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New Tick Borne Disease Discovered

Borrelia miyamotoi

One of the possible errors in the treatment of all tick and flea borne illnesses is the assumption the lab can replace the physician. No lab has a flawless ability to detect all the common infections in emerging tick and flea medicine. And one passionate advocate for individualized care who wants tailored care and not mere basic guidelines is discussing the weakness of labs, in part by mentioning a species in the USA that is associated with Lyme or Borrelia which is not even detectable by special tick infection labs.

Borrelia miyamotoi: Fully Undetectable in Many Countries Including USA and All of N. America?

In talking to some respected labs they report the inability of their commercial tests to detect this new infection, and I am not sure we can assume it will respond like other spirochetes or other Lyme species.

Borrelia miyamotoi, reported in Japan in 1995, causes a prolonged, relapsing bacterial infection in humans that may last for months. The organism has been detected in ticks, animals and humans across the United States, especially along the Atlantic flyways, and seven different countries, including Canada.

US researchers report Borrelia miyamotoi was seen frequently in ticks carrying Lyme disease, and the presence of multiple types of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), even in the same tick, were also noted. So it does not displace regular Lyme and they can co-exist in the same carrier.

Borrelia miyamotoi can cause flu-like illness, headache, chills, fatigue, vomiting, muscle aches, neck stiffness, and a fever. Only 9% of study participants reported a rash. Additional symptoms can include ocular, neurologic, respiratory, cardiac, and pregnancy complications associated with relapsing fevers.

Fall hunting season is starting, and we should note the highly under published fact the University of Tennessee reported 58% of the turkeys harvested in 2009 tested positive for B. miyamotoi, with a higher percentage of organisms detected in tissue than blood. So in this way, it is a burrowing organism like Lyme and does not prefer blood, it prefers tissue. Perhaps one reason why blood testing is not at 99.9%--like some over stated toxicology drugs of abuse labs report.

Fisheries and Wildlife at University of Michigan have also detected the organism it its wildlife. Borrelia miyamotoi has also been found in NY, RI, NJ, CT, and CA.

Some have suggested these bacteria might be passed between generations of ticks,without requiring deer as hosts to sustain its life cycle. Since deer are already falsely made a primary target when the ticks that carry Lyme use over 200 carriers, this may help correct the dated notion of deer numbers matching tick infection percents.

Researchers in the United States report it is possible that "someprolonged episodes of illness attributed to Lyme disease and designated as"chronic Lyme disease"are due to B. miyamotoi infection." Patients may remain undiagnosed because the disease can, like Lyme disease, be confused with any number of illnesses (MS, Parkinson's, ALS, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, etc), including infections caused by any of the 300+ known strains of Borrelia that may or may not cause serious human or animal disease.

According to an advocate education group in Maryland, the number of identifiable vector-borne pathogens is steadily increasing, which we know from gene banks, but they remind us that the resulting diseases are undetectable,as there are currently no commercial tests available. Specifically, they report species, strains and genotypes of Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonellosis, Q-fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness(STARI- Borrelia lonestari), viral infections, Tularemia, Brucellosis, ParvoB-19, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) have been detected in patients,pets and wildlife in Maryland, with a growing number of patients being found to be multiply co-infected. I would add the new species of Babesia grows roughly every couple months.

As a reminder of medical limits--Rockey Mountain Spotted Fever was discovered over 100 years ago, and in past decades we learned location determines death most likely due to variation in the bacteria, and it still kills today even with good care.

A new RMSF-like organism, Rickettesia amblyommii, was discovered in Maryland ticks (2008) by US Army researchers at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Cases of Babesiosis, responsible for a growing number of blood-transfusion deaths, is caused by Babesia microti and what was once thought to be a "west-coast" strain of Babesia (Babesia duncani). Both are found all over the world and are not localized to sections of the USA.

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