WBUR

In Lincoln, It’s Town Vs. Ticks

Part 1 of a special series

LINCOLN, Mass. — Lincoln is a picture-postcard New England town, with old stone walls along winding, wooded lanes. It’s one of the richest towns in the U.S., with median annual household incomes topping $100,000. But Lincoln’s wealth has provided no immunity to a disease that is spreading dramatically across Massachusetts: Lyme disease.

CLICK THE IMAGE for an interactive map of Lyme disease cases in Lincoln.

CLICK THE IMAGE for an interactive map of Lyme disease cases in Lincoln.

Barbara Buchan is a longtime resident of Lincoln. She’s kindly agreed to give me a tour of her one-acre yard and garden – but first she insists that I dress appropriately.

“Before I head into my garden I make sure I’m geared for the job,” Buchan says. “That means if I’m wearing pants, I wear socks outside the pants leg. I have footwear that’s all been sprayed with permethrin.”

That’s an insecticide. Buchan is worried about deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease and are pervasive in Lincoln.  Once I’m properly outfitted, we head into the backyard to see her tick-fighting tactics.

Barbara Buchan is a member of Lincoln's Tick Task Force. (George Hicks/WBUR)

Barbara Buchan is a member of Lincoln’s Tick Task Force. (George Hicks/WBUR)

“I have string on which to hang strong-smelling soap, which keeps the deer away,” Buchan says. “There will be a mulch edging to all the grass, which will be cut regularly — ticks don’t like dry mulch.” She adds, “I’m beginning to figure out how to use my mint — ticks loathe mint.”

I felt a little silly wearing borrowed beige stretch pants tucked into white socks, and we were only in her backyard for about 15 minutes. But before going back inside to change, I did a quick self-inspection, and there on my beige knee was some kind of tiny, slowly creeping tick. I was aghast, but my host wasn’t too surprised.

Carey Goldberg and the tick she encountered while reporting this story. (George Hicks/WBUR)

Carey Goldberg and the tick she encountered while reporting this story. (George Hicks/WBUR)

“You see, you took chances,” Buchan said. “You were going in areas where there was tall grass and all that stuff.”

Lincoln Fights Back

Buchan isn’t just concerned about her own property. She’s a member of the town of Lincoln’s Tick Task Force, which was formed by town officials and residents after the town won a grant in 2009 to tackle whatever health concerns the townspeople considered most pressing.

To find out what those concerns were, Assistant Town Administrator Anita Schiepers says the town conducted extensive surveys. Responses came from every corner: parents and seniors, the horse set and the gardeners, the dog-owners and the trail-hikers.

“Every response said that the individual either had Lyme disease, a member of their family had Lyme disease, or they knew of a neighbor who had Lyme disease,” Schiepers says.

Lincoln’s Tick Task Force focused first on educating citizens about how to recognize Lyme disease, and how to protect themselves through simple measures, like using insect repellent and checking for ticks. The town sent schoolchildren home with flyers, and left binders full of information in doctors’ waiting rooms.

The work of the Tick Task Force has been “a passionate effort both by townspeople and by staff,” Schiepers says.

Lyme 101

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are carried by deer ticks. These blood-sucking arachnids have a complex life cycle. The adults feed and mate primarily on deer. Their offspring feed on small mammals, mostly mice, which host the Lyme bacteria and share it among the immature ticks, called nymphs. Deer tick nymphs are the main culprits in transmitting the disease to humans.

“The nymph stage of this tick is voracious,” says Dr. Arnold Weinberg. “It’s tiny, and lots of people don’t appreciate that that beauty mark that’s on their arm, my gosh, it’s moving!”

Dr. Arnold Weinberg is an infectious disease specialist and a member of Lincoln's Board of Health. (George Hicks/WBUR)

Dr. Arnold Weinberg is an infectious disease specialist and a member of Lincoln’s Board of Health. (George Hicks/WBUR)

Weinberg, an infectious disease specialist for over 50 years, also serves on Lincoln’s Board of Health. He sees Lincoln as a robust environment for Lyme disease. “All the ingredients are there: deer, mice, ticks, and people that love the meadows and the woods and the trails.”

Weinberg says that if people find an engorged deer tick or develop the telltale “bull’s-eye” rash, and seek treatment promptly, they can generally be cured with antibiotics. But if Lyme disease is not treated early, it can lead to arthritis, meningitis, extreme fatigue and nerve damage, among other symptoms.

Of Mice And Men

“Part of the problem is that there is no clear, single solution to the problem,” Schiepers says. She points to one device aimed at preventing the spread of Lyme disease: the “tick tube,” a small cardboard tube filled with cotton soaked with permethrin. It’s meant to work like this: The tubes are scattered in the underbrush. Mice take the treated cotton to their nests, where it kills the ticks that feed on the mice, which host the Lyme disease bacteria.

Schiepers says the town of Lincoln has been buying “tick tubes” by the thousands, and selling them to residents at cost. It’s as yet unclear how well this method is working in Lincoln, but, she says, “My phone has been ringing off the hook in terms of people trying to find that product so they can use it in their yards.”

Deer Town

Townspeople are also fighting Lyme disease in their own ways. Lincoln’s woods are full of deer, and some property owners hire bow-hunters to kill them.

“We thought it would be easy to have a hunter come,” says Robin Wilkerson. “And there’s a guy who’s killed two deer on the street. And we’re happy about it, and the venison is delicious!”

Lincoln resident Robin Wilkerson (George Hicks/WBUR)

Lincoln resident Robin Wilkerson (George Hicks/WBUR)

Wilkerson is a Lincoln resident who gardens organically; she doesn’t want to use tick tubes. But she admits that killing deer in one part of town won’t stop them moving in from another. The ticks are everywhere. “It’s not like there’s an enemy that you can just mow down,” she says. “It’s like they’re permeated into the ecology of the town.”

Know Your Tick

As for that unidentified tick that crawled up my leg after 15 minutes in Barbara Buchan’s backyard, we sealed it in Scotch tape. Later that day, we took it to Arnold Weinberg, the infectious disease doctor.

Weinberg sizes it up quickly. “OK,” he says. “This is an adult ixodes scapularis tick.” In other words, a deer tick.

Weinberg tells me, “I think the fact that an adult ixodes scapularis tick was on you in a very, very short time tells you that the ticks are prevalent in this community, as in many other communities.”

Despite that, Weinberg says preventing Lyme disease is fairly simple: “What it basically boils down to is that if you don’t want to get Lyme disease, all you have to do is protect yourself.”

Anita Schiepers disagrees. “It is not just a case of educating the public to protect themselves,” she says. “Wearing long pants, white socks and checking yourself after each trail walk is not totally the answer.”

In Lincoln, Schiepers says, it just hasn’t been enough.

“We have a very educated public in town. They care very much in terms of protecting themselves, protecting their families, and they have the resources to do it. And despite all that we still have a very high incidence of Lyme disease in our community.”

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  • https://identify.us.com IdentifyUS

    Deer ticks have spread across the Commonwealth as deer populations have flourished.  They travel from yard to yard on the backs of mice, between neighborhoods on deer and considerably greater distances with the help of birds. The most prominent microbe they spread, that which causes Lyme disease, is transmitted efficiently and can be found throughout much of the region. These ticks also transmit the agents of human babesiosis and anaplasmosis, but those infections are, as yet, far more restricted in their distribution.  To reduce risk of acquiring any of these infections, it is important to promptly find and remove ticks from a person (or pet).  Once the tick has been removed, have it identified. Only certain kinds of ticks can transmit the agents of Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis.  Other ticks may transmit other infections.  The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of infection. More educational information and guidance on tick identification is available from IdentifyUS on the web.
    Richard Pollack, PhD (a public health entomologist)

    • Alexander Davis

       The current New England Journal of Medicine features a review article on
      babesiosis, another disease carried by the deer tick. Just as Lyme bacteria are
      spirochetes like syphilis, the babesia organisms are intraerythrocytic protozoa
      like malaria. Babesiosis can be fatal and has been transmitted by blood
      transfusion.  Babesia infections are
      increasing and in some areas in southern New England are almost as common as
      Lyme disease. This has been fueled by the expansion of the deer population,
      thus “elimination of deer populations sharply reduces the risk of infection but
      is difficult to implement.”   Killing the deer is effective because this
      breaks the deer tick life cycle. The immature tick forms on mice come from eggs
      laid by the adult ticks which feed on deer. 
      On Monhegan Island, Maine, Lyme disease was successfully controlled by
      eliminating the deer. The mice are still there. We must overcome the barriers
      to deer culling on the mainland.    

  • Jack Kurdz

    Interesting presentation that helps familiarize the public with a specific tick borne disease. The presenter’s statement that,” These blood-sucking insects have a complex life cycle.” is only partially true in that ticks suck mammalian blood, but ticks are eight legged arachnids and not six legged insects. More closely related to spiders and definitely not insects. Jack Kurdz

    • William Wiegman

      In the middle stage of a tick’s life, the larval stage, they have 6 legs.

    • gbhicks

      Thanks for the correction, Jack!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XJNEF25RT2XRFDHYCMZSM6GER4 Paul

    We have been battling the ripple effects of Lyme disease in our dog since he was bit in December during the warm weather and diagnosed in January, despite our aggressive flea and tick treament. The lyme disease triggered an extremely complicated immune disease in him—IMHA and IMT—Evans SYndrome. We nearly lost him, he is recovering well 5 1/2 months later but this is going to be a life long battle for him…and us…and has cost us nearly $15,000 to daye. We live in Arlington and hear consistent reports of tick problems all the time here.

    Paul Marotta

    • William Wiegman

      When the Borellia spirochetes drill into a mammals white tissues to get away from the antibiotics and normal innume system responses, they leave a bit of their outer cell wall around the hole they create in the tissue.  It is these cell wall remnants that the bodys immune system attacks and is why there appears to be an auto-immune response.  Minocycline works best to fight this as it crosses the blood barrier.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NPB67LPPAE4D4ALCG55BIPGWQ4 orangeblossom

    I used to live in Germany and they have a vaccine called FSME.  It’s a series of 3 shots that protect you from lyme disease for 5 years.  My 5 years is up and I would love to get another round of vaccinations for my children and I.  Why can’t we get this vaccine in the US? 

    • Eclectic62

      FSME is used to prevent Tick-Borne Encephalitis, it is not effective against Lyme disease.

      • Careyg

        Please check on Wednesday for Curt Nickisch’s story about what happened to the vaccine for humans, and what the prospects are for another (few…)

      • Carol Houde

         Dear Electic62
        Tell me more about tick-borne encepha;itis. Is it borrelia burgdafori, or another organism? C. Houde

    • William Wiegman

      Not enough profit in it for the drug companies to sell it here…

  • William Wiegman

    In Southwest Florida we have a huge, world class mosquito control program in place. It was started in the early 1960′s when they used malthion and diesel fuel sprayed in a white fog from trucks and DC-3 airplanes to kill the live mosquitoes.  No one could live here if the program were not in place.

    Recently they switched to a different spray which kills only the mosquito larvae.  It would probably be a good idea for you to have someone reseach spraying for tick larvae in the winter when they move off their original host into the environment looking for their mature stage hosts.

    Winter spraying for the larval stage would eliminate the problem with leaves on the trees and ground foliage blocking the spray from reaching them.

  • jefe68

    The article mentioned permethrin which is not sold in most New England States.
    I suppose one can get it online.

    • BCC

      I buy my tick tubes online, but according to the Damminix website, they are sold at many stores in New England: http://ticktubes.com/stores.html

    • Allan Fierce

      Yes, I bought a 24-oz spray bottle online from Campmor for about $15:
      http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___81336

    • John

      I’ve purchased permethrin at REI in Reading as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods in Nashua, NH. 

    • https://identify.us.com IdentifyUS

      EPA-registered permethrin based fabric treatments may be found in some camping stores and in a few drug stores.  You might also look online (e.g. http://www.scs-mall.com) for a a wide selection of products and information about their use. I have no financial connection to that vendor other than buying such products from them.

  • Whfossey

    Lyme has several strains and the type I got attacked the central nervous system, partially paralyzing my hands.  I was treated with intravenous antibiotics within a few days of getting the tick bite, even before the first positive tests started to come back, so antibiotics after the fact is far from a solution to Lyme.

  • MollyM.

    What about the lyme disease vaccine that came on the market about 10 years ago. I know it has been discontinued by the manufacturer due to low demand but it was effective for 5 years. Is there anyway to get that program going again?

    • Careyg

      Dear MollyM — WBUR’s Curt Nickisch will be reporting on that on Wednesday. The idea has also been floated at the new Mass. Lyme disease commission that perhaps the state should resurrect the vaccine, but it’s just an idea at this point. Thanks so much for writing — Carey

  • Susan

    In
    2004, my mother woke up with the left side of her body paralyzed after years of
    being “diagnosed” with fibromyalgia. The paralysis was in part due to
    a brain lesion that she is convinced was a result of the spirochetal infection Lyme
    Disease. I was with her at an appointment at Mass General when the doctor told
    her that she had Multiple Sclerosis . She refused to believe she had MS,
    requested to be tested for Lyme disease, which came back positive after a blood
    test. She blames Lyme for her deteriorating health. I am not sure if she really
    does have MS, or if Lyme is the root cause of all of her health problems – this
    seems to be a reoccurring debate among health professionals and in our
    communities. She is beyond the point of recovery.

     

    She
    underwent double knee replacements in 2008 – her arthritis and joint/knee pain were
    so bad, another result from Lyme – but because of her deteriorating health, my
    mother has never been able to make a full recovery. I am convinced that I have
    never had a healthy mother because of growing up on the Connecticut shore, with
    a dog, around deer. My mother’s Lyme Disease not only resulted in health issues,
    but subsequent depression and marital strife ending in divorce. I hope that I
    can learn more about his through WBUR and do more to help put Lyme Disease awareness
    into our communities/hospitals as it has truly taken a terrible toll on my
    family. 

    • Careyg

      Dear Susan – Please be sure to listen to tomorrow’s story, a long-term patient’s harrowing tale  – parts of it may sound very familiar….

      • annie

         I have been searching for the time these lyme related stories will be on…could you post the times?

        • Careyg

          Dear Annie — I’ll ask, but in the meanwhile, you’ll always be able to find the stories after they air on the Lyme disease series page – http://www.wbur.org/series/living-with-lyme — including audio that you can click on to hear the stories.  We’ll also be linking to them every day on CommonHealth — CommonHealth.WBUR.org. Thank you for your interest and I’ll let the news managers know people would like a schedule…

    • Carol Houde

       Hi Susan
      I’m so sad to hear this story. There are many more out there just like it I’m sure.
      Be well and thanks WBUR. C. Houde

  • Nini

    A friend was bitten in December by 2 deer ticks on her head. She had the bulls eye rash, but thought it was  a reaction to hair dye. Got sick about a week later, MDs said the bacteria had gone to her brain and heart, the type that drills through organs. Told her to put her affairs in order, nothing they could do for her. I don’t know how common a fatal outcome like this is -
    or the tick activity in winter.

    • Careyg

      And she died??? This could have been one of the rarer potentially fatal diseases that are spreading, babesiosis or anaplasmosis — ?

      • Carol Houde

         Careyg is right! Blood smears need to be ordered and reviewed by competent laboratory professionals in a tick-savy lab. Not all these folks, including docs know what the organisms look like. While Anaplamsa is sensitive to Lyme treatment (hence under reported), Babesia is a malaria-like organism that needs a different treatment.  A person can lose 1/2 her blood supply from this disease. C. Houde

    • Carol Houde

       Wow! I’m sad to hear that. Sounds too defeatist for me. I can’t imagine the docs gave up so easily. Yes, the Lyme organism is a spirochete; looks like a corkscrew and can burrow into body tissue.  Some docs feel the Lyme bug hides inside cartilige  (which has poor  if any blood supply) to escape antibiotic treatment. Then it emerges afterward! That is pretty scary. Some docs treat long term chronic Lyme with “doxy” for 6 mos, then switch to erythromycin the remaining 6 mos, hoping to catch the critters. C. Houde

  • andovervoter

    My son who lives in Maine has chronic Lyme disease although he has no memory of being bitten.  He has been on an aggressive treatment plan since last August.  The symptoms included painful joints, mental fogginess, depression, and fatigue.  At first, his doctor treated the symptons individually – prior to his diagnosis of chronic Lyme.  Once Lyme disease has been in a person’s system for an extended period, co-infections arise.  The treatment for Lyme and its co-infections has been very trying for my son – and he’s only 35.  I can only imagine how this might affect older individuals.  Will WBUR be discussing the treatment for chronic Lyme disease?  It would be helpful because some doctors dismiss the existence of the chronic form of the disease.

  • andovervoter

    I did not mention that, in addition to my 35 year old son in Maine, my grandson (age 6) and my son-in-law (age 38) who live in Brattleboro, VT contracted Lyme disease.  They spotted the tell-tale rash and were treated while the disease was in its acute stage.  Their dog also has Lyme disease, as does my rescue dog who was from VT.  It seems that the disease is spreading exponentially.

  • plaintext

    Also consider taking a warm shower after being outside.  Ticks don’t like  warm water and the soap makes your skin slippery so they often slide right down the drain.  Also, warm water dilates your pores and makes it harder for ticks to set their mandibles into your skin.  Lastly, if you have someone handy to visually inspect you for ticks after the shower that could be helpful .  Have them check closely around hairy areas, especially those that are difficult for you to see for yourself like the back of your head.

  • Mike Ryan

    This is great coverage of an incredibly pervasive health issue. Thanks, NPR. We see so many cases of Lyme disease and the effects it has on people – their families, their hopes and dreams, and their futures. It’s absolutely incredible how this affects so many people…many of which do not even know they have Lyme. You can learn more at HOPE-Connection.com, our hyperbaric oxygen facility in MA, one of only a few in New England. There is definitely hope. Please tell a friend about hyperbaric oxygen, because this is one of the only positive countermeasures available, but it’s not very well known or talked about by the Lyme illiterate community.

  • http://twitter.com/MassEyeAndEar Mass. Eye and Ear

    If you have Lyme disease, you are not alone. The Boston Lyme Disease Support Group meets at Mass. Eye and Ear and is meeting here tomorrow night. 
     
    Please join the Boston Lyme Disease Support Group as they welcome health care educator and motivational speaker Katina I. Makris to Mass. Eye and Ear as part of her nationwide book tour for the Lyme disease guide, “Out of the Woods, Healing Lyme Disease- Body, Mind & Spirit.”Mass. Eye and Ear, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA  02114
     Sloane Teaching Room, 3rd Floor

    • Mike Ryan

       What time will she speak? Thanks.

  • Dannsmith123

    It would help if deer hunting was allowed or a program to reduce the deer population was initiated. Twenty years ago the deer population in this area was dramatically less due to hunting. The deer carry the ticks into the areas where humans are and due to there size they carry and sustain literally THOUSANDS of ticks there by increasing the tick population and the incident of lyme disease. This truly is an epidemic health issue that has gotten little attention or results.
     

    • http://HOPE-Connection.com/ Michael Ryan

       Right. Some towns allow you to hunt deer with bows only. But, others (most, I think in MA), do not have this regulation. As the epidemic continues more should ask their towns to adopt hunting in these rural areas.

    • Carol Houde

       Hi Dannsmith123
      It’s not only about deer. The white-footed mouse, other mammals including feral cats also carry the ticks. There is a correlation with increased lyme and the acorn crop! Amazing. More food, more critters-PREVENTION is the key. Tick avoidance is the “word”.

      • Alexander Davis

          In lay terms, for Lyme disease to
        infect us, there must be germs and bugs. 
        The bugs (deer ticks) transmit the germs (the Lyme bacteria) to us.  The adult egg-laying deer tick feeds 90% on
        deer since it requires a large blood meal. It can not feed on a rodent.
        Immature forms of ticks such as nymphs do feed on mice, but if there are no
        egg-laying adults, there are no nymphs.  The
        germs live in mice, but without the ticks to infect us, these mice would be no
        problem for us.  This is why decreasing
        the deer population results in a decrease of the ticks which transmit
        Lyme.  On Monhegan Island, Maine, Lyme
        disease was successfully controlled by eliminating the deer. The mice are still
        there.  

        • Carol Houde

           Good point Alexander. I wonder what the epidemiologists think about this? C. Houde

  • blueberrygirl

    My entire family has suffered with lyme disease and the debilitating co-infections that come with a tick bite or other arthropods. I was diagnosed with MS and treated  with MS drugs only to find out months later that the lyme Elisa test was not accurate and my diagnosis was Lyme. Peter Mehegan aired my story and others on Chronicle which can be found on google, episode was called “ticked”. My son was 10 and was treated for lyme by a CT doctor his website is very helpful  which is http://www.drjoneskids.com, Our son is now in college and is doing great after being diagnosed with gestational lyme. Be your own advocate, read ! Get tested for co-infections as they seem to play a big part. Phamplets on-line can be printed; “ABC’s of Lyme” and “Lyme Primer”

    • Carol Houde

       My heart goes out to you and your family. I remember how difficult it was to convince some docs that this disease was not the only tickborne bug in the Concord area. This includes Anaplasma and Babesia which can be life threatening. It took a few years but the Concord docs are “on it”. There does not seem to be an increase in rocky mountain spotted fever however. C. Houde

  • Ccadogan12

    I live in nearby Sudbury, which faces the same problem with pervasive ticks. I got a similar illness, not Lyme disease but worse, ehrlichia, from the deer tick last summer and worry so much about ticks now that I had a chicken coop built so that I can have guinea hens, which eat the ticks, free range in my back yard!

    Carolc

    • Carol Houde

      I’ve heard guinea hens are great for tick control. I guess it works! Take good care of them and they will do the same. Great idea.
      C. Houde

  • Alexander Davis

    Deer are the primary host of the adult egg-laying deer ticks which
    require a blood meal from a large mammal. 
    Each adult tick can lay 3000 eggs which hatch into larvae and then
    nymphs, hosted by small mammals like mice. 
    Going after the deer breaks this cycle. 
    In
    Bridgeport CT, lowering the deer population 74% resulted in a 92% decrease in
    nymphal deer ticks. In Groton CT the deer population was reduced from 77 per
    square mile to 10 per square mile, and the Lyme Disease incidence decreased by
    83%..  As explained in this information, “Simply
    reducing deer numbers to natural levels, without any other actions of any kind
    taken, can eradicate Lyme Disease.”  :

    http://www.eradicatelymedisease.org/lyme.html

  • Alexander Davis

    Lyme disease is out of control because it is the perfect storm.  First it was portrayed as easy to diagnose
    and cure.  However, most cases are missed
    since most people don’t see the tick or the rash.  Then antibiotics have been refused even for
    symptomatic people in Lyme-ridden areas. Early treatment is key, but criteria
    for diagnosis have been overly exclusive; blood tests take a long time and are
    unreliable. Insurance companies have been reluctant to pay for antibiotics.  Meanwhile 20% of treated patients can go on to
    develop chronic symptoms. The newspapers have been under pressure not to publicize
    the disease since advertisers don’t want real estate values to decline. The disease
    appeared along with an overpopulation of deer, and therefore an overpopulation of
    deer ticks, but the deer-huggers have mounted a massive campaign to divert
    blame to the mouse. Breaking the tick cycle by targeting the deer has been
    shown to be effective since the adult egg-laying tick feeds 90% on deer and
    will not feed on a rodent.  Mice are a
    source of the Lyme bacteria and the tick larvae which infect us, but without
    eggs from adult ticks there are no tick larvae. 
    Public health officials say that this is a wildlife management issue,
    and the wildlife people say it’s a public health issue.  The perfect storm.   

  • Celia

    The targeted tick killing product, Damminix “Tick Tubes” mentioned in the article is manufactured in Massachusetts and available at many stores along the east coast. http://ticktubes.com/stores.html

  • offalymom

    I’ve got to give a shout out to Tick Tubes, too (AKA Damminix Tick Tubes). We use them around our house in Sudbury and they work great. I get them at Cavicchio’s, and I think Mahoney’s also carry them. I like that I can treat the yard myself, I don’t have to spray potential toxins all over, and they really seem to be keeping the numbers of ticks down. They also have a website (www.ticktubes.com)

    • Carol Houde

       Hi Offalymom
      Thanks for the tip-C Houde

  • Alexander Davis

    It is tragic that our beautiful
    New England is no longer enjoyable.  
    Going outside is playing Russian roulette.  Most Lyme cases are cause by bites from the poppy-seed-sized
    nymphs, missed more often than not.  Nature
    is stressful rather than peaceful and relaxing. We have to douse ourselves with
    potentially harmful sprays and dress uncomfortably.   He
    maketh me to lie down in green pastures. 
    Ha!  Not a chance!   It’s time to seriously go after the
    deer and bring this plague to an end.  

  • p_cayer

     I was misdiagnosed for decades.  Standard two-tier testing was always
    negative.  When my symptoms became undeniable (MS-type symptoms,
    cardiac, neuro, psych, arthritic) I did my own research and diagnosed
    myself.  Got it confirmed by IGENEX Lab and ILADS doc.  My own
    mainstream PCP would have just watched me die of this disease.  When I
    finally confronted him and demanded to be treated for Lyme, he said,
    “Know what?  I think you DO have Lyme.”  He was going to send me to
    Yale, a bastion of Lyme denial.  No thanks.  I went to an ILADS doc for
    treatment.

    This pandemic is so huge, that if every person with Lyme were to be
    properly diagnosed and treated, our health care system would COLLAPSE. 
    Real estate values and tourism dollars in Northeast would PLUMMET. 
    Connecticut is the INSURANCE CAPITOL of the WORLD.  Insurance companies
    would go BANKRUPT.

    It is this reality that is keeping the government, CDC, and medical
    establishment from acknowledging the magnitude of the pandemic. People are dying.  My mother was one of them.  I estimate half my
    neighborhood here in CT has Lyme, most undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Many
    young people in their 20′s totally disabled with “mystery” illnesses.  I
    have reported one doc to the State Medical Board for trying to cover-up
    a Lyme death.  They are investigating.

    Prepare for a medical scandal the likes of which this country has never seen. 

  • Ken

    Has anyone noticed whether members of dog owning families are any less likely to catch Lyme disease??  

    • Carol Houde

       Hi Ken
      I can only say that any household animal that goes outside and stays inside afterward can easily carry ticks into the household. That’s how Lyme, Babesia and Anaplasma (Erlichia) get transmitted to humans as the tick falls off the dog (or cat)
       and crawls onto a human host in the house. Worse yet are those owners who let outside dogs or cats sleep in their beds! When I managed a hematology lab in Concord Ma., it was not unusual to see these diseases manifest themselves in early Winter! Two possibilities; one the ticks lived on the indoor animal, had offspring which continued to spread disease over the Winter, or because ticks are so hardy, it is not unheard of to see active ticks on sunny winter days trotting home on the dog or cat. Especially arm Winter days with no snow cover contribute to the spread of tickborne illnesses. C. Houde, Clinical Laboratory Scientist (ASCP)

  • Worcester guy

    I’m convinced I’m a tick magnet. A lot of people just don’t understand my concern about deer ticks. I’ve had Lyme disease and the medicine that makes me sick to my stomach. I love the woods. The deer ticks don’t just fasten on like dog ticks they burrow themselves in so you need a doctor to remove them. They have a knack for picking areas of the body that are just out of sight and reach. We’re in tick denial!

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