Staten Island Advocate Staten Island NY June 21, 2006
Forum warns against ticks, Lyme disease
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 By LISA SCHNEIDER ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
What you don't know can hurt you -- especially if the unknown comes in the form of a tiny tick carrying Lyme disease-causing bacteria.
Last night, 130 people gathered at the College of Staten Island to learn more about Lyme and the ticks that spread it.
"They are around us and they are dangerous if they're not detected," said Borough President James P. Molinaro, who sponsored the forum.
Lyme disease, which is transmitted by deer ticks, can cause wide- ranging and vague symptoms, including headaches, arthritis, fever, confusion, aggression, facial paralysis and meningitis.
It is the United States' most common vector-borne disease, with transmission most frequent during June, July and August.
Researchers have not found evidence of deer ticks on Staten Island, although experts believe that soon could change due to the borough's deer population.
"It would be silly not to think you might have a problem down the road," said Dr. Thomas J. Daniels, vector ecologist at Fordham University. "A tick population can change a lot in five years."
Dog ticks, which can spread diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, constitute the vast majority of ticks in the city and on Staten Island.
In the meantime, many Islanders -- including about half of those attending the forum last night -- have contracted Lyme disease, perhaps while on vacation in the Catskills, Westchester, New Jersey or on Long Island.
Many of them never even saw the tick, don't know exactly when they were bitten and spent months going to doctors and trying to figure out the cause of their exhaustion, aches and mood swings.
"I think there's a lack of information, even in the medical field," said Dr. Ernest B. Visconti, chief of infectious diseases at Lutheran Medical Center.
If caught early, Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can cause irreparable damage.
Yet the ambiguous symptoms can make it difficult for patient and doctor to detect right away.
Lyme disease causes health effects similar to those resulting from tuberculosis, mononucleosis, lupus, cancer or lymphoma.
If a patient takes antibiotics to treat Lyme and doesn't get better, keep on looking, Dr. Visconti said.
"If you're feeling tired, get a good checkup from your doctor," he said.
People can protect themselves from deer ticks -- and Lyme disease -- by wearing white clothing, tucking shirts into pants and pants into boots, avoiding low brush and leafy brush, and periodically checking their skin and clothing for ticks.
Upon seeing a tick burrowed into their skin, people should use a tweezers to grab it as close to the skin as possible, then pull in one gentle but firm motion.
The longer an infected tick stays put, the more time it has to transmit the disease, said Dr. Richard Falco, medical entomologist at Fordham University.
"The threat of Lyme disease is removed when the tick is removed," he said.
Lisa Schneider covers health news for the Advance. She may be reached at [email protected]
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There is a lot of wisdom in what you say. Antibiotics can, and DO, fail a certain number of people. Also, not everyone can tolerate antibiotics, and not everyone wants to take them -- that is a perfectly valid choice.
I'd look into herbs and "alternative" treatments, as well as get some further testing done for other infections that could be causing the recalcitrant symptoms... not only tickborne diseases, but other things like mycoplamas and fungi and viruses.... so many of these things overlap so much that it make diagnosis and treatment really tricky.
Personally, I've used a combination of herbs, supplements and abx from the get-go, and my LLNP totally supports that!
-------------------- "Looks like freedom but it feels like death.. It's something in between, I guess"
Leonard Cohen, from the song "Closing Time" Posts: 822 | From California | Registered: Jan 2006
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I am not good at remembering where I see articles but I did see info once on time of transmission to the CNS..I think bacteria was found within 12 hours.
I have also heard that Bb has been found in the salivia of some ticks..So to me it is Russian Roulette to wait to treat or to think if it is taken off immediately there is no problem..
We all seem to be in agreement over this article..
Posts: 2360 | From SE PA | Registered: Mar 2004
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