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  • Summer is on it’s way and that means more sun, more heat, and unfortunately, more ticks.

  • Hey everyone Julia here for DNews

  • Lyme disease is weird, mysterious, and can be pretty stubborn. Every tick season 300,000

  • Americans will become infected according to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The

  • symptoms are similar to a flu like fever and aches, so a lot of cases go untreated. Only

  • 30,000 cases get reported each year. But other symptoms can get worse. much worse. Like chronic

  • debilitating joint pain.

  • You can get lyme disease from the bite of a blacklegged (deer) tick. But not all ticks

  • carry the disease. According to Paul Mead, chief of epidemiology and surveillance activity

  • at the CDC, one out of every four or five ticks might be infected in areas where the

  • disease is very common.

  • There are a lot of misconceptions about lyme disease. Some people think that everyone who

  • gets the disease will get a telltale bulls eye redness around the tick bite. But that’s

  • not always the case. The CDC says around 70 percent of people get the mark, but it can

  • vary by region. But lyme disease doesn’t vary too much, it’s been reported in every

  • state except Hawaii.

  • The disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is old. Like really

  • old. Researchers from Ohio State University found ticks infected with it trapped in amber

  • in the Dominican Republic. In a study published in the journal Historical Biology, they found

  • they could be around 15 to 20 MILLION YEARS OLD. Basically as long as people have been

  • getting bit by ticks, there’s been lyme disease.

  • You know that famous Ice mummy otzi? Yeah, he mightve had Lyme disease. In analyzing

  • his genome, scientists found fragments of the bacteria’s genetic material. At 5,300

  • years old, that could be the oldest case ever found of the disease.

  • Otzi, like others, would have suffered some of the nasty symptoms like pain. Most of the

  • symptoms are caused by the way the disease targets the immune system. It triggers inflammation

  • and can attack the peripheral nervous system, causing pain spreading from the back to the

  • arms and legs, and hands and feet.

  • One study published in the journal The American Journal of Pathology found that this inflammation

  • can also affect the central nervous system, causing headaches and fatigue and even scary

  • symptoms like memory loss, learning disability, or depression.

  • Lyme disease can be cured if it’s caught early, but it’s often misdiagnosed. So sometimes

  • these symptoms persist becoming chronic and debilitating in about 10-20 percent of patients.

  • It’s estimated that about a million Americans live with what’s called post-treatment Lyme

  • disease (PTLD).

  • A recent study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found why it’s just

  • so hard to get rid of. Even though lyme disease is caused by bacteria, antibiotics often don’t

  • work to treat the pathogen. So the bacteria forms what’s called dormant persister cells

  • which evade antibiotics. And just like their name suggests these guys aren’t killed by

  • antibiotics. They lie dormant. Then might wake up after a round of treatment and wreck

  • havoc on the nervous system.

  • But the researchers also identified two potential treatments for PTLD. One is a treatment for

  • cancer called Mitomycin C, which wiped out all cultures of the bacteria. But the treatment

  • is pretty toxic, so probably not the best way to go.

  • Another way involves multiple doses of antibiotics. In what’s calledpulse dosingthe

  • researchers repeatedly dosed the bacteria. In the first round, some cells died, but those

  • dormant persister cells didn’t. They woke up and tried to establish a population. But

  • before they did, researchers hit them with another round of antibiotics. After four rounds

  • of treatment, the bacteria were all eradicated. But this was only in a testtube, so more research

  • is needed.

  • IF youre worried about lyme disease and tick bites, the CDC recommends knowing where

  • deer ticks are commonly found, wearing protective clothing and insect repellent if you go into

  • those areas and to do daily checks of your body if youve been outside, even in your

  • own backyard. If a tick is attached to your body for less than 24 hours, your chances

  • of getting the disease is small.

  • Speaking of tiny things that could potentially harm you, have you ever wondered what a virus

  • is? I’ve got the short & sweet answer for you in this episode of my new show, Test Tube

  • 101. Check it out and subscribe.

Summer is on it’s way and that means more sun, more heat, and unfortunately, more ticks.

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How Dangerous Is Lyme Disease?

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    SylviaQQ posted on 2015/09/19
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