortunately, this latter disease has yet to be diagnosed in the northeastern United States.

Last, there is our most longstanding tick, the wood tick or dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, to worry about.

It carries the rickettsia bacterium that causes spotted fever, accompanied by a dangerously high fever, which can kill or fry one's brain.

When I was growing up in Mattituck across the bay, the wood tick was the only tick I ever experienced.

There is a case or two of spotted fever diagnosed on the South Fork every year, and every 10 years or so one proves fatal.

The best way to avoid encounters with chiggers and ticks is to stay away from vegetation, whether natural, invasive, or cultivated.

Permethrin, DEET, and other arthropod deterrents can be effective. When afield stay on trails.

Lone star ticks can quest high up, so brushing against a tree or shrub branch five feet off the ground may provide you with one.

Treat your dogs and cats, which can also get some of these diseases, so that they pick up as few ticks and chiggers as possible.

If you get bitten by a tick, your physician might want to treat you right away, as some of these diseases can be asymptomatic, that is, no bull's-eye rash, no fever, no achiness.

If you are not allergic to antibiotics, they can nip the disease in the bud.

I know, because I suffer from ``chronic Lyme,'' the actual existence of which will be debated forever and ever -- except by those afflicted.


informative article; thanks for posting! [Smile]

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up for those not seeing this and since i copied it want folks to be able to read it easier ...
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