Ticks patiently hold onto blades of grass and shrubs in a position known as “questing” as they await their next meal or host. “Almost blind, ticks rely on chemosensation to identify and locate hosts for a successful blood meal,” write the authors of “Behavioral responses of Ixodes scapularis tick to natural products: development of novel repellents.”¹
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a virus transmitted by ticks, which affects the central nervous system and is typically found in Europe and Asia. TBE is best-known to cause meningitis, meningoencephalitis, and meningoencephalomyelitis. There is no treatment for TBE, but the disease is preventable through vaccinations.
In their article, Neuroborreliosis with Unusual Presentation: A Case Report, Khan and colleagues describe “a case of neuroborreliosis with very high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein content and devastating neurological injury.” The patient, a 41-year-old woman, had been ill for two months with “headaches, nausea, vomiting, 30-lb weight loss, and newly developed bilateral vision loss and dysphonia.” ¹
In their article “Risk factors for Lyme Carditis: A case-control study,” published in Preventive Cardiology, researchers from Stony Brook University Hospital described a wide range of Lyme carditis cases seen between 2010 – 2016.¹ Out of 247 patients admitted for Lyme disease, 18 met the inclusion criteria for Lyme carditis.
In 2019, the video posts covered topics ranging from psychiatric presentations, early signs of Lyme disease, sensory issues, childhood behavioral symptoms, treatment approaches, testing challenges, chronic manifestations to the dangers of co-infections and newly emerging tick-borne diseases.
In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, author Wendy Glauser describes frustration felt by doctors in Canada regarding Lyme disease. “People have heard these horrible stories about how Lyme is so awful and you suffer for years and years and nobody knows what’s wrong with you,” says Dr. Michelle Cohen in an interview with Glauser.
The top blogs for 2019 on Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses covered a range of topics. The impact of Lyme disease on cardiac functioning, neurologic changes, and autonomic dysfunction, along with case reports highlighting the unusual presentations of Lyme disease were of most interest to readers.
Can we kill ticks through controlled burns? In the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, researchers describe findings from a study in which they surveyed questing and on-host ticks in forests with various fire management regimes in an area near Houston, Texas. They looked at two transects with a history of controlled burns and two with no burns.
Lyme carditis can cause a broad range of symptoms. Patients may initially appear to have only a flu-like illness, however the severity of symptoms can change rapidly. In the article “Fatal Lyme carditis in New England: Two case reports,” Marx and colleagues highlight the importance of early recognition and treatment, even empirically, as Lyme carditis can be deadly when left untreated.
There are times when doctors need to consider whether or not to prescribe doxycycline for children with Lyme disease. The antibiotic is indicated for other tick-borne illnesses including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis. But doctors often avoid prescribing doxycycline to young children for fear that it may cause tooth staining, particularly when used in children less than 8 years old.
Dr. Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH, is a nationally recognized leader for his expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. For more than 30 years, he has been treating adolescents and adults suffering from Lyme disease.