When is Lyme disease not Lyme? Good question – there’s been some head-scratching in the medical community in cases where blood tested negative for Lyme, while all the other symptoms were evidenced. Can you still have Lyme if you flunk the test for Lyme? Tufts new tick discovery could be the answer to that.
Since it’s the season in many areas when dog owners get more active, going for outings in the woods and tall grass fields, this news is timely: Tufts tick discovery is a new disease brought to you by the deer tick that can be shared between humans and animals (zoonotic). It’s so new there’s no name yet. It acts like Lyme, but is a different bacteria. It can be treated with the same antibiotic.
Deer ticks wreck some havoc in the zoonotic disease department, and this new one brings the total to five you can get from them: Lyme, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and deer tick virus plus this new disease. Sam Telford, an expert on tick-borne diseases and a professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine was responsible for Tufts new tick discovery when he found the new bacteria in an 80-year-old woman. It’s been seen in animals in the Northeast, but this was the first US case confirmed in humans (January 2013).
It’s good to note that not all deer tick carry this bacteria, or Lyme, but the fact that you can pick up all these listed diseases from your dog might get you to the pet store for tick prevention if you haven’t protected your dog — and yourself — already.
(Photo: Kelvin Ma)