Tracking ticks in Canada with digital images

Ticks capable of transmitting Lyme disease (LD) have been found in Quebec, Canada using the traditional specimen-based identification method, where submitted ticks are analyzed by the ‘gold standard’ method using a microscope. But now a study, published in Parasitology, demonstrates a novel approach to utilizing web-based submissions of digital images or photographs in tracking Ixodes scapularis ticks. [1]

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First case of reversible complete heart block due to Lyme disease reported in Canada

Complete heart block is an uncommon but important cause of morbidity in the United States. The cases of Lyme disease in Canada continue to climb in part due to the spread of the Ixodes Scapularis tick by birds. [1] In a recent issue of the American Journal of Medicine, doctors report on the first case of heart block due to Lyme disease (LD) in Canada. [2]

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Save the two-tier Lyme disease test

The western blot based two-tier test (TTT) is not that sensitive of a test. Only 25% of patients with early Lyme disease had a positive western blot TTT, according to a study published in the March 2017 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. And, only 55% of the early Lyme disease study participants had a positive western blot TTT on convalescence. [1]

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In culture, novel combinations of antibiotics prove effective for Lyme disease

Lyme disease can be difficult to treat. “One possibility is that persisting organisms are not killed by current Lyme antibiotics,” according to Feng and colleagues from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University. As reported in the journal Antibiotics, the authors examined the relative activity of drugs for activities against B. burgdorferi stationary phase cells. [1]

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Single dose prophylactic treatment of a tick bite only prevents a Lyme rash

In a recent review entitled “Lyme Disease: Emergency Department Considerations,” the authors recommend using a one-time, single dose of doxycycline for the prophylactic treatment of a tick bite, [1] despite the fact that there has been only one study exploring the effectiveness of such a limited dosage. The article also neglects to mention that there are doctors who take a different approach and advise against a one-time, single dose. [2]

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Temporary pacemaker effective in acute Lyme carditis patient with severe heart block

A 30-year-old man with acute Lyme carditis with severe heart block is successfully treated with a temporary pacemaker. “Quite frequently, these young patients are implanted with permanent pacemakers; given lack of knowledge on the transient nature of the cardiac conduction system inflammation,” according to researchers from Ontario, Canada. [1]

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Melting pot of tick-borne pathogens found in European hedgehogs

Researchers from the Netherlands have found that a sizeable number of the 1,205 ticks removed from European hedgehogs in urban and suburban areas contain multiple pathogens. In the journal Parasites & Vectors, the authors explain how these European hedgehogs contribute to a “Melting pot of tick-borne zoonoses.” [1]

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Could slowing down the swimming speed of the Lyme disease spirochete help treatment?

The pathogenesis of the Lyme disease bacterium depends on its ability to migrate into human tissue. The virulence of the Lyme disease spirochete could depend on its swimming speed, according to scientists. The authors of “Vancomycin Reduces Cell Wall Stiffness and Slows Swim Speed of the Lyme Disease Bacterium” report that antibiotis in vitro could negatively impact spirochete survival by impeding their swim speed.

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What is it about the Nanotrap® test we know for Lyme disease that led to support by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Developing a test which can accurately diagnose both early and late-stage Lyme disease has been an ongoing challenge for scientists. Multiple tests are on the market. But a relatively new test, the Nanotrap®, has caught the eye of and garnered financial support from billionaire Bill Gates and his foundation.

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Doctors recognize Lyme disease in a patient with kidney disease

Kidney disease induced by Borrelia burgdorferi has been commonly reported in dogs but in the literature there are only a few cases of Lyme disease-associated renal damage in humans. In the February 2017 issue of BMC Nephrology, Florens and colleagues discuss the “unique case of minimal change disease (MCD) associated with chronic Lyme borreliosis that resolved completely after treatment with ceftriaxone and corticosteroids.” [1]

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