Infectious Disease Reports (Cosiquien, R.J.S., et al.) 06.26.2023 published “Anaplasma phagocytophilum Encephalitis: A Case Report and Literature Review of Neurologic Manifestations of Anaplasmosis.” In this case report, authors describe the […]
Other Tick-Borne Diseases
One tick bite can give people more than one tick-borne disease (co-infection). In addition to Lyme disease, here are some other tick-borne diseases found in the US.
The Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal (Mendoza M. A., et al.) 08.04.2023, published “Powassan virus encephalitis: a tertiary center experience.” In this study, the researchers collected and analyzed clinical and epidemiological data from patients who had been diagnosed with neuroinvasive POWV infection from a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic from 2013 to 2022.
Powassan virus (POWV) is a type of flavivirus that is transmitted by Ixodes spp ticks. This virus has been recognized as an emerging pathogen that can cause neuroinvasive diseases, which affect the nervous system, and can lead to serious outcomes. The study identified sixteen patients who had been infected with neuroinvasive POWV. Within 90 days of diagnosis, three cases (18.8%) resulted in the patients’ deaths. Among the survivors, eight patients (72.7%) experienced residual neurological deficits, indicating lasting effects on their nervous systems.
The Molecular Therapy Journal (Pine M., et al.) 08.01.2023, published “Development of an mRNA-lipid nanoparticle vaccine against Lyme disease.” In this study, scientists propose using a new method called “mRNA-LNP” to create a Lyme disease vaccine, similar to the successful COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine would target a specific protein in the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease, called OspA. This protein is found on the surface of B. burgdorferi and is essential for its survival in ticks. By targeting this bacterium, the vaccine aims to prevent the bacteria from infecting humans when bitten by ticks.
In 1998, there was an alum-adjuvanted recombinant OspA protein vaccine release called LYMErix™, that showed to decrease Lyme disease by 75% within a year, but the vaccine was removed from the market in 2002, just four years after its release. Since then, there has been no FDA-approved vaccine for Lyme disease, while cases continue to rise.
The Pathogens Journal (Bush J. C., et al.) 07.18.2023, published “Viability and Desiccation Resistance of Bartonella henselae in Biological and Non-Biological Fluids: Evidence for Pathogen Environmental Stability.” The aim of this study is to understand Bartonella henselae‘s ability to survive in various fluids outside its host, which could potentially lead to infections in both animals and humans through environmental exposure. The researchers tested feline whole blood, serum, and urine, as well as bovine milk and physiologic saline (to simulate coastal marine conditions).
The Tick and Tick-borne Diseases Journal (Eisen L. & Eisen R. J.) 07.24.2023, published “Changes in the Geographic Distribution of the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis, in the United States.” The study aims to provide a geographical history of the occurrence of Ixodes scapularis (the blacklegged tick) in the US from the 1800s to present. Over time, changes in tick surveillance has made it hard to distinguish between the actual expansion of the tick’s range and better detection of existing populations.
There are two new reports published by the CDC’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), also known as the red meat allergy. AGS is an emerging tick bite associated allergic condition to most mammalian meat. These reports highlight that “AGS is of increasing concern for public health, but many healthcare providers (HCPs) are unaware of the condition and how to diagnose or manage it.”
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Thompson, J. M., et al.) 07.28.2023, published the first report “Geographic Distribution of Suspected Alpha-gal Syndrome Cases — United States, January 2017-December 2022.” This report aims to make public health agencies and healthcare providers aware of AGS case hotspots in the United States in order to recognize the impact AGS is having in the country. Most cases were reported in the southern, midwestern, and mid-Atlantic United States.
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Carpenter, A., et al.) 07.28.2023, published the second report “Health Care Provider Knowledge Regarding Alpha-gal Syndrome — United States, March–May 2022.” This report is the first national survey to assess healthcare provider’s knowledge of AGS. Approximately 42% of the United State’s Healthcare providers had never heard of AGS, with only 29% of providers who knew of the condition knowledgeable to diagnosis it. The report highlights the need for further awareness and education of AGS to help improve patient care in the United States.
The CDC, in collaboration with Medscape, is providing a free CME/CE training so learners are better able to self-assess gaps in their knowledge regarding the diagnosis and management of patients with AGS. Providers can access the training below.
The eBioMedicine Journal (Bézay, N., et al.) 07.04.2023, published “Safety and immunogenicity of a novel multivalent OspA-based vaccine candidate against Lyme borreliosis: a randomised, phase 1 study in healthy adults.”
This study investigates a Lyme borreliosis vaccine candidate (VLA15) to prevent an infection with pathogenic Borrelia spp which in prevalent in North America. Lyme borreliosis can potentially lead to long-term complications and so developing a vaccine that could prevent such serious effects would be life changing. Trials were performed on a randomized group of eligible healthy adults between 18 and 40 years old. Adverse reactions to the vaccine ranged from mild to moderate (please read the article for more details of adverse reactions). The results of the trials were that the VLA15 vaccine against Lyme borreliosis was safe and immunogenic, meaning it was able to produce an immune response, and “paves the way to further clinical development.”
The Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Journal (Clark K. L. & Nunez J. V.) 07.10.2023, published “Detection of Bartonella DNA in Yellow Flies, Lone Star Ticks, and a Human Patient with Concurrent Evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi Infection in Northeast Florida, USA.” This study investigates cases of Bartonella species and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl) in yellow flies in northeast Florida that led to the discovery of cases of Bartonella and Bbsl in lone star ticks and one human patient.
By sampling the flies, ticks, and one human patient in Florida, who had experienced chronic relapsing and remitting symptoms for over a decade, and detecting Bartonella and Bbsl, this study strengthens the understudy of these vectors in the southern United States, but more studies of these vectors in these hosts are needed.
The Nature Communications Journal (Puthussery J. V., et al.) 07.10.2023, published “Real-Time Environmental Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 Aerosols.” This study focuses on the use of virus aerosol detection to test the air to detect the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is spread through droplets in the air, expelled from people when they cough, sneeze, breathe, and speak.