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“Recent” Tick Science From 1909, Revised in 1949 (Then Apparently Forgotten)

Until at least 1949, only soft bodied ticks were considered to carry the spirochetes later learned to be associated with Lyme disease.  Later it was found that hard bodied ticks carried them also, but I’m at a loss as to how it was forgotten that they also were carried by soft bodied ticks.

For the past several decades this information has mattered greatly in tracking and detection of Lyme and associated diseases, but soft bodied ticks are excluded as vectors by mainstream medicine.  Why on earth would this be?  Fortunately this has been refuted by recent studies, but I’m baffled as to why that was necessary, when we’ve known this since 1909 (and well before).

According to this Video Lecture….

Maybe everyone already knows this, but I’m intrigued by the fact (which I’m hearing from a very long youtube power point medical lecture on lyme, which I can’t quite explain why I’m watching) that prior to 1949 only soft bodied ticks (ie NOT deer ticks) were thought to carry spirochetes.

According to the Youtube video posted here, when a paper William Burgdor heard presented in 1949 postulated that hard ticks (which include ixodes species and thus deer ticks) carried Borrellia spirochetes, it was “considered heresy” because only soft ticks were then thought to carry spirochetes. Yet here we are, 65 years later, being told (despite the evidence) that we’re crazy for thinking soft ticks (which have been known to carry lyme for at least twice as long as hard ticks) could possibly give us lyme disease!

The Context? Tick Biology and Lyme Science Soapboxing….

Sorry for the rant, but this was my first soap box issue when diagnosed (tick biology, including vector species and species distributions).  I could never support, as a biologist, that my state has no deer ticks, nor that it would matter (even if we didn’t have them), since we have plenty of other tick species present with no valid reasons why they would all be incapable of transmitting Lyme.

How did this slip away in the first place?

Did the medical community just “forget” that we already knew this? And that we’d known this for twice as long as we’ve known about deer ticks as carriers?

So…..we’ve known this for around a hundred and five years and IGNORING THIS FACT lets my state deny this disease?

This is part of why I like using the term “best available science” (which I am required by law to consider in every biological document I write as a biologist) rather than current science, because it implies that all the CDC has to do is catch up a little bit. In reality, a great deal of the science that needs to be incorporated is not new at all and spans multiple decades.

Or, in this case, a century (since the lecture in the video referenced accounts of ticks carrying Borrellia from as early as 1909).

I definitely want to look into this further, when energy allows, and a interested in in what others have found on the topic.

The Take-Home

Your risk of Lyme from a tick bite is not limited to one or two species of ticks.  This is one of multiple common misnomers that can be very dangerous to accept.

Others factors to consider that are contrary to common myths (with copious supporting information fairly easy to find):

-Lyme can be contracted in any state.

-Tick distributions are not known in many states (gaps in presence of specific species on CDC maps often represent areas that have not been surveyed recently, as demonstrated by recent findings in North Dakota).

-A tick does not have to be embedded for 36 hours to transmit Lyme.  There is evidence of less than 12 hours in both humans and in laboratory animal experiments (as was also the case for me).

-Many (if not most) patients to dot experience or do not notice a rash.

-Many patients do not recall a tick bite.

-Two tiered testing, even if applied at the appropriate time (which is often not the case) is more likely to miss Lyme than to detect it when it is actually present.

-Lyme can take for more than a 28 day course of a single antibiotic to treat, especially if not treated in the acute phase.

*I haven’t watched this video all the way through, so I can’t speak to his accuracy on some of the common Lyme and tick myths.  I found the ‘heresy’ statements extremely intriguing.

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