if the habitat is degraded, and ticks carrying Lyme have only white-footed mice as hosts, the disease risk to humans can rise dramatically.

‎"If the habitat is degraded, and ticks carrying Lyme have only white-footed mice as hosts, the disease risk to humans can rise dramatically."



As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.
Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.
James Gathany/CDC Public Health Image Library
Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines.
But a new paper is a reminder that ecology also has a pretty big say in whether pathogens thrive or die off. Using a statistical model, researchers predicted that countries that lose biodiversity will have a heavier burden of vector-borne and parasitic diseases. Their results appear this week in PLoS Biology.
"The general logic is that the more organisms you have out there, the more things there are that can interrupt the life cycle of disease, and the less concentration you'll have of any vector," Matthew Bonds, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the paper, tells Shots.
But plants, mammals and birds are disappearing fast – one-third of the world's species are now threatened with extinction, according to the United Nations. And when the creatures that prey on mice, mosquitoes or other vectors of disease go, parasites and other disease-causing agents discover it's a lot easier to survive.
Scientists have already shown that's one reason for the explosion of Lyme disease in the Northeast United States. A 2002 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that if you have a rich community of tick hosts, like squirrels, mice and other small mammals, the disease is diluted among them. But if the habitat is degraded, and ticks carrying Lyme have only white-footed mice as hosts, the disease risk to humans can rise dramatically.
West Nile encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, has also ripped through communities with the help of surging bird populations, according to a study in Nature.
Because of studies like these, Bonds wanted to see how strong the causal relationship was between biodiversity and 12 common vector-borne and parasitic diseases on a global scale. So he chose statistical methods from a new field that blends economics and ecology called "macroecology" to figure out how biodiversity loss affected disease burden, controlling for several different variables.
Ultimately, he found that if a country with a relatively high biodiversity (such as Indonesia) were to lose 15 percent of it, the burden of disease would be expected to increase by about 30 percent. His models also showed how diseases have a significant impact on economic development and explain differences in income between tropical and temperate countries.
"I think what this shows is that the burden of disease is really important, and it's not just driven by health care," he says. "These diseases spend so much of their life-cycles outside of humans, so they're part of the physical environment."
Nevertheless, human disease is still generally viewed as a medical or public health problem — not an ecological problem. Policymakers only just beginning to talk about conservation as they plan for public health.


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the number-one worldwide vector-spreading epidemic is Lyme disease,


TINY TICK, BIG THREAT: Dutchess leads state in babesiosis, another threat, besides Lyme disease, if you're bitten by a deer tick

Illness can be passed through blood, but no test screens for it

7:22 PM, Dec 23, 2012   |  
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Babesiosis and the Blood Supply
Babesiosis and the Blood Supply: LYME DISEASE -- Babesiosis and the Blood Supply. Video by Chrissie Williams
    Babesiosis, a tick-borne disease that is growing more common, can be passed through blood transfusion from donors who do not know they are infected. This unit of donated red blood cells was seen at a blood bank in 2008. / Darryl Bautista/Poughkeepsie Journal

    ABOUT THIS SERIES

    This is part 7 in a Poughkeepsie Journal series on the prevalence and problems of Lyme disease, the nation’s most common vector-borne disease. Go towww.pough-
    keepsiej-
    ournal.com/
    lyme to read previous installments, view videos and read reports on Lyme disease and babesiosis.
    One was a 44-day-old baby with malformed lungs, another an 11-year-old boy on chemotherapy for a brain tumor. A third was a heart transplant recipient, 54, and three more were premature infants.
    All received blood tainted with a rapidly spreading tick-borne parasite that infected four times as many New Yorkers last year as in 2002. The state ranked first nationwide in 2011 for the malaria-like malady, called babesiosis, and Dutchess County ranked first in the state, according to state and federal data obtained by the Poughkeepsie Journal.
    As the number of cases rises, babesiosis is poised to become a tick-borne scourge akin to Lyme disease, but with an especially vicious twist. The sometimes-fatal disease can pass from blood donors who do not know they are infected into a blood supply that has no test to screen for it. That’s why transfusion-transmitted babesiosis tripled from 26 cases nationwide in the first half of the 2000s to 83 in the latter half, according to a 2011 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a medical journal. There were 60 cases in New York since 1979 — with nearly half, 28, from 2005 to 2011.
    Of the six transfusion cases above, reported by physicians at two New York City hospitals, the heart recipient and two of the babies became ill, according to medical articles. They recovered, usually with treatment involving antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs.
    But at least 26 people have died since 1979 after receiving blood tainted with the Babesia pathogen — 10 since 2007, federal research shows. They include a 43-year-old woman with hepatitis C; a woman, 47, with diabetes and kidney disease; and a 76-year-old man with leukemia. Indeed, the elderly and sick are most vulnerable to babesiosis — and most likely to need transfused blood.
    Babesiosis is caused by a parasite, usually Babesia microti but other Babesia strains as well, that invades red blood cells; symptoms include fever, drenching sweats, muscle pain and anemia that may lead to internal bleeding and organ failure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first national figures show 1,124 cases in 2011 from 17 reporting states. Nearly half of cases for which information was available resulted in hospitalization, while 6 percent to 9 percent of patients hospitalized for babesiosis died, according to one small study from the Lower Hudson Valley and two others from Long Island. The situation with rising risk and incidence of babesiosis is alarming,” said Richard Ostfeld, a senior scientist at Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook who this month reported nearly 1 in 5 ticks infected with Babesia on lands near the institute. That’s likely the highest reported rate in nymphal, or juvenile, black-legged ticks, the most dangerous stage when barely visible to the people they bite.
    Little progress
    Though the first transfusion-transmitted babesiosis case was reported in Boston in 1979, little has been done to protect the blood supply except to preclude donors who are known to have had babesiosis, according to interviews and a review of scientific literature. But with only 123 out of 23 million donors reporting having babesiosis from 2005 to 2007, that measure has been “largely ineffective,” said David Leiby, top researcher on the disease for the American Red Cross. A case in point is the six New York transfusion cases, involving two donors — from Suffolk and Westchester counties — who had not been sick with an infection that may not emerge for years, if at all.
    Just why tainted blood is slipping through the system relates to the high cost of developing a test that will have limited use and, therefore, limited earning potential for test manufacturers, scientists say. The test would be used primarily in just seven states — five in the Northeast and two in the upper Midwest — where the disease is considered native, or endemic. That’s a new challenge for a blood supply that operates on a national level, testing all blood for HIV, hepatitis B and C and West Nile virus.
    “The return on investment is not sufficient,” said Michael Busch, director of Blood Systems Research Institute, a San Francisco-based blood-safety research center. “That’s kind of created a lack of willingness.”
    Though at least three possible tests are in various stages of development, there was no indication when one might wend its way through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensing process, and the FDA said it could not comment on any trials. In the meantime, blood-supply officials sought to reassure the public on blood-supply reliability.
    “Yes, we are concerned,” said Dr. Beth Shaz, chief medical officer for the New York Blood Center, which supplies 200 hospitals in four states with 400,000 units of blood a year. But she stressed: “The blood supply is as safe as it has ever been.”
    Maureen Wellman, regional spokesperson for the Red Cross, contrasted the small risk of babesiosis infection — about 170 blood-borne cases since 1979 — with about 30 million blood products delivered each year to 5 million patients.
    But known cases are just a tip of the iceberg, research suggests. One study estimated risks as high as one infection for every 601 units transfused in Connecticut; another, published last month in the medical journal Transfusion, reported that 2 percent of donors in endemic Minnesota harbored Babesia antibodies that would preclude donation. As Leiby wrote in a 2011 article in Clinical Microbiological Reviews, “In most instances, the rate of transmission is likely underestimated due to an ongoing failure to recognize true cases.”
    In any event, “The number and frequency of transfusion-associated babesiosis cases are rapidly increasing,” warned an Annals of Internal Medicine editorial that accompanied the 2011 study, asserting that measures to protect the blood supply were “urgently needed.”
    Babesiosis is contracted through the bite of the same black-legged tick infamous for spreading Lyme disease and may be delivered in a package of pathogens, according to Lyme physicians and published research. Seventy-one percent of 254 ticks from Westchester and Suffolk counties had at least one infection, and 30 percent had two or more, according to a 2010 study in the science journal Vector-Borne Zoonotic Diseases. Significantly, 19 percent of ticks were infected with both the Babesia and Lyme pathogens.
    Infection 'cesspools'
    “The number-one worldwide vector-spreading epidemic is Lyme disease,” said Dr. Richard Horowitz, a Hyde Park physician who treats people with multiple infections, “and babesiosis is being carried along with it.”
    “Ticks are basically cesspools of infection,” said Dr. Kenneth Liegner, a Lyme disease physician from Pawling who has treated people with Lyme, babesiosis and other infections.
    Both physicians raised the specter that people who have had Lyme disease could be at risk for unknowingly passing babesiosis through donated blood. In one study, 9.5 percent of people at Hartford (Conn.) Hospital with Lyme also tested positive for the Babesia parasite.
    But officials of the Red Cross and New York Blood Center said that banning Lyme disease patients from donating would not be practical. “We would not have an adequate blood supply,” said the Blood Center’s Shaz. Further, Walter Gardner, FDA chief of consumer affairs, said it “would need to be supported by evidence of its effectiveness.”
    After trying for several years to interest large manufacturers in developing a test, Busch, of the San Francisco research institute, said he enlisted a small Boston lab to help develop a blood-screening test. Under a $3.7 million National Institutes of Health grant, the company Immunetics Inc. is now trying the antibody test on 15,000 blood samples from New York Blood Center, Busch said, expanding to 30,000 samples next spring. The test “will hopefully be licensed for routine use … in the next few years,” Busch wrote in an email.
    The Rhode Island Blood Center reported “encouraging” results in July in a trial of its own antibody test, while the Red Cross is also trying a test in Connecticut and Massachusetts.But even if a test is perfected, there are hazards to using it to screen blood regionally since donors move outside of endemic areas. In one case, a 57-year-old man died in Texas of a hemorrhage linked to tainted-blood babesiosis; his donor had contracted it months before on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, according to a 2008 article in Vox Sanguinis, a journal of transfusion medicine. Indeed, 13 percent of transfusion babesiosis cases in the Annals study occurred in non-endemic states, while babesiosis was reported in eight non-endemic states in 2011.
    Shaz said the “cost-benefit” would need to be assessed of testing donors outside of endemic areas, noting a new Babesia test likely will double the cost of current blood screening.
    Other risks remain
    However, where to screen is not the only issue. While new tests aim to identify blood donors with Babesia microti, research shows that at least two other strains infect people. Babesia duncani infected three additional blood recipients in the Annals study, and Horowitz said 19 percent of his Lyme patients test positive for it.
    “We are definitely seeing more babesiosis but especially this other strain of babesiosis,” he said, adding that primary-care physicians must be aware to test for both strains in patients with malaria-like symptoms or intractable Lyme disease.
    Leiby, the Red Cross researcher, acknowledges reports of other Babesia strains that could foil any test for Babesia microti. But he is focused on getting at least this test in place.
    “If we wait for the 100 percent solution,” he wrote in his article, “blood recipients will continue to be infected, and in some cases die, at ever-increasing rates.”
    Mary Beth Pfeiffer: mbpfeiff@poughkeepsie journal.com, (845) 437-4869, Twitter: @marybethpf

    Stopping Lyme Disease from Taking Over of your Mind and Emotions


    Stopping Lyme Disease from Taking Over of your Mind and Emotions
    For people with mental and emotional problems caused by
    Lyme disease
     By Greg Lee
    Co-founder of the Two Frogs Healing Center
    ufo
    You've seen the movies where space aliens invade people and take them over. At first, only a few people know about the aliens and they run around telling everyone about the new danger.
    They are seen by others as crazy, paranoid, or bothersome. Eventually, others catch on and meanwhile the aliens have taken over more and more people.

    Invading space aliens are just like Lyme bacteria that have entered your body
    When you get bitten by an infected tick, these bacteria invade your body and start to take over. Or you may have gotten the bacteria through a blood transfusion. Once they get in, they are difficult to kill off. These critters are spiral shaped so they can spread throughout your entire body.

    These bacteria invade your brain
    They drill their way into your nervous system causing all sorts of memory problems, numbness, or neurological issues. They tunnel through your brain turning it into Swiss cheese. Once they get in the brain, they start to affect your mind.

    Once they get into your brain, they mess up your mind
    At first you may notice unusual or depressing thoughts like, "I'm doomed." It's almost like they are whispering in your mind things like, "You will never get rid of us."

    When they are hungry, they tell you things like, "Eat more sugar." And they start to dictate your actions. So you start craving foods like cake or sweets that you normally avoid. Then they start to mess with your feelings.

    These bacteria can bring up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings
    You may start to believe that you'll never get better or you feel like giving up. You feel more and more frustrated, hopeless, depressed, or suicidal.
    You might feel trapped between fighting a losing battle with the bacteria and yearning for something to heal this once and for all. This is really the bacteria starting to overtake your higher reasoning. When you feel at your worst, you may feel like the bacteria are going to rule your entire life.

    How can you stop this infection from taking you over completely?

    Here are four steps for helping you to get your mind and emotions back from the influence of Lyme diseaseWhen nothing seems to be working and you feel continually frustrated or depressed, the bacteria appear to be taking over your life. The first step to getting your life back is to give a name to this group of negative thoughts and feelings. Naming the voice of the bacteria helps you to stop it from controlling your thoughts and feelings.

    Some clients describe this group of negative thoughts and feelings as, "That is the Lyme talking." Or some will say when ever they feel depressed,  "Oh, I'm listening to my Destroyer Voice." Other examples of different names are, "Lyme Voice", "The Bad Voice", or "My Enemy." Naming these thoughts and feelings gives you more awareness of what's making you feel badly.
    Saying No to the Lyme voice helps you to become more in charge
    After naming the voice that leads you to feel worse, say "No" to it. Notice what happens. Sometimes the voice can feel stronger than your "No."

    Eventually, you may notice that continuing to say "No" helps to diminish these negative thoughts.  Keep saying "No" to these thoughts until you feel an improvement.

    Expressing the uncomfortable feelings helps you to feel better
    Let yourself feel the uncomfortable emotions around your Lyme infection. You may feel one or more emotions of frustration, sadness, hopelessness, grief, depression, worry, anxiety, or fear. Once you identify the feelings, express them through making a sound, moving your body, or writing them on paper. Continue expressing them until you feel better in your body or your heart.

    Receiving healing helps you to feel more in charge
    As your thoughts and feelings feel better, you want to receive what helps to heal any remnants of the voice of the Lyme bacteria.

    In order to receive healing, quietly repeat to yourself a name or phrase that describes what is ultimately healing for you. Some clients repeat a name like "God." Other clients quietly repeat names or phrases like "The One", "Universe", or "Unconditional Love." If you are not sure what to repeat, keep trying different names or phrases until you find one that works for you.

    As you repeat this name or phrase, receive healing in your thoughts and feelings
    Continue repeating the name or phrase and receiving until your thoughts and feelings are more at peace. This practice has helped many people with Lyme to feel better and think more clearly.

    Clients report clearer thinking and having more hope for the futureAfter practicing these steps, clients report being able to think more clearly. They also report feeling less depressed, having increased energy, and feeling more hopeful for healing their Lyme disease.

    These four steps help you to stop Lyme disease from taking you overJust like in the movies where the space aliens get kicked out of the people they invaded, you can stop Lyme disease from taking over your thoughts and feelings through these steps:

    1) Naming the voice of Lyme disease
    2) Saying "No" to the negative thoughts
    3) Expressing the uncomfortable feelings
    4) Repeating the name or phrase of an ultimate source and receiving healing in your thoughts and feelings

    These steps help your thoughts and feelings to shift from negative to more positive. This helps you to gain more hope for healing Lyme disease. And you feel back in charge of how you think and feel.
    If you haven't done so already: suscribe to our Goodbye Lyme newsletter (That's a clue!)
    P.S. If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, post it on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article.
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    ©Two Frogs Healing Center. All Rights Reserved.
    Wouldn't you love to stumble upon a secret library of powerful healing tools and ideas? Find simple, yet electrifying ideas on self-healing, powerful herbs, spiritual healing, and acupuncture for resolving difficult illnesses. Head down tohttp://www.TwoFrogsCenter.com today and judge for yourself.
    greg
    Greg Lee is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and Master Sufi Healer in Maryland. He is co-founder of the Two Frogs Healing Center in Frederick, Maryland. He has helped clients to heal Lyme disease chronic pain, fatigue, and mental fogginess. Learn more about our free lectures on Getting Rid of Lyme Disease athttp://www.twofrogscenter.com/lyme_talk.html.
    Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and for general information purposes only, and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

    “Night before Lyme Christmas”



    TOUCHED BY LYME: “Night before Lyme Christmas”

    24th December 2011

     
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    A holiday poem by Bob Morgenstern
    Bob Morgenstern is a 66-year-old former high school teacher and truant officer from New York who has been dealing with Lyme for the past 15 years.  In the early 2000s, he connected with a lot of Lyme patients on the then-popular “Sci. Med. Diseases Lyme” internet group and would often write poems about them which he would post on the group.  Here’s a Christmas-themed one he’s given us permission to post here. The names in the following poem are all people he met through that group.


    Night Before Lyme Christmas
    by Bob Morgenstern
    ‘Twas the night before Christmas 
    And out on the ‘net
    The Lymies were talking about
    What they would get
    They talked of prescriptions 
    Their stockings were fillin’
    Doxy, Amoxy
    Zithro, Ampicillin
    Flagyl, Mepron, 
    Claforan, Tinidazole
    Some on I.V. Rocephin
    Stuck tied to a pole.
    After a while 
    they went off to their beds
    And dreamed of being healthy
    And not needing meds.
    They rode bikes and scooters 
    and jogged in the Fall
    Took out the kids
    For a game of football
    Went picnicking, camping 
    Swam in the stream
    But then they awoke
    It was only a dream
    Out came the Excedrin 
    Out came the Aleve
    But wait! A whisper
    Hard to believe!
    A calling 
    Quiet at first
    Then louder and louder
    As if the sky burst!
    A saint? An apostle? 
    Can’t make a decision
    Some sort of salvation
    Of undetermined religion
    “Come out all you Lymies 
    If you don’t you’ll regret
    Tonight is a night
    You’ll never forget”
    Lights on, out they stumbled 
    With sleep in their eyes
    Unhooked their I.V.s
    And looked to the skies
    There was Frank, there was Julie 
    Annie, Barb too
    Lovey and Georgia
    And from New Jersey, Sue
    There was Brite and Kathleen 
    MisTick and her brood
    Eva and Norm
    (He’s a real cool dude!)
    I saw Kay, Bryan, Amy 
    And Sarah, and Art
    And Joel, and others
    All waiting to start
    “Look what I’ve brought 
    You won’t be dismayed
    You all have insurance
    Your bills are all paid
    “An extended vacation 
    For the O.P.M.C.
    And freedom to practice
    For all L.L.M.D.s
    So forget swollen knees 
    Your future’s secure
    We’ve killed Lyme disease
    I brought you the cure!
    And there’s no more Ehrlichia 
    So each little tick
    Will still be disgusting
    But it won’t make you sick.
    Next morning was painless 
    Out in the sun
    They did all the things
    They missed, that were fun
    Now they still talk on the ‘net 
    But their love is enough
    And instead of disease
    They just talk about stuff.

    Bob reports that his health is much better these days, he goes to the gym three times a week and can “just talk about stuff” with his friends. I wish the same for all of my readers. Health and peace in 2012.