New Tick-Spread Disease Spurs Education Campaign

Jul 24, 2002, 01:00 ET from Lyme Disease Foundation

    HARTFORD, Conn., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Peak tick season is here, and
 patients are going to doctors with symptoms of early and late Lyme disease.
 Now there is a new wrinkle with this often hard to diagnose disease: some
 patients may actually have cat scratch disease, an infection caused by the
 bacterium Bartonella (B.) henselae.  This is important because this may be a
 new emerging tick-borne infection that can mimic seronegative or chronic Lyme
 disease, yet its treatment requires different and sometimes multiple
 antibiotics.
     Eli Mordechai, PhD, one of the first researchers to study tick-borne cat
 scratch disease, recently announced his research on 126 New Jersey
 black-legged ticks.  His results show that 36% of ticks were infected with
 bartonella, 30% were infected with the Lyme pathogen, and 7% were infected
 with both.  The question is are patients getting infected?
     In a study published in the peer-reviewed publication Journal of
 Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Diseases (2002; Vol.9; 23-26) Dr. Lesley Fein, MD,
 MPH, performed an analysis of 327 patients with tick exposure. Her results
 suggested similar infection rates to those among New Jersey ticks: 28% of
 patients tested positive for bartonella, 19% tested positive for Lyme, and 6%
 tested positive for both.  She said two patients with late stage, untreated
 neurological symptoms that tested positive for bartonella infection suffered
 paralysis.  Other published research supports these findings and also suggests
 that coinfections of Lyme disease and cat scratch fever can prevent
 complete resolution of either infection.
     Early symptoms of bartonella include a red, crusted elevated skin lesion
 where the bacteria enters its host (which can mimic the Lyme disease enlarging
 rash), followed by flu-like symptoms of fever, muscle and joint aches/pain,
 nausea, vomiting, and chills. A good indicator of infection with the disease
 is swollen painful lymph nodes or the combination of conjunctivitis with
 enlargement of the lymph nodes around the ears.  More serious symptoms include
 encephalitis, which can result in severe headaches, dementia, seizures, coma,
 inflammation of the heart, abdominal pain, bone lesions, and loss of vision.
 Treatment with multiple antibiotics is becoming more common.
     "Both Lyme and bartonella are have a well-established ability to infect
 the nervous system," said Leslie A. Fein, MD, MPH, of Mountainside Hospital in
 New Jersey.  "Bartonella is especially concerning, however, because it often
 causes inflammation of the blood and lymph vessels, resulting in very serious
 symptoms."
     Dr. Fein, a physician and epidemiologist, noted that tick infection rates
 demonstrate an increasing frequency of Bartonella from April through July,
 with a peak infection rate at the end of July, when 70% of ticks tested
 bartonella-positive.   This suggests that the majority of people bitten at
 this time of year would be exposed to this infection more than Lyme disease.
 The East Coast isn't the only area where this is a concern.  In addition to
 research that reveals 85% of ticks in North Carolina are infected with the
 bartonella bacteria, studies have also revealed 20% of black-legged ticks in
 California are also infected.  Confirmed vectors of the disease include sand
 fleas, lice, and cat fleas.
     This stresses the need for people to increase their prevention of all
 tick-borne disorders, according to the Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF).
 "Ticks are cesspools that can transmit many diseases through a single bite,"
 said LDF chair Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, MBA, CPCU, CLU. "This can lead to
 misdiagnosis and mistreatment."
     It is also a reason for doctors to consider treating patients with
 antibiotics on known tick-bites, she added.
     Ms. Forschner encourages everyone to participate in the LDF's new
 education program "Each One, Reach One."  The program urges people to educate
 others about tick-borne diseases.   This could mean sending a Lyme brochure to
 a friend, placing one on a supermarket bulletin board, sending a video to a
 local school's health teacher, or having a guest speaker present at the
 workplace, Ms. Forschner said.  The LDF has a wide source of educational
 material for use in this campaign.  This includes the brochures Guide to
 Tick-Spread Diseases and Tick Wallet Card.  Brochures can be downloaded from
 the website www.lyme.org, and single copies can be obtained by sending a
 self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Lyme Disease Foundation, One
 Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103.  Bulk copies are available for purchase
 from the LDF.
     The mild winter and wet spring are key indicators 2002 will likely be a
 record year for tick populations and reported cases of tick-borne diseases.
 Other tick-borne diseases include babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, tularemia,
 Colorado tick fever, tick paralysis, Powassan encephalitis, relapsing fever,
 and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
     Contact the LDF for interviews, B-Roll, and PSAs for TV, radio and print.
 
     Contact:
      Chris Malinowski
      860-525-2000
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X89576405
 
 

SOURCE Lyme Disease Foundation
    HARTFORD, Conn., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Peak tick season is here, and
 patients are going to doctors with symptoms of early and late Lyme disease.
 Now there is a new wrinkle with this often hard to diagnose disease: some
 patients may actually have cat scratch disease, an infection caused by the
 bacterium Bartonella (B.) henselae.  This is important because this may be a
 new emerging tick-borne infection that can mimic seronegative or chronic Lyme
 disease, yet its treatment requires different and sometimes multiple
 antibiotics.
     Eli Mordechai, PhD, one of the first researchers to study tick-borne cat
 scratch disease, recently announced his research on 126 New Jersey
 black-legged ticks.  His results show that 36% of ticks were infected with
 bartonella, 30% were infected with the Lyme pathogen, and 7% were infected
 with both.  The question is are patients getting infected?
     In a study published in the peer-reviewed publication Journal of
 Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Diseases (2002; Vol.9; 23-26) Dr. Lesley Fein, MD,
 MPH, performed an analysis of 327 patients with tick exposure. Her results
 suggested similar infection rates to those among New Jersey ticks: 28% of
 patients tested positive for bartonella, 19% tested positive for Lyme, and 6%
 tested positive for both.  She said two patients with late stage, untreated
 neurological symptoms that tested positive for bartonella infection suffered
 paralysis.  Other published research supports these findings and also suggests
 that coinfections of Lyme disease and cat scratch fever can prevent
 complete resolution of either infection.
     Early symptoms of bartonella include a red, crusted elevated skin lesion
 where the bacteria enters its host (which can mimic the Lyme disease enlarging
 rash), followed by flu-like symptoms of fever, muscle and joint aches/pain,
 nausea, vomiting, and chills. A good indicator of infection with the disease
 is swollen painful lymph nodes or the combination of conjunctivitis with
 enlargement of the lymph nodes around the ears.  More serious symptoms include
 encephalitis, which can result in severe headaches, dementia, seizures, coma,
 inflammation of the heart, abdominal pain, bone lesions, and loss of vision.
 Treatment with multiple antibiotics is becoming more common.
     "Both Lyme and bartonella are have a well-established ability to infect
 the nervous system," said Leslie A. Fein, MD, MPH, of Mountainside Hospital in
 New Jersey.  "Bartonella is especially concerning, however, because it often
 causes inflammation of the blood and lymph vessels, resulting in very serious
 symptoms."
     Dr. Fein, a physician and epidemiologist, noted that tick infection rates
 demonstrate an increasing frequency of Bartonella from April through July,
 with a peak infection rate at the end of July, when 70% of ticks tested
 bartonella-positive.   This suggests that the majority of people bitten at
 this time of year would be exposed to this infection more than Lyme disease.
 The East Coast isn't the only area where this is a concern.  In addition to
 research that reveals 85% of ticks in North Carolina are infected with the
 bartonella bacteria, studies have also revealed 20% of black-legged ticks in
 California are also infected.  Confirmed vectors of the disease include sand
 fleas, lice, and cat fleas.
     This stresses the need for people to increase their prevention of all
 tick-borne disorders, according to the Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF).
 "Ticks are cesspools that can transmit many diseases through a single bite,"
 said LDF chair Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, MBA, CPCU, CLU. "This can lead to
 misdiagnosis and mistreatment."
     It is also a reason for doctors to consider treating patients with
 antibiotics on known tick-bites, she added.
     Ms. Forschner encourages everyone to participate in the LDF's new
 education program "Each One, Reach One."  The program urges people to educate
 others about tick-borne diseases.   This could mean sending a Lyme brochure to
 a friend, placing one on a supermarket bulletin board, sending a video to a
 local school's health teacher, or having a guest speaker present at the
 workplace, Ms. Forschner said.  The LDF has a wide source of educational
 material for use in this campaign.  This includes the brochures Guide to
 Tick-Spread Diseases and Tick Wallet Card.  Brochures can be downloaded from
 the website www.lyme.org, and single copies can be obtained by sending a
 self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Lyme Disease Foundation, One
 Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103.  Bulk copies are available for purchase
 from the LDF.
     The mild winter and wet spring are key indicators 2002 will likely be a
 record year for tick populations and reported cases of tick-borne diseases.
 Other tick-borne diseases include babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, tularemia,
 Colorado tick fever, tick paralysis, Powassan encephalitis, relapsing fever,
 and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
     Contact the LDF for interviews, B-Roll, and PSAs for TV, radio and print.
 
     Contact:
      Chris Malinowski
      860-525-2000
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X89576405
 
 SOURCE  Lyme Disease Foundation