Alarming news for New England, and a likely indicator of things to come for the rest of the US as ticks continue to multiply at unprecedented levels due to global warming. I used to scoffat the dire predictions of global warming having lived for almost two decades in Maine where the winter months last 8 months (and boy are they COLD!)
However, my mother, who was born and raised in Maine remembers as a child spending days on end in the woods and never seeing a tick. My grandfather who was an avid hunter didn’t see ticks on the deer.
And the hunters I know (who by the way, depend on hunting – they feed their families by stocking their freezers every fall during deer season) will tell you the same thing – that the deer in years past were not covered in ticks like they are today. In fact, the hunters I know speak of deer and even moose that are found dead in the woods from no apparent cause other than being covered in ticks.
So it comes as no surprise that a recent report from Maine Medical Center recently (October 2015) reported that 50% of all deer ticks carry Borrelia, and even more alarming is that 9 out of 10 ticks in Maine are deer ticks. See http://www.necn.com/news/health/Researchers-Half-of-Maines-Deer-Ticks-Carry-Lyme-Disease-336055561.html.
The Lyme-literate doctors are scheduling six months in advance which can be the difference between recovery and misery for many. Because unfortunately most people don’t suspect Lyme until long after the optimal window of treatment closes. Thankfully many of the hospitals are routinely giving prophylactic antibiotics for up to a month. And I try to tell people to request extra strength for extra long (ie. 200mg Doxy for 4 – 6 weeks instead of 100 mg for 2 – 3 weeks.)
Meanwhile, potentially good news comes from Amsterdam where a new home test kit has become available and is selling like hotcakes. The test, developed and sold by Arnoud Aalbersberg will show whether a tick has Borrelia within 20 minutes – unfortunately you must have the tick that bit you which for many people goes unnoticed.
The test kit will become available in the US in 2016 if all goes well with the FDA – Arnoud Aalbersberg’s home Lyme disease testing kit is well on its way to hitting markets in the United States.
The tick is considered an occupational hazard in the Netherlands, and causes many health concerns for soldiers, police and forest rangers.
Aalbersberg is said to be well on his way to a 2016 Canadian launch, and hopes to find multiple reliable distributors throughout the United States for the future success of the product. See http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/10/23/home-lyme-disease-test-ready-for-u-s-canada-sales/