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Co-infection of Ticks: The Rule Rather Than the Exception

Discussion in 'Lyme Disease and Co-Infections' started by justy, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    A study of 267 ticks collected in France finds co infections are more common than believed

    http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0004539
     
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  2. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    This is probably a dumb question (if I don't ask them, who will?), but how do they test for these things in ticks when the tests for lyme and co-infections in humans are so contentious?

    I mean, if there was a totally reliable test for borrelia in ticks (and the way a lot of the tick-related research is written implies that there is), why don't they use uninfected ticks to test for borrelia spirochetes in humans? I gather that ticks in the human body detect the saliva of a biting tick in the bloodstream and some of them head for the bite location so then can enter the tick and restart the transmission cycle.
     
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  3. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    Also, testing is so poor for some of these co-infections that some patients aren't even aware they are harboring multiple pathogens (since many symptoms from different tick-borne diseases mirror each other). Arguably worse, I think some pathogens like Bartonella and Babesia may actually at first run latent, only to appear after Lyme has whittled down the infected person's immune system.

    Sorry, @sarah darwins , we seem to have cross-posted.
     
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  4. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    I am an example. I have tested positive for Lyme since early 2000's, but only recently tested positive for the two B's. Both are IgG,s so they are not new infections.
     
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  5. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    Borrelia and other organisms in ticks are detected by a direct method, namely PCR (which detects DNA of the organisms). This is a very sensitive and specific test if done properly (if not there can be a high incidence of false positives).

    The ticks are crushed so the whole organism is sampled. When testing humans, it is some body fluid, usually blood or urine which is sampled, not the whole organism. Everything we know about Borrelia tells us that it is likely that the organism will not be in these places but inside cells, particularly in connective tissue.

    So the problem lies not so much in the test but in an appropriate way to sample a human.
     
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  6. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Ah, that makes sense. Crushing whole humans is a no-no. Thanks, AliceC.
     
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  7. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    The ticks I know the most about feed only three times in their lives.
     
  8. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    PCR is terrific when it works in humans; it's just that it doesn't work all that frequently with Borrelia. It's even less sensitive with CSF exams as it is with blood draws.

    Even when it registers a positive, it can be discounted as positive for debris only, and not a viable spirochete.

    I'm not sure of the sensitivity for bartonella and babesia. Both of those are typically tested serologically, of course, but babesia also employs smears - which are hit or miss.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    The ticks were taken from the very northeast section of France, so on the border with Belgium.

    Interestingly, only about 20% of the ticks had actual Lyme (B. Burgdorferi). Rickettsia Helvetica, Wolbachia species, and Bartonella Henslae (Cat Scratch Disease) had a similar prevalence rate.

    Midichloria Mitochondrii had a 100% prevalence, probably because it is directly passed from mama ticks to their cute little baby ticks. That one is remarkable because it infects mitochondria, the energy source of cells. At least one of KDM's patients has tested positive for this, via a German hospital.

    The 2nd most prevalent was spiroplasma species at around 75%, most of which won't be happy with human body temperatures, but some of which can handle it. #3 is Acinotobacter at around 65%, which is most often associated with infections picked up in hospitals.
     
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  10. Helen

    Helen Senior Member

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    It was analysed by the university hospital of Liège in Belgium ;).

    This bacteria has also been found in Norwegian cattle. The lab analyses were made in Sweden. Evidently nobody has imagined that people could be infected by this bacteria, although living in this area, until KDM looked for it - and found it in some of us.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25132534

    Today the study you posted @justy , was mentioned here on the news, so hopefully doctors will stop ridiculizing us who never got cured by three weeks of Doxyferm that is the current protocol for Lyme. Thanks to the French research team! They didn´t only think inside the box.
     
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  11. Theodore

    Theodore Senior Member

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    Hi Valentijn, are you saying that more than 20% of ticks have Lyme and other pathogens?
     
  12. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    No, that's how many ticks they're saying had Lyme in the sample tested. The same ticks and other ticks also had co-infections.
     
  13. Theodore

    Theodore Senior Member

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    Oh sorry...thanks.
     
  14. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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  15. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    It seems to me that if that protein is specific to Lyme then it suggests that Lyme is quite common in northern California.
     
  16. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    The opening two paragraphs:

    "The Western fence lizard’s reputation for helping to reduce the threat of Lyme disease is in jeopardy. A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that areas where the lizard had been removed saw a subsequent drop in the population of the ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
    “Our expectation going into this study was that removing the lizards would increase the risk of Lyme disease, so we were surprised by these findings,” said study lead author Andrea Swei, who conducted the study while she was a Ph.D. student in integrative biology at UC Berkeley. “Our experiment found that the net result of lizard removal was a decrease in the density of infected ticks, and therefore decreased Lyme disease risk to humans.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  17. msf

    msf Senior Member

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  18. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    Apparently the incidence of Lyme in adult I. Pacificus in California is 1-5%, and in nymphs it´s 1-20%. So it seems like the lizards are helping, but it would be even better if they weren´t there at all! I love seemingly paradoxical situations such as this one. I guess the nymphal ticks have evolved to feed on the lizards, to the detriment of Borrelia, but when they aren´t there is nothing for the ticks to feed on so Borrelia does even worse!

    It´s a pity that nymphs seem more of a problem than the adults in terms of infecting humans, at least in some regions/in the case of some species of tick: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877959X14000880?np=y
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  19. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    Just a thought, how about playing God and importing some of these lizards into the Eastern United States and Europe...what could possibly go wrong?
     
  20. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    Or injecting lizard blood into Lyme patients?
     

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