COVID in White-tailed Deer?

In a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) serum samples were analyzed from free-ranging white-tailed deer for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Researchers found that a cohort of white-tailed deer populations from Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania were exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The USDA-APHIS has published an informational brief that addresses both questions and answers regarding these findings. USDA-APHIS also expresses the need for more research on the significance of the finding of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in free-ranging white-tailed deer,  as well as what, if any, potential impacts this may have on overall deer populations, other wildlife species, and humans.

Read the full publication here

Read more LDA Articles on COVID here

Breaking Lyme News! Today

July 29–The Lyme Disease Association is pleased to announce that Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) has been successful in have 2 bipartisan amendments to increase Lyme disease funding by $8 M pass the House today. The Amendments are part of the House consideration of Labor HHS and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

One amendment enables the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to redirect funds from one of its accounts to its CDC’s Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Disease account for Lyme disease activities.  The other directs the  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to spend $5 million of its funding on the LymeX Innovation Accelerator—a new public-private partnership with the Steven & Alexander Cohen Foundation which would spur innovative research through a prize competition. The Lyme disease amendments were co-sponsored by a group of bipartisan Lyme Caucus members. 

Congressman Smith also had $10 M increase in autism funding pass the House today.

Next stop Senate

Language to enhance research for Lyme disease research which was supported by bipartisan members of the Lyme caucus was also contained in the Report language of the HHS Labor Appropriations more than a week ago. The Lyme Disease Association Inc. had input into the development of that language.

Rhode Island Lyme Resolution Passed by Senate

The RI Resolution S0711  introduced by Senator Stephen Archambault (RI 22-D), which was amended on the floor, requests the RI Department of Health to increase public awareness of Lyme activities that expose people to ticks, educate on symptoms of Lyme and importance of early detection, and to update physician protocols with regard to early detection and treatment.

The resolution notes that delayed treatment can lead to more severe and persistent symptoms that are more difficult to treat. It points out Chapter 37.5 of title 5 provides for insurance coverage for the treatment of Lyme disease. This is in reference to a law that the Lyme Disease Association Inc. worked on in Rhode Island with the newly formed Lyme Disease Association Rhode Island Chapter to achieve its passage in 2004.

No mention was made of the law the Lyme Disease Association and Rhode Island  advocates had gotten passed in 2002 preventing the RI Medical Board from prosecuting physicians for long term treatment.

The newly passed Resolution is now in effect.

2021- S0711 as amended (PDF)


See info on steps in passage of Resolution


HHS TBD Working Group 2021-22: 1st Meeting Aug. 26

 The HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (WG) of 2021-2022 will hold its first meeting on August 26, 2021. The details of the meeting can be found on the HHS TBD Working Group website. Verbal comments and written comments can be submitted according to rules on the website. This term is the last segment of the WG, which was mandated by the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law in 2016. The WG brings together Lyme and TBD stakeholders in a transparent setting where discussions are held and decisions are made on recommendations to be included in a report to Congress–this last report to be presented in 2022.  
Find information on the meeting below
Find Info on 2020 Report to Congress
More Info on the WG and 2020 Report to Congress

ALERT! CPAP & BiPAP Users, Recall

The Lyme Disease Association Inc. urges you to read the URGENT letter to CPAP & BiPAP device customers from Phillips Respironics below on details of the recall if you have any connection to these devices.  The devices are listed in the recall notice and on the website.  According to the Customer Letter, “These issues can result in serious injury which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and/or require medical intervention to preclude permanent impairment.”  Actions for you to take can be found in links below. 

Recall Notice Letter to Customers

Philips Website Details on Recall


Maryland Department of Health Warns Doctors About Lyme

In a letter to physicians, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) warns doctors to pay attention to Lyme which is the most frequently diagnosed tick-borne disease (TBD) in Maryland residents (1400 cases 2019). The MDH also cautions them to report other TBDs, which it specifically names. The letter also points out the similarities of Lyme symptoms to COVID 19 symptoms and reminds providers of obligation to report the required TBDs.

Tick bite prevention tips are offered, and a Maryland Tick Identification Service is provided in the letter. https://health.maryland.gov/phpa/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/Tick-Identification.aspx

Read full letter here  

Read more LDA articles on Maryland here

Current Lyme Reporting in Non-Endemic States Needs Tick-Bite Reporting

Data from a survey of respondents with self-reported tick bite encounters who concurrently reported a clinical or serological Lyme disease (LD) diagnosis from non-endemic states for Lyme disease was published in the journal Healthcare, June 21, 2021.  Focusing on Texas, which due to large size, diverse climate, and ecological conditions, reflects environments that promote ticks, the scientists compared data from the self-reported LD patients with county-level confirmed cases of LD from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and from serological canine reports. CDC has characterized states as low-incidence or non-endemic for Lyme, including Texas.

The findings indicated that “tick bite reports accurately overlapped with the geographic patterns of those patients previously known to be CDC-positive for serological LD and with canine-positive tests for Borrelia burgdorferi, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, as well as within neighboring counties and ecological regions. LD patient-reported tick bite encounters, corrected for population density, also accurately aligned with official CDC county hot-spots.”

Human LD cases that meet CDC surveillance criteria are compiled and reported. However, no agency or organization tracks LD cases from patients who do not meet CDC criteria. The CDC publishes LD cases by county, but the data is not always captured by county of exposure. Some cases may have been acquired during travel and not locally acquired in the county of diagnosis. 

Some patients diagnosed with LD will have co-infections from other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) —  “…the CDC and many states do not provide human TBD data at the county level for use in research or analysis.”  The lack of this data available, coupled with a difficult-to-diagnose disease such as LD underscore the importance of using patient self-reported disease and official counts of disease as “epidemiological tools when disease can be linked to an event, such as a tick bite,” even though these methods are not widely used methods of surveillance.

“Tick-Borne Surveillance Patterns in Perceived Non-Endemic Geographic Areas: Human Tick Encounters and Disease Outcomes” by Sarah P. Maxwell, Connie L. McNeely, Kevin Thomas, and Chris Brooks indicates the following, “A finding of self-reported LD cases (via clinical or serological diagnosis), supported by known tick bites in CDC-positive ecological regions (eco-regions), provides an indicator that patient-reported LD and CDC-confirmed cases are strongly tied. This study uses county level, human, canine, and ecological data, providing an investigative snapshot of geographic overlap in Texas.”

Read full article here

More information on Diagnosis by Geography here (LDA website)

Read CDC Lyme Surveillance Criteria here



Emergency Meeting Planned After Rise in Myocarditis Following Covid Vaccine

Increased cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in the United States after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) since April 2021, particularly in adolescents and young adults. These rates for ages 16-24 following a second dose are above what is expected. Myocarditis or pericarditis has now been verified in 226 people ages 30 and younger who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and Federal Health Officials are investigating reports of approximately 250 more cases. 

Due to this increase, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on June 18, 2021 to discuss myocarditis cases and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) plans to closely monitor meeting.  However, at this time, there is no recommended change to vaccination of adolescents 12 and older.

Cases have been reported predominantly in young males 16 years of age and older, with onset of symptoms typically manifesting within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. Symptoms have more often occurred after the second dose of vaccine than the first dose. 

It is recommended by the CDC that clinicians consider myocarditis and pericarditis in patients who develop acute chest pain, shortness of breath or heart palpitations within a week after vaccination, and to report cases of myocarditis and/or pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. (VAERS).

Read full American Academy of Pediatrics article here.

Read more LDA Articles on COVID vaccine here.

Congressman Gottheimer: Lyme Press Conference on Fed. Leg.– LDA Pres. Speaks

Rep. Josh Gottheimer & Pat Smith, LDA President at Press Conference, West Milford, NJ

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5-D) held a press conference to discuss Lyme disease and three bi-partisan bills currently introduced into the House of Representatives. He spoke about the seriousness of the disease in NJ and in his district and of the need for funds to help with diagnostics and new treatments and help for the patients suffering from persistent symptoms. 

LDA President Pat Smith was asked to speak at the press conference on June 10, 2021 in West Milford, NJ, and discussed her personal family involvement with Lyme and tick-borne disease and how the LDA has been active in Washington fighting for help for patients which includes the establishment of the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, where she served for four years, and the recent introduction of the Children Inflicted by Lyme Disabilities Act, CHILD Act 2021 (HR 3636), for which LDA initiated and helped in development of the language.
The CHILD Act 2021 was introduced in the house by Lyme Caucus Co-chair Congressman Christopher Smith (NJ-4-R) and co-sponsored by Congressman Gottheimer and Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX-28-D), Bill Posey (FL-8-R), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1-R).  The purpose of the bill is “To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA to recognize more clearly that Lyme disease can cause disabilities that affect the education of children and to enhance educational services and related services for children with Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and for other purposes.” Children can have manifestations including cognitive impairment, mental confusion, memory loss, headaches, difficulty concentrating, speech difficulty, visual and hearing problems, dizziness, mood swings, outbursts, depression, sleep disturbance, OCD, and seizure activity, all of which affect their educational experience. Read LDA article on the Bill

Patients and family members & advocates with Pat Smith, LDA, at the Press Conference

Congressman Gottheimer also co-sponsored HR3637, introduced by Smith, authorizing HHS to be able to launch prize competitions for research. HHS and the Alexandra and Stephen Cohen Foundation have formed a public private partnership, LymeX, which will host competitions. The idea is based on the successful KidneyX program.  The LDA is on the webinars group for LymeX working to develop more trust with government and more ways to implement strategies for new research.

Congressman Gottheimer also co-sponsored The Stamp Out Lyme Act introduced by Antonio Delgatto (NY-19-D) which would provide a stamp to benefit Lyme research. The bill has 11 co-sponsors including Smith. The LDA worked on earlier versions of this bill in a prior Congress.

“Lyme disease can be brutally debilitating, hard to detect and treat, and cause real long-term health issues. It’s a problem that we must try to solve,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “The federal action I’m announcing today will boost investment for Lyme disease research, incentivize the development of new treatments, and amend federal law to accommodate the health impairments that can be caused by Lyme disease in children, so they can receive the specialized education and care they need.”

Pat Smith at Podium. Photo Credit: Doreen Edwards, Tick Squad

“It is imperative that we get help for the thousands of sick Lyme patients — 29% are children. We need Congress to act quickly to not only provide money but to ensure the monies are actually being used to help Lyme and tick-borne disease patients by providing cutting edge diagnostics and treatment therapies for the 20+% who remain sick after a short course of antibiotics. I thank Congressman Gottheimer and the House Lyme Disease Caucus for their continued efforts in this area,” said Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association Inc.

Several Lyme patients and family members spoke about their struggle with Lyme disease. Advocate Dorreen Edwards from Tick Squad in Sussex County spoke on the need to provide more education for schools and for health care providers. LDA partnered with the Tick Squad in 2019 to present a Lyme conference at Sussex County Community College in 2019. Read LDA article on Conference

Terry Duffy, Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners, County of Passaic and Don Weise, New York – New Jersey Trail Conference, also spoke on the issues surrounding Lyme disease.

Watch video of entire press conference on facebook.



IPM Pest Alert – Asian Longhorned Tick

Asian Longhorned Tick AlertNorth Central Integrated Pest Management Center (IPM) has issued a new pest alert focusing on the Asian longhorned tick (ALT), which includes details about the tick’s life cycle, identification, and management options. Females can reproduce without mating with a male, causing a threat to livestock due to large-scale infestations on one animal leading to stress, blood loss and death. According to studies, ALT may spread disease such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other tick-borne illnesses, as they feed on multiple hosts throughout their lives. In it’s native East Asia, ALT can transmit Rickettsia japonica, which causes Japanese spotted fever, and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) virus, among others.

ALT is invasive in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. ALT was found in New Jersey in 2017, and as of February 2021, it is found in 15 states in the U.S.

The Public Tick IPM Working Group produced this pest alert with support from the IPM Institute and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management Program through the North Central IPM Center

Click here for IPM Pest Alert – Asian Longhorned Tick

Click here for North Central IPM Newsletter Article

Click here for LDA website information on the Asian Longhorned tick