2012 Update to Doctors
Letter to Doctors Advising of Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases
Lyme Disease Awareness Month- May 2012
May 17, 2012- The Virginia Department of Health (DOH) sent the attached letter (linked below) to some health care professionals in Virginia. The two-page letter is well written and covers several important topics.
Although there are a couple of inaccuracies in the letter, the effort by the Virginia DOH is appreciated and their action should help alert doctors to the growing tick borne disease problem.
Noted in the DOH letter as inaccurate and/or incomplete information:
"An infected tick must be attached to the skin for at least 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease..."
This statement has been proven in multiple scientific studies and by way of clinical practices to be inaccurate. A random sampling of some of the most recent reports concerning varying transmission times are located here and here, here, and here.
"Transmission can not occur without a tick bite... "
This "assumption" in regards to Lyme or other tick borne diseases is not based on scientific evidence, but rather more likely the lack thereof. The claim that tick borne diseases can not be transmitted by any means other than a tick bite can mislead patients and their doctors during the diagnostic process, causing fatal results in some cases.
When there are no studies proving otherwise, as in this case, information regarding other potential modes of transmission should be shared so as to not mislead the public or health care professionals into thinking it is impossible to contract tick borne diseases by any other means. The truth is, the facts concerning potential transmission modes are not known. The "assumption" asserted above is not a proven fact- it is no more than an unsubstantiated opinion.
Lyme and/or other tick borne diseases have been documented to be passed to humans/animals by various vectors and through additional modes, including blood transfusions (Babesiosis, Human Anaplasmosis, etc), and handling ticks- transdermal/cuts/wounds or unknown means (RMSF). Warnings to hunters about wearing gloves while butchering deer and other animal meat have been issued by some health care professionals for safety reasons.
Dairy and beef cattle have been discovered to have Lyme (Borrelia) and other tick borne infectious organisms (Babesia, Bartonella, etc.) in their milk, blood, tissues and synovial fluids. Some fish have been discovered to harbor Ehrlichia (DNA).
It is reported to be theoretically possible to transmit tick borne diseases to human through bites of various insects and other vectors harboring the Lyme disease spirochetes and other infectious organisms, however, transmission by these other vectors has not been fully studied.
There are several tick borne diseases, known and potentially unknown, that commercial tests cannot detect and the potential transmission routes for these more recently discovered infectious organisms has not been explored.
Spirochete DNA has been found in human semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk and umbilical cord blood. This begs the question, can Lyme and other tick borne diseases be sexually transmitted? There are no credible studies indicating it can not be transmitted in this fashion.
*** If you prefer to rely on the CDC/IDSA information, rather than the information Virginia Lyme has provided above for your consideration, please be sure to ask the CDC/IDSA to see the scientific proof supporting their statements. [Hint- Don't hold your breath waiting for their "formulated response".]