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Lyme disease, black-legged ticks on the rise
Date: 2013-07-15 13:55:30

Lyme disease blood testing has become a must-have for New Yorkers, as new research revealed that certain areas of the state have high populations of black-legged ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of tick-borne illnesses has risen dramatically in recent years, with 35,000 new cases of Lyme disease reported annually in the U.S.

A study from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies shows that black-legged ticks in the Northeast spread more than just Lyme disease - they are also infecting people with other illnesses, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan encephalitis. The report examined encephalitis closely, and noted that the virus, which is spread by ticks, is caused by deer tick virus and Powassan virus. It causes long-term neurological damage in many of its survivors. Encephalitis can also be fatal, with a 10 to 15 percent mortality rate.

"We've seen a rise in this rare but serious illness in parts of New York State that are hotspots for Lyme disease, said Rick Ostfeld, author of the study. "And we suspected it was tied to an increase in black-legged ticks carrying deer tick virus, particularly on the east side of the Hudson River."

Study finds high populations of black-legged ticks... Full Story

Lyme disease and its unwelcome consequences
Date: 2013-07-12 12:02:51

Lyme disease blood testing is more important than ever, as researchers are becoming more aware of the effects of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, or PTLDS. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines PTLDS as lingering symptoms of the disease, characterized by pain, fatigue, or muscle and joint aches. The New York Times recently published an article on the significance of the disease and how it affects those who experience it.

The Times recently profiled a woman who experienced the symptoms for a decade before receiving a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. After meeting with a Lyme specialist, Mary Rasenberger was put on the antibiotic Rocephin, and told the source that she finally felt healthy. However, whenever she tried to stop the medication, the symptoms returned in full force. Rasenberger described headaches, aching joints and other ailments that rendered her unable to complete basic exercises.

"These are high-functioning people - couch potatoes don't get Lyme disease," John Aucott, an infectious disease specialist, told the source in regard to PTLDS patients. "They are not crazy, and the doctors who treat them are not evil. These are desperate people trying to get better, and well-intentioned doctors who are trying to help them."

The Times noted that if people get Lyme disease, but are unaware of their condition and go without treatment, they might experience the same debilitating symptoms as Rasenberger. Aucott said that in order to properly treat those with PTLDS, more research funding is necessary.

Preventing PTLDS... Full Story

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