Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases in the US - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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Ticks are arachnids, like spiders, scorpions and mites, from the Class Arachnida. While most tick bites do not transmit infectious disease, some very serious infections can be contracted from the bite of this vector.

ticks

Ixodes scapularis/CDC

Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive. Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to 3 years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they don’t find a host for their next feeding.

Ticks can feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Most ticks prefer to have a different host animal at each stage of their life.

In the US, the four most commonly reported tickborne diseases are Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000, or about 10-times the number of cases reported to the federal health agency annually.

In 2015 through the first 10 months of the year, 30,278 Lyme disease cases have been reported, just a hair above the number of case seen during the same period in 2014.

The Mid-Atlantic and New England states reported the most cases with Pennsylvania seeing the most by far with  9,751 cases, accounting for nearly a third of all cases in the US. This is followed by New Jersey ( 3,250), Upstate New York (3,028) and Massachusetts (2,523).

To date, 1,557 cases of the tickborne parasitic infection, Babesiosis cases have been reported to date. The most cases were reported from Upstate New York (361), Massachusetts (347) and Connecticut (263).

Massachusetts has seen the most cases of anaplasmosis to date in 2015 with 573 cumulative. Upstate New York (573) and Wisconsin (400) follow.

There has been slightly more than 1,000 cases of Ehrlichiosis caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis with Arkansas (177) and Missouri (170) the only states reporting over 100 cases.

Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is the primary vector of Ehrlichia chaffeensis  in the United States. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks following a tick bite. Ehrlichios is diagnosed based on symptoms, clinical presentation, and later confirmed with specialized laboratory tests. The first line treatment for adults and children of all ages is doxycycline.  Ehrlichiosis and other tickborne diseases can be prevented.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63

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66 Comments

  1. Jeff Levy says:

    An overview of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases can be found at http://www.jimapco.com/lyme/learnthefacts.pdf.

    • Mark Thorson says:

      That’s from an unreliable source of information. For a science-based, evidence-based perspective on Lyme disease, go here:

      http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/lyme.html

      • Jeff Levy says:

        Mr. Thorson, you appear to have a bias against the latest research. I am sure other readers would like to know if your opinions are objective and if you are a person who should be relied on as a reliable source. The only information I can find about “Mark Thorson” is contained in the following news report. Does this report pertain to you? If not, please provide readers with more information about you so your reliability can be determined. http://pamplinmedia.com/component/content/article?id=39507

        • Mark Thorson says:

          Latest research? Is July of this year recent enough? Follow-up study on 100 patients who had confirmed Lyme disease and recommended treatment checked annually for 11-20 years finds no significant difference in health status from general population.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25888674

          Of course, it’s obvious why you jump to the ad hominem attack against me. I cite sources based on scientific evidence, not quackery from the Lyme Action Network or ILADS. If you could cite evidence of comparable quality to support the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis, you would. But that evidence does not exist. So you have no alternative but to attack the person who challenges your cherished delusions, rather than the considerable body of science-based evidence against it.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            You’re just reposting the juvenile attack Jeff Levy used against me when he couldn’t challenge the science-based argument refuting the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis. I did not think it was necessary to deny such a ridiculous attack, but indeed that Mark Thorson is not me.

            This always happens when the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis is challenged. The scientific evidence is against the “Lyme advocates” who promote this hypothesis, and invariably they turn to personal attacks on those who challenge this hypothesis because the science is not on their side.

          • Laura M. says:

            Why are you so defensive? (strange response)

      • Laura M. says:

        Dear Mark,
        What specifically makes Mr. Levy’s article unreliable. I’m finding a lot of factual information.

        “Ticks transmit the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, as well as babesiosis, bartenellosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Powhassan virus, Borrelia miyamotoi, and other diseases” (Common knowledge)

        “Much more research is necessary, and much better education, diagnostics, and treatments should be national imperatives.” (More research doesn’t need to be done? No problems at all with diagnostics?)

        “At least a dozen serious pathogens are known to be passed on through tick bites. The most common in this region include: Babesia – a malaria-like protozoa that causes serious illness that usually starts with a high fever and chills. As it progresses, the patient may develop anemia, fatigue, headache, drenching sweats, muscle aches, and/or nausea.” (??????).

        What is your specific problem with the article? Let me guess. Everything with regard to a site as unprofessional as Quackwatch is reliable, but any kind of differing opinion is unreliable, right?

        Please explain.

  2. Laura M. says:

    Dear Mark,
    Your opinion still seems biased. Quackwatch is not known for its objectivity (clearly a site dedicated to upholding outdated ideas and maintaining the status quo. It’s sad that some doctors feel threatened by emerging research). Maybe you should try exposing yourself to more than just one article.

    http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf
    http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004976
    http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n7/full/emi201453a.html
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029914
    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/178/3/722.full.pdf

    • Mark Thorson says:

      The Quackwatch page is a review that cites 47 sources, as recent as 2012. It was written in 2013. There’s nothing outdated about it. I’ll comment on each source you cite.

      http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf

      Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

      no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

      It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

      However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA
      from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

      http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004976

      This study finds a suppression in immune response after Lyme disease. It actually points toward a mechanism by which “chronic Lyme disease” may be simulated. Rather than a lingering infection, it may be re-infection facilitated by an impaired immune response after the original infection has been eradicated. Rather than being evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” diagnosis, it offers a plausible mechanism by which someone cured of Lyme disease may be susceptible to getting it again. This could be the mechanism by which some people think they’ve been harboring an infection all along.

      http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n7/full/emi201453a.html

      This paper explicitly states that:

      “Although antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease is effective in the majority of cases, especially during the early phase of the disease, a minority of patients suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). It is unclear what mechanisms drive this problem, and
      although slow or ineffective killing of Borrelia burgdorferi has been suggested as an explanation, there is a lack of evidence that viable organisms are present in PTLD.”

      Yup, that’s my view. No evidence for lingering infection. The rest of this paper describes in vitro studies of antibiotics that might
      be more effective than standard treatment.

      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029914

      This study actually addresses the question of whether there can be a lingering infection after antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, in monkeys.

      Human antibiotic therapy is based on clinical trials to determine the effective dose. There is no monkey standard for effective dose, so these researchers developed their own procedure for determining an “aggressive” dose. Their standardization procedure did not actually use Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria — they used two other unrelated species of bacteria to determine the dose. Their standard for an “aggressive” dose was not determined in living monkeys — it was made using the two substitute bacteria on agar plates. It’s quite possible that these monkeys were severely underdosed, and that the evidence of lingering infection would not have appeared if they had used an effective dose.

      When the possible flaws are considered, as well as differences between humans and monkeys, this is very weak evidence that lingering infection can occur in humans after antibiotic therapy at the accepted dose levels.

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/178/3/722.full.pdf

      This 1998 study reports the effects of Borrelia burgdorferi infection on the nervous system of untreated monkeys. Nobody disputes that untreated Lyme disease can have severe neurological consequences. This does not speak to the question of whether “chronic Lyme disease” persists in humans after antibiotic treatment for the disease.

      • Laura M. says:

        Yikers Thorson! There is a lot information about you on the internet. At this moment, I don’t know if I should be happy or scared. You have an interesting legal history. All this time I’ve been thinking that you were a devoted quackwatch fan spreading the word about your favorite website. I didn’t think you actually knew those guys.

        Holy cow! I get it now. The poor Lyme patients are funding your adversaries. You don’t know what to do, so you are lashing out by declaring “quakery” right and left, and calling everyone “charlatans”. Take a deep a breath, man. Calm down. I think you need some kind of intervention before things become serious. What are you going when the profits of the wellness industry surpass the profits of the industrial medical complex? Please don’t jump. I mean that with sincerity. Try to stop thinking about people taking vitamins. Deep breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Again. You are in a safe space now. Tell the truth. Who do you work for?

    • Mark Thorson says:

      http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf

      Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

      no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

      It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

      However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

    • Mark Thorson says:

      http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n7/full/emi201453a.html

      This paper explicitly states that:

      “Although antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease is effective in the majority of cases, especially during the early phase of the disease, a minority of patients suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). It is unclear what mechanisms drive this problem, and
      although slow or ineffective killing of Borrelia burgdorferi has been suggested as an explanation, there is a lack of evidence that viable organisms are present in PTLD.”

      Yup, that’s my view. No evidence for lingering infection. The rest of this paper describes in vitro studies of antibiotics that might
      be more effective than standard treatment.

    • Mark Thorson says:

      http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029914

      This study actually addresses the question of whether there can be a lingering infection after antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, in monkeys.

      Human antibiotic therapy is based on clinical trials to determine the effective dose. There is no monkey standard for effective dose, so these researchers developed their own procedure for determining an “aggressive” dose. Their standardization procedure did not actually use Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria — they used two other unrelated species of bacteria to determine the dose. Their standard for an “aggressive” dose was not determined in living monkeys — it was made using the two substitute bacteria on agar plates. It’s quite possible that these monkeys were severely underdosed, and that the evidence of lingering infection would not have appeared if they had used an effective dose.

      When the possible flaws are considered, as well as differences between humans and monkeys, this is very weak evidence that lingering infection can occur in humans after antibiotic therapy at the accepted dose levels.

      • Laura M. says:

        You are right. I can do better with my research. Thanks for challenging me.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4373819/
        “In this study, we conducted the first in vitro drug combination study using persister active drugs [16] in combination with the currently recommended Lyme antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin or other antibiotics to achieve more effective eradication of B. burgdorferi persisters. We found it is more effective to kill B. burgdorferi persisters by drug combination than single antibiotic, but bacteriocidal activity depended on the particular antibiotics used (Table 2). It is interesting to note that although persister active antibiotics such as the lipopeptide daptomycin and beta-lactam cefoperazone themselves were quite active against planktonic B. burgdorferi persisters (both spirochetal and round body forms), they were unable to eradicate the more resistant microcolony form when used alone or even in combination with some drugs (Fig. 2). Previous studies showed that tinidazole, metronidazole, and tigecycline were more active against B. burgdorferi round body and microcolonies than doxycycline and amoxicillin, but they could not completely kill the microcolonies even at high concentrations of antibiotics [24], indicating the limited activity of these individual antibiotics against B. burgdorferi persisters.”

        What are these persisters they keep talking about?

        http://aac.asm.org/content/early/2015/07/21/AAC.00883-15
        “In addition, we determine experimentally and mathematically that the spirochetes which persist post-treatment do not have a longer lag phase, but exhibit a slower growth rate than untreated spirochetes.”

        Persisters again? Does the infection linger??

        http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004976
        “Previous clinical studies have suggested that the antibody responses to Bb might fail to be induced long-term, as patients treated with antibiotics lose measurable Borrelia-specific serum IgG [18].”
        “These findings suggested that the host is capable of producing memory to Bb antigens, but that memory formation is suppressed for months after initial infection.”

        So there is a possibility of a false-negative Lyme test?

        http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0086907
        “The agent of Lyme borreliosis, Borrelia burgdorferi, evades host immunity and establishes persistent infections in its varied mammalian hosts. This persistent biology may pose challenges to effective antibiotic treatment. Experimental studies in dogs, mice, and non-human primates have found persistence of B. burgdorferi DNA following treatment with a variety of antibiotics, but persisting spirochetes are non-cultivable. Persistence of B. burgdorferi DNA has been documented in humans following treatment, but the significance remains unknown.”

        Oh, so B. burgdorferi is hard to cultivate. Maybe that brings into question the articles you’ve sited.

        http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/v5/n1/full/nrmicro1557.html
        “Several well-recognized puzzles in microbiology have remained unsolved for decades. These include latent bacterial infections, unculturable microorganisms, persister cells and biofilm multidrug tolerance. Accumulating evidence suggests that these seemingly disparate phenomena result from the ability of bacteria to enter into a dormant (non-dividing) state. The molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation of dormant persister cells are now being unravelled and are the focus of this review”

        http://www.nature.com/emi/journal/v3/n7/full/emi201453a.html
        The current antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease, doxycycline and amoxicillin, have little or no activity against B. burgdorferi persisters in vitro (Table 1, Figure 3). There has been significant interest in identifying drugs that target persisters in general,32 and B. burgdorferi persisters in particular.20 However, because of the technical challenge of the current B. burgdorferi culture system, it has not been possible to apply the high throughput methodology that has been used to identify antibiotics active against persisters of other bacteria to B. burgdorferi.

        This is the emerging/new research we are talking about. Quackwatch does not accurately report contradictory findings and seems to have preferences the research that reinforces the name-calling of other professionals and sick. How old are you by the way? (It’s immature.) Sorry if everything is not a clinical trial. I’m sure you understand how the phases of research work. You don’t start off with clinical trials. You start with animals and work your way up to clinical trials. Maybe you don’t have respect for this process like you claim to.

        • Mark Thorson says:

          Now you’re just reposting links to studies you’ve posted before. Studies in cell cultures do not demonstrate that these antibiotic-resistant forms of Borrelia burgdorferi ever occur in humans, nor that they are responsible for any of the post-Lyme symptoms reported by many people. We already have plausible mechanisms for long-term post-Lyme effects that don’t postulate the existence of lingering infections that can’t be detected by clinical laboratory tests. Nobody disputes that a serious Lyme infection can cause neurological damage or adverse immune system effects. For people who live in areas where Lyme is endemic, re-infection after successful eradication of an earlier infection is a real possibility.
          Of course, asking my age is another example of the attempt to make an ad hominem attack to draw the spotlight off the utter lack of evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis.

          • Laura M. says:

            I actually posted links to other studies as well. I noticed the word persisters kept coming up. That’s weird. Maybe the infection persists.

        • Laura M. says:

          All these new studies are talking about “persisters”. What if the infection persisted? How could we find out? Maybe the long-held beliefs have been wrong this whole time. I think this is a question that needs to be explored for the sake of the sick patients, don’t you? I mean if Lyme patient advocacy groups are disputing guidelines, I think that at the very least, scientists should commit themselves to answering these questions with better research. Scientists embrace these types of questions, right?

          More research definitely needs to be done before we come to anymore conclusions.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            These are in vitro cell culture studies. They are not evidence that this ever occurs in humans, nor that “chronic Lyme disease” is a real phenomenon that accounts for the complaints reported by many people following infection with Lyme disease and treatment, especially when no infection can be found by clinical laboratory testing and no signs of bacterial infection (such as inflammation) are present. There already are reasonable explanations for these complaints, such as neurological damage that persists after the infection has been eradicated. It is not necessary to postulate the existence of an undetectable, undemonstrable infection when these complaints can be explained by a much more reasonable mechanism.

    • Mark Thorson says:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/178/3/722.full.pdf

      This 1998 study reports the effects of Borrelia burgdorferi infection on the nervous system of untreated monkeys. Nobody disputes that untreated Lyme disease can have severe neurological consequences. This does not speak to the question of whether “chronic Lyme disease” persists in humans after antibiotic treatment for the disease.

    • Mark Thorson says:

      http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf

      Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

      no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

      It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

      However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

      [My apologies for anyone who sees my replies out of sequence. I did not post them that way. The broken software on the ONT host has scrambled them.]

    • Mark Thorson says:

      [My apologies for anyone who sees my replies out of order. I did not post them this way. The ONT host broken software is scrambling the order.]

      http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf

      Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

      no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

      It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

      However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

    • Mark Thorson says:

      With regard to the Miklossy paper . . .
      Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

      http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

      no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

      It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

      However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

      [My apologies to anyone reading my replies out of order. They were scrambled by the software on the ONT side.]

  3. Mark Thorson says:

    The Quackwatch page is a review that cites 47 sources, as recent as 2012. It was written in 2013. There’s nothing outdated about it. I’ll comment separately on each source you cite.

  4. Mark Thorson says:

    http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004976

    This study finds a suppression in immune response after Lyme disease. It actually points toward a mechanism by which “chronic Lyme disease” may be simulated. Rather than a lingering infection, it may be re-infection facilitated by an impaired immune response after the original infection has been eradicated. Rather than being evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” diagnosis, it offers a plausible mechanism by which someone cured of Lyme disease may be susceptible to getting it again. This could be the mechanism by which some people think they’ve been harboring an infection all along.

    • Laura M. says:

      Hello again. It’s great to see you exploring some of the nuances and complexities that make this disease so controversial. I hope we both can agree that too many people have remained sick following antibiotic therapy. Thanks for commenting on all of the articles I posted too.

      Throughout your posts, your main interest seems to lie in the promotion of Quackwatch rather than finding solutions for those who are sick (focusing on what not to do is not a solution). Unfortunately, calling people “quacks” inherently lacks objectivity. If what you had to share was credible, you wouldn’t have to resort to naming calling. You simply could report the facts. I noticed that the nuances and complexities that we are discussing are not addressed on the website: “Lyme disease, when diagnosed early, is readily treatable with oral antibiotics.” What about those who are not diagnosed early? What works for those people? Not antibiotics, not herbs, not hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Why is the immune system suppressed? I wonder.

      Also, I’m not sure if you are aware, but there will never be funding for clinical trials exploring the efficacy/effectiveness of natural treatments. There is no money to be made in funding this type of research because you can’t patent something that is natural.

      With regard to research, I think we can conclude that findings are contradictory in some cases and complex in others. There is evidence of lingering infection in the monkies after all. I will be sure to post more articles later. Since an increasing number of individuals are testifying to the devasting impact of the disease, maybe Quackwatch could place more emphasis on the consequences for those who remain sick (for whatever reason) rather than narrowly focusing on the efficacy/effectiveness of treatment during the early stages.

      For that matter, maybe Quackwatch could change their name. How about: Research We Support And Treatments That Have Not Been Researched And Never Will Be Researched In All Likelihood But We Are Not Going to Resort to Name-Calling Because We Really Don’t Know (something like that). Something with more objectivity.

      Feel Free to Comment:
      http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/2/149.full
      http://aac.asm.org/content/early/2015/05/20/AAC.00864-15.abstract

      Take care,
      Laura

      • Mark Thorson says:

        You’re wrong about natural treatments not being patentable. There are many patents on natural treatments. All you need is something new. If you are the first person to discover that eating a certain berry or herb cures Lyme disease, you can get a patent on that. What you can’t do is get a patent on something already long-known. If you find some ancient Chinese recipe for a tea that cures Lyme disease — even if you are the only person alive today who knows about it — you can’t patent that.

        With regard to the article in CID, it is a response to this article, and should be seen in this light:

        http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/2/143.long

        The response isn’t a study or a report of new data. It’s a review from someone at ILADS which summarizes their best evidence at that time (2007). I take the original article to which it was a response as a more sober summation of the case against the existence of “chronic Lyme disease”, with the exceptions described by the author.

        I’ll comment separately on your second citation, as the ONT website seems to choke on comments that are too long or have too many links.

        • Laura M. says:

          I actually didn’t know that. I’m glad you get the point. The funding for research on long-known natural treatments is non-existent because it is not a money maker for pharmaceutical companies. It actually sounds unethical to be patenting newly discovered berries. What are your feelings on that?

          • Mark Thorson says:

            I wasn’t referring to “newly discovered berries”. I was referring to discovering new uses. If I discovered a heretofore unknown berry in the rainforest, I don’t think I could patent the berry (though the U.S. has a weird category for “plant patents”, but I think that only applies to new hybrids). But if I also discovered that the berry cured Lyme disease, I could patent that use of the berry. And it wouldn’t have to be a new berry. If I were the first to discover a specific new combination of existing well-known natural products that cured Lyme disease, that would be completely patentable, and I think it should be. The reason why you don’t see that much research in natural products as medicines is because that field has been thoroughly plowed over. There isn’t much left to discover out there. But that doesn’t mean nothing is being discovered. Artemisinin from a Chinese herb as a treatment for malaria won a Nobel Prize this year for its discoverer. Paclitaxel originally from the Pacific yew tree is an important cancer chemotherapy drug introduced in 1992. Trabectedin from the sea squirt was introduced for cancer chemotherapy in 2007.
            The notion you can’t patent natural therapies is a widespread myth propagated by manufacturers of “alternative medicine” products to excuse not doing clinical trials of their products. “We can’t patent it” they say, which is total baloney.

          • Laura M. says:

            Interesting. So herbs can be helpful against disease, but since there is limited research, we have a limited amount of knowledge (maybe a naturopath would know more…oh, wait you think they are quacks). I forget about your arrogance sometimes, but never for long. In the previous post you said “you can’t do is get a patent on something already long-known”. Most herbs are long known, right?

          • Laura M. says:

            Side note: did you know I cured my Malaria taking Artemisinin? You should do a write up about it on Quackwatch.

          • Laura M. says:

            Seriously. If Artemisnin is not quackery, the public needs to differentiate.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            Artemisinin has passed clinical trials just like any other drug. The fact it was discovered in an herb is not relevant. The same standard applies to all drug candidates. If it fails, yet people continue to promote it (as in the case of laetrile), that’s not science — it’s quackery.

          • Laura M. says:

            You’re confusing me. A Nobel Prize winning discovery is quackery. If anything you should be out there raising money for clinical trials to test this Nobel Prize winning discovery. I guess you just enjoy calling things quackery all day instead. When your wife doesn’t make a meal according to the same standard each time, do you call her quackery? This what I envision you doing.

      • Mark Thorson says:

        The ASM article is an in vitro study finding a form of antibiotic-resistant cells in cultured Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This doesn’t directly demonstrate that this occurs in humans. It only demonstrates a plausible mechanism for antibiotic resistance. It is not disputed that some cases of Lyme disease are not eradicated by a first course of antibiotic therapy. What is disputed is a) whether lingering infection undetectable by clinical laboratory procedures is responsible for the post-Lyme symptoms reported by many people, and b) whether long-term treatment with aggressive antibiotic therapy is an appropriate treatment for these people.

        • Laura M. says:

          Right. I’m glad that you acknowledge it’s disputed. Are you aware that when it comes to research you begin with animals and work your way up to clinical trials. You don’t just start conducting experiments on humans whimsically (you know this, right?). There is a process. There are phases. Sorry if all of the experiments can’t be clinical trials. It doesn’t mean they don’t raise important questions. I think because so many people have been impacted in such a negative way, you should consider reserving your judgements a little bit. You don’t seem like the patient-centered-type though.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            The problem is that the dispute is between respectable scientists on one side and medical charlatans on the other side. If you suspect there’s an unrecognized human disease lurking in the shadows, you certainly do go to a clinical study. And that has been done. I’ve posted this link before, but you seem to have ignored it.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25888674
            100 people who were positively identified as having had Lyme disease were successfully treated and followed up with annual checkups for 11 to 20 years. Their health status was not found to be different from the general population.

          • Laura M. says:

            Who are you to determine which scientists are respectable and which ones are charlatans?

          • Laura M. says:

            Mark,
            With regard to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25888674. It is great that Wormser et. al did a longitudinal study. Unfortunately, Wormser is the lead author of the IDSA guidelines that are disputed by patient groups. A study out of Johns Hopkins contradicts those findings. I can’t find the study, but here is an article; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150205095049.htm.
            You can sling mud at the scientists you don’t agree with all day long. When presenting information to the public, you need to report that information accurately. If others studies exist with contradicting findings, that should be noted. I didn’t realize research coming out of Hopkins was done by charlatans.

            Ultimately, patients do not need to be in the middle of your mud slinging, which is what is going on here. Patients do not benefit from you calling scientists names as questions arise. If anything, patients benefit from the scientific process which embraces questions. This is more than the second time you have shown your true colors. Since Lyme disease is a health issue that has caused great debate, we need to have pause before declaring mission accomplished.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            You dismiss the Wormser study because he was involved with creating the IDSA guidelines? In what way would the IDSA guidelines be improved if they were not based on clinical studies? Just because the science does not find the results you wish them to find does not make them invalid. You’re entitled to your own wishes and beliefs, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Science follows where the facts lead, without regard to wishful thinking.

          • Laura M. says:

            Why did you dismiss the Hopkins study? I didn’t dismiss the Wormser study. I’m the one saying findings are contradictory. You’re the presenting a one-sided truth.

    • Laura M. says:

      With regard to http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004976: I’m not sure I understand how “it offers a plausible mechanism by which someone cured of Lyme disease may be susceptible to getting it again”. Is there some kind of weird correlation between immune suppression and a recurrence of tick bites? Someone with immune suppression following a Lyme infection is more likely to get bit by a tick a second time? You are working hard to make connections.

      • Mark Thorson says:

        Normally if you recover from a disease, you acquire some immunity to re-infection with that disease. What this study showed is an immune suppression which occurs after recovery from Lyme disease, which would make someone susceptible to re-infection. Many people who get Lyme disease live in areas where it is endemic, and this would explain why people who have recovered from Lyme disease could be just as susceptible or even more susceptible to re-infection.

        • Laura M. says:

          You must think Lyme patients are like those people who get struck by lightning multiple times. I’m not into statistics, but I think the probability of what you suggest is happening to a large population of sick individuals isn’t really probable.

          • Mark Thorson says:

            Only about 500 people a year are struck by lightning in the U.S. About 300,000 people a year get Lyme disease in the U.S. So, no, they are nothing alike. Re-infection with Lyme after successful eradication of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria with the IDSA-recommended antibiotic therapy is much, much more likely than being struck twice by lightning.

          • Laura M. says:

            What facts do you have to support that statement. How many people become re-infected with Lyme according to the IDSA?

          • Mark Thorson says:

            The estimate of people hit by lightning is based on data from the NOAA. The incidence of Lyme disease is the number generally used, but there are estimates which are higher. IDSA nor anyone else has a quantitative estimate of Lyme re-infection, and I didn’t suggest they do. If you re-read what I wrote more carefully, you’ll see that I was referring to the IDSA-recommended antibiotic treatment. Because bing infected by Lyme disease is about 600 times more common than being hit by lightning, it seems reasonable to say that re-infection by Lyme is much more common than being hit more than once by lightning.

          • Laura M. says:

            so you don’t know how many people have been re-infected with Lyme disease. Thanks for playing.

  5. Mark Thorson says:

    http://www.miklossy.ch/media/Bb_AlzheimerJAD.pdf

    Very interesting 2004 paper claiming a strong association between Alzheimer’s Disease and Borrelia infection in the central nervous system of people with AD from a region in Switzerland in which such infections are endemic. The remarkably high rate of Borrelia positive results suggests their testing protocol may have a high false positive rate. In the well-controlled tests reported here:

    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/182/3/1006.full.pdf

    no Borrelia infection was detected in either AD subjects or controls.

    It is an interesting report and I wonder why there has been so little follow-up to the 2004 paper, such as replication by other laboratories. Most subsequent literature have been review articles by the lead author Miklossy.

    However, this is not evidence for the “chronic Lyme disease” hypothesis because none of these people were diagnosed with Lyme disease while they were alive, nor were they ever given antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. It’s an intriguing possibility for the etiology of AD, but there have been other small studies which have presented even stronger evidence for other oddball hypotheses for AD (such as the toxic amino acid BMAA from blue-green algae). AD is a particular interest of mine, and I see I have more to learn about this one. Thanks for the pointer!

    • Laura M. says:

      No, thank you. It is great you are considering other perspectives. Why is there a discrepancy between patient experience and the IDSA’s explanation of the disease process?

      • Mark Thorson says:

        It’s because patient experience is subjective and shaped by the patient’s own beliefs. If a medical charlatan convinces someone that they have a chronic infection, they will attribute their symptoms to that cause. Nobody disputes that following successful antibiotic therapy people can have persistent symptoms. Neurological and/or immunological damage may occur during the infection and persist after the infection is eradicated. Unfortunately, there’s not much that medical science can offer to remediate these symptoms other than time (symptoms frequently resolve given enough time). But for the charlatan, this is an opportunity. Convince the victim that there’s a lingering infection that can be treated with aggressive antibiotic therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, etc., and he can make money off that victim for a long time. And when time alone ameliorates the symptoms, the charlatan takes credit for having delivered a cure. That’s how the business works.

        • Laura M. says:

          Of course, all the charlatans out there. Why are so worried about the charlatans anyway? I mean, if they are charlatans, you don’t have to worry about the business model. Sick people will pay lots of money, won’t get better, and will return to their regular physician, right? You seem overly concerned with the free-market. Calling people “quacks” is a defensive move. If they are charlatans, they will go out of business or will be sued.

          I like your frequent use of the word charlatans. I give you credit. It’s not a word I hear often.

          With regard to natural treatments, there is research supporting the improvement of symptoms and I know you know this. This could ultimately improve one’s quality of life regardless of the ailment. What’s wrong with taking turmeric to improve neurological symptoms when research has found it to be neuroprotective? Once again, why do you spend so much time on calling things “quackery”, when you could be the main Quackwatch guy supporting clinical trials for these treatments. The public wants know definitively. As long as there haven’t been clinical trials, there will be a question. But if you choose to raise the money and support the clinical trial process, you can call things “quackery” with more definitiveness. On the other hand, maybe you will learn of something new that is effective for a sick patient. The charlatans and the naive sick people are ready for clinical trials with hyperbaric oxygen, turmeric, artemisinin etc.. All the Quackwatch folks are ready too. If clinical trials proved once and for all that these treatments were quackery, there would be more power to the word “quackery”. The Quackwatch folks would probably throw confetti.

          Since you are so close with the Quackwatch folks, will you suggest they add a recommendation to the bottom line of their Lyme disease page: “Go home and wither”. I noticed that was missing with the other recommendations they had.

  6. Cash says:

    Good Lord! This must be the WORST write up I’ve seen yet! FACTS are all wrong from the first sentance to the last…Those who write these articles should be fired if they don’t contain 90% truth….this one is 90% GARBAGE! Hey while ya at it…Ya forgot the Co-Infection Bartonella! What about the Instant death Powassan, Bourbon, Heartland Virus? Did you mention the woman who lost ALL her limbs to RSMF??? MILLIONS of lives are suffering and dying each year…..and CDC admited that close to half a MILLION ….WILL…..become INFECTED …EACH YEAR… what a crap article….

    • The article is accurate. Of course I’m aware of the other tickborne infections; however, the article was about the official data on the four most common seen in the US.
      Thanks for reading.
      Robert

      • Cash says:

        Robert Herriman got bad news for you…your “official data” is NOT accurate and is NOT the truth… Robert Herriman…for sure I’m not you…but if I’m gonna write an article…I wouldn’t research “one side” I’d have to say you need to read more, perhaps some of the Pokeepsie Journal..perhaps Dr. Horwitz write ups and speeches… Robert…sure you may have brought “some” awareness to the table…but in all fairness you hide the sevearity of Lyme+Co-Infections, we are in an Epidemic going fast into a Pandemic. I’m glad “you” are “aware” of the other tickborne infections…but why hide them from the public…with your “awareness” article? Why did you fail to mention that other insects are spreading this? Why did you leave out the blood and organ donation is contaminated, and that it’s sexually transmitted as well…..OK OK OK! I understand Robert…this truth is too much to soak in…OK…let’s go back to numbers, your article enjoy’s numbers right? OK…here’s a fact for you..On a small road in NY, the tick drag found over 100 Ticks!!!!! Each Tick will lay 3-30 Thousand eggs..So…that means in just one small area in NY BEAT CDC’s # of close to half a MILLION will become infected EACH YEAR state wide….again…one road in NY beats the statewide amount…Ohh, ya gonna hit me with the crap that “most” ticks don’t carry anything harmful…beep beep wrong again! MOST DO! Let’s forget this cuz this is too much for most to accept…let’s go back to the CDC’s #’s YOU MEAN to TELL ME…that we Victims and soon to be Victims should be “ok” with CDC’s WILL become INFECTED #’s while CDC, IDSA, NIH,FDA do nothing? You ok with..close to 1000 people EACH day becoming infected!! OUCH OUCH OUCH….and that’s with their incorrect state wide tally….Robert….I guess you can stand that your “article” was “accurate” but…the math just don’t line up….the left out data…just makes it more of a crime………….

        • Mr Cash at Lyme’s a Crime,
          The purpose of the article was to put out officials government numbers, not to discuss every possible situation concerning Lyme. If you have better numbers, please share.
          Thanks for reading,
          Robert

          • Cash says:

            I am truely sorry Mr. Herriman…I did share better numbers…actually very scary #’s…..and actually so did your “Official gov’t numbers”…I’m also very sorry…but there IS…..so MUCH to discuss as far as every possible situation concerning Lyme+…People have the right to know what they WILL catch according to CDC’s #’s…and they have the right to know they WILL suffer….and some WILL die…they have the right to know that their children and pets will be Victims of Disease’s that Insurance will NOT cover…They need to know that CDC and IDSA will do nothing to remove the corrupt Guidelines of treatment…they need to know that NObody in gov’t is working to get better tests and treatment…They need to know that a young woman has made a Urine test that is VERY accurate but not being used…they need to know that a Lizard’s blood did not catch Lyme+ and cleaned the blood in infected ticks! They’ve made meds out of Lizard blood for diabities…but why not Lyme?….People need to know that Doctors refused to treat a 19 month old baby for Lyme by the request of the Lyme infected Mom….they killed the baby….and there is proof….and the cornor’s report confirms it……There is a woman who lost all her limbs to RSMF….. I’m sorry Robert but these recent “numbers” of peoples lives…..seem to be important….what’s next… they gonna ask for the Victims SS# before providing life saving treatment….Ohh, I forgot…it’s all in the #’s………your welcome for reading….but who’s really listening? After all…..it’s only #’s of peoples lives suffering and dying.

          • Mr Cash,
            Put all this together into an well researched, hyperlinked source article, and maybe I’ll publish it….if you really want to get the word out….it is a crime after all.
            Thanks
            Robert

  7. Laura M. says:

    Ultimately, I found Mr. Levy’s article to be more helpful than the Quackwatch article, so I will repost it.

    An overview of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases can be found at http://www.jimapco.com/lyme/learnthefacts.pdf.

    • Cash says:

      Laura M……..YOU ROCK! Too funny…cuz I know most all links, many you mentioned and then some…then I’m like…what’s this Jimapco???thing don’t recall that in the Millions I have filed away…LOL…well cuz by luck or bad luck, I was in my old hometown…due to a death in the Family…and in the Paper was this awesome write up!!!!! I took it with me..and have shared it with groups in this area…it’s this link you gave…now I have a link that can go with it….many will be happy…Thank you…. hold on…though

      I got an interestin’ thing here….Look at the chart where the ticks are identified…you know like the “deer tick” RSMF tick and so on….Well, hold on to your hat…Back in 08′ a NYSH person wanted to get rid of me at a booth…cuz I asked all the right questions that he could not answer…I was given a chart…and on it was the “woodchuck” tick…ohh yes…that’s the one that gives the instant death Powassan Virus! Even in the chart under treatment it said……DEATH….Now here’s the kicker…how come not till two years ago…”they” start mentioning this tick? “They” know how bad it is….even refused to take my Free….TickRid program and use it in each Township….sad part it’s so cheap to do…that skipin’ one coffee a day from the TownSupervisor would cover the costs….umm maybe two…all the rest is free and doubles as Awareness…..it’s a win win…..nope …no money can be made….so it’s better to have people sick and suffer and die….there’s money in that! When America crumbles by debt and sickness……those who made a killin’…..really what did they gain?

      • Laura M. says:

        Thanks Cash! That is interesting information. I didn’t even know the woodchuck tick was responsible for transmission of the Powassan virus. I agree with you that it is sad and frustrating that the CDC encourages an under-reporting of the disease with sub-par diagnostic standards and obfuscations like STARI. The numbers don’t reflect the prevalence or the incidence of the disease at all. I’m a devoted tax-payer and a supporter of the government, but the CDC is an agency that is both incompetent as well as corrupt. I’m never sure how much we should worry. As the population grows increasingly sicker, I think people are going to start asking questions and seeking alternatives (slowly the demand is changing). It is my sincere belief that being ignored by the AMA is actually a good thing. It’s been reported in JAMA that doctors are the third leading cause of death. Lyme patients are lucky in a sense because they learn quickly not trust the medical establishment. The truth is that most doctors don’t know what to do with any degenerative disease. Have you ever been sick and sought multiple opinions? It is a telling experience. Time after time, they will come up with different diagnoses. I did an externship in a hospital recently and found out that doctors are using google to diagnose sick patients for goodness sake. They don’t know more than everyone else. A patient will come into the hospital oriented with a complaint of knee pain after a fall and will leave disoriented to time and place with all sorts of systemic damage (C-diff, reduced cognition, newly resistant bacteria thanks to antibiotics etc.). If you were feeling sick before you came into the hospital, you are going to leave in a worse condition for sure, yet the doctors pat themselves on the back for stabilizing you after making you sicker. It’s weird to watch. Keep asking questions and raising awareness.

        I know this may sound strange, but try not to be too hard on Robert. I think he is truly concerned about infectious diseases and is trying to raise awareness but has to report information based on government statistics, which is not necessarily his fault. Thorson, on the other hand, has a really checkered past and does nothing but declare quackery left and right. I’m actually scared of him right now. He is dogmatic and could care less about sick people. I’m not sure if you noticed, but he mentioned blue-green algae out of nowhere in one of his posts and it wasn’t even relevant to the conversation. Upon my first read, I didn’t know what in the world he was talking about and I’m pretty sure no else did either. Anyway, he lost a lawsuit with the company that developed that product. The fact that he opposes it makes me think we should consider buying it in large quantities. I will most likely start taking it three times a day before meals. I also thought about starting an organization called Quackwatch-Watch and Homeowatch-Watch, but no one needs ruthless enemies like that. In all sincerity, this is probably my last post to anyone ever. You never know what evil lurks in the shadows of the internet. Farewell comment boards. Farewell.

  8. Laura M. says:

    Yikers Thorson! There is a lot information about you on the internet. At this moment, I don’t know if I should be happy or scared. You have an interesting legal history. All this time I’ve been thinking that you were a devoted quackwatch fan spreading the word about your favorite website. I didn’t think you actually knew those guys.
    Holy cow! I get it now. The poor Lyme patients are funding your adversaries. You don’t know what to do, so you are lashing out by declaring “quakery” right and left, and calling everyone “charlatans”. Take a deep a breath, man. Calm down. I think you need some kind of intervention before things become serious. What are you going when the profits of the wellness industry surpass the profits of the industrial medical complex? Please don’t jump. I mean that with sincerity. Try to stop thinking about people taking vitamins. Deep breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Again. You are in a safe space now. Tell the truth. Who do you work for?

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