Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases: An Increasing Health Risk in the U.S.

Open Access Government recently interviewed Paul Mead, Chief of the Lyme & Tick-Borne DiseasesBacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The interview focuses on the increasing risk that Lyme & tick-borne diseases pose to health in the United States, and covers a number of important topics, including how bites from infected ticks pass pathogens to humans, symptoms that are associated with different tick-borne diseases, as well as steps that outdoor workers can take to prevent tick bites.


For More Information:

Read the interview on OpenAccessGovernment.org.

Read more about the spread of Lyme throughout the U.S.  

Review of Ticks Infesting Humans in the US

(Top-L) Adult Female deer tick, adult female dog tick.(Bottom-L) Adult female, adult male, and nymph lone star ticks. Credit J. Occi, PhD (cand.), Rutgers

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, (Lars E.), published a review article “Tick species infesting humans in the United States” in November, 2022*.  The author presents data as a summary table for published records of bites, diseases, and infestations of ticks on humans in the United States (US) to date. The goal of this review is to present data for both native and recently established hard and soft tick species that have been reported on humans regarding the frequency that they have been observed. The author also states that this type of long-term data regarding human/tick encounters is lacking for the public at the national scale, and he provides guidance for future reporting to better track these encounters and the risks. * Version of Record 13 August 2022.

The author found published records that document 36 hard tick species (234,722 specimens) and 13 soft tick species (230 specimens) that have bitten or infested humans in the US to date. Data shows that the top 5 hard tick human encounters were with the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis); the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum); the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis); the western blacklegged tick, (Ixodes pacificus); and the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni).

The most frequently recorded soft tick human encounters were with the spinose ear tick (Otobius megnini); and the pajaroello tick (Ornithodoros coriaceus).

Additional species of note documented by more than 250 encounters with humans included the woodchuck tick (Ixodes cookei); the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis); the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato); the winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus); and the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).

Interestingly, some ticks widely believed to be “non-human biters” or “nidicolous” in behavior (staying close to the host nest or burrow), were reported from over 100 to over 200 instances, and are species that are known to be competent vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. bacteria. These ticks included Ixodes muris, Ixodes dentatus, Ixodes angustus, and Ixodes spinipalpis.


For More Information

Read Full Journal Article

Other LDA Articles that Relate

NIH Grant Expands Tick-Borne Diseases Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a four-year grant in theTick Borne Diseases Research amount of $2.1 million to Washington State University so that researchers there may further develop methods for the prevention of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, another common tick-borne coinfection.

WSU researchers will build on their initial investigation which involved the identification of two novel protein players that are key to the tick’s immune pathway and their survival against these two common tick-borne pathogens. This preliminary study resulted in a better understanding of how to influence a tick’s immunity when infected with these two tick-borne diseases, with the goal of ultimately limiting the arthropod’s ability to transmit the bacteria to humans.

The additional grant will allow WSU researchers to continue studying these proteins including how they interact and possibly identifying other mechanisms that may play a role.

Read more on the WSU website.

Read more about Lyme disease.

Read more about anaplasmosis.

HHS Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group (TBDWG) Meeting News

Lyme patient advocate Monica White, President, Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association (COTBBAA), had verbal comments accepted at the July 2020 meeting of the HHS Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group:

“My name is Monica White. I’m president/co-founder of Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association. I’ve lived with chronic Lyme, co-infections & conditions for nearly 16 years due to lack of an early diagnosis & treatment. Formally a fully functional wildlife biologist & wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service, I am functional now only with repeated courses of combined antibiotics, antimicrobial, & immune therapies.

I recently relapsed with tick-borne illness after a period of no treatment. And again, even with current positive lab results in hand, I was met with dismissal from mainstream medicine.

With an enlarged liver and spleen during another extended hospital stay, the infectious disease doctor wrote in my report… and I quote…”I highly doubt this is in anyway related to either Lyme disease or babesiosis.” I again left hospital care without a diagnosis…and I’ve again made improvements in my health only with retreatment for TBDs. This dismissal of TBDs in the differential diagnosis is commonplace for TBD patients, especially those with chronic or persistent disease.

Though persistence of pathogens is shown in multiple studies conducted by respected researchers in the community, some on this panel….and is found in both animals and humans, findings have thus far been ignored or disputed by many members of this panel each year. It is past time to settle the science on this issue for…

  • patients that don’t get early accurate diagnosis and treatment.
  • patients that fail short course single antibiotic/antimicrobial therapies;
  • patients thatare overlooked for have co-infections or tick-borne conditions,
  • and patients that do not respond to currently available therapies.

Maternal-fetal transmission of many TBDs is a fact, but research is lacking in diagnostics and treatment before irreparable damage has occurred. My own children acquired Lyme and co-infections congenitally, and both suffered from delayed diagnosis and treatment, as well as from multiple relapses of disease.

The resources available to patients have been… and continue to be…. INADEQUATE. Our medical system is failing these patients, and this has ramifications that go so far beyond my individual story.

We should not have to fight as hard as we have… for as long as we have…to get government funded reliable direct diagnostics & curative treatments for acute & persistent disease!

Individuals…families…OUR children have been losing EVERYTHING for DECADES due to the lack of attention to the seriousness and the debilitation that Lyme, other TBDs & conditions has on those infected or exposed.

There is no excuse for patients having to spend months, years, or decades seeking accurate diagnosis and treatment, with crippling physical health, mental health, financial burdens, loss of careers, & relationship stresses beyond what many families can endure.

No one should suffer the way I have suffered…the way my children have suffered… and the way that the patients I share a voice for…have suffered.

 “Patient’s needs MUST be the priority of the WG for this final phase of the panel!”    Thank you!”

More Information

To find written comments submitted  by the public including Monica White  that are on the TBDWG site released for the July 2020 TBDWG meeting:

Public Written Comments to the TBDWG

To find many LDA articles about the first two terms of the TBDWG:

History & first two terms of HHS TBDWG

CFC 2022 Approves LDA as National Charity

CFC-Logo-LDAThe Lyme Disease Association, Inc. LDA has been designated as a national charity included in the 2022 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) National/International Charity List. CFC is part of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Each year, federal employees are provided with lists of approved charities for their workplace giving through the CFC. The LDA has met the requirements and been a part of CFC for 17 years running. LDA’s administrative and fundraising costs were determined to be only 5.7%, meaning the remainder went directly to programs. The LDA’s CFC 2022 identification for donors is #11424, and the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. will appear in the listing of National/International Independent Organizations, which is published in each local campaign charity list. See your federal employer for details. Check the CFC website at: http://www.opm.gov/cfc/ for details about the Combined Federal Campaign. Thanks to all those volunteers who have helped with our programs nationwide, and a special thanks to those who have been contributing through their federal workplace CFC to the Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

New Lyme Research Opportunity: HHS Launches $10M LymeX Diagnostics Prize

HHS and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation have launched Phase 1 of the LymeX Diagnostics Prize, a $10 million competition to accelerate the development of Lyme disease diagnostics. Phase 1 calls on scientific, technical, and clinical experts to submit innovative methods for detecting active Lyme disease infections in people.

We’re getting the word out to experts across sectors such as vector-borne disease biology and clinical and technology translation, and wanted to make sure you were aware of this opportunity. Will you help us spread the word?

There are a few ways you can help: 

  1. Forward this post to your network. 
  2. Share on your organization’s digital channels. We’ve included a sample tweet below, and you can download our full communications toolkit for additional social media, newsletter, web messaging, and graphics. 
  3. Retweet posts from @Lyme_X or share your own: 

Just launched: $10 million #LymeXDiagnosticsPrize calls on experts in disease biology, #diagnostics, #medtech, and more. Learn more about submitting a concept for detecting active #Lymedisease infections — Phase 1 submissions are due by August 8: https://www.lymexdiagnosticsprize.com/?utm_source=validator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=P1-launch0 #lyme

LymeX Diagnostics Prize quick facts

  • Seeks concept papers for development of innovative detection methods. Entrants should describe proposed solutions and scientifically rigorous rationales for success, including ambitious but achievable roadmaps for prototyping, iteration, testing and validation, and evaluation.

  • Will award $1 million in Phase 1. Up to 10 Phase 1 winners will receive an equal share of the $1 million Phase 1 prize pool and be exclusively invited to participate in a planned Phase 2.
  • Phase 1 submissions are due by 4:59 p.m. ET on August 8, 2022. See the submission form.

links from above:

LymeX Diagnostics Prize

Helpful Links on Veterans Rights & Special Education

The LDA provides the information below supplied by Florin|Roebig Trial Attorneys as a service only, and it should not be construed as a recommendation.


Military and Department of Defense (DOD) Special Education http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/dod.index.htm#news

 Veteran Rights and Discrimination https://florinroebig.com/veteran-rights-discrimination/




Attention Researchers! CDMRP: Announcement for Lyme Research Proposals 2022

The Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) published a news release alerting Lyme & other tick-borne diseases researchers of anticipated FY22 monies that may become available through the program so that researchers can plan and develop possible grant submissions. 

The CDMRP-TBDRP states that “Applicants are particularly encouraged to submit applications focused on tick-borne diseases (TBDs) and conditions endemic to the U.S., and/or involving patients with persistent Lyme disease.” 

Update: Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) funding opportunities announcements have been released by CDMRP. Pre-Application (Preproposal) is required and due May 26, 2022 by 5:00 pm (ET). Application submission is by invitation only with applications due August 25, 2022 11:59 pm (ET).

Details of submission requirements can be found in the full news release and announcement. All questions should be addressed directly to the CDMRP program.

Access the FY22 CDMRP-TBDRP Press Release here

Access the FY22 CDMRP-TBDRP Announcement here

Read more on CDMRP-TBDRP here

Read more LDA Articles on CDMRP-TBDRP here


Rep. Chris Smith Newsletter – Lyme in 2022

Congressman Chris Smith
Congressman Chris Smith

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month — Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04) in his Congressman Chris Smith Reports Home 2022 newsletter warns the public of Lyme disease, especially as the weather warms up and exposure to ticks increase. Lyme and tick-borne illnesses are exploding in the U.S., and NJ is highly endemic. However, most federal officials do not fully understand the risk and catastrophic consequences of Lyme and tick-borne diseases, nor have awareness of the emerging new tick-borne diseases and co-infections. 

Rep. Smith’s newsletter documents his 30 years of advocacy for Lyme patients since meeting Pat Smith, now LDA president, who urged him in the early 1990s to push federal health policy leaders to combat Lyme.  Since then, Rep. Chris Smith co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Lyme Disease Caucus; and authored amendments and bills to increase federal funding for Lyme research and enhanced treatment access for Lyme patients.  Smith’s legislation (H.R. 611; H.R. 2557; H.R. 1179; H.R. 741; H.R. 3427) was central to establishing the first federal Interagency Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Working Group dedicated to facilitate research, development, and collaboration on Lyme disease.

“Much of what we have argued for more than the past 30 years has now been scientifically validated by the working group, including the fact that hundreds of thousands of people – especially and including more than 800,000 New Jersey residents according to estimates based on the CDC Data – have gotten seriously ill from ticks and that the federal response to date has been woefully inadequate.”

Read Rep. Smith’s newsletter below (or open pdf here) for more history, including meetings with the CDC, NIH, HHS; the CDC’s stance on chronic Lyme, and treatment; and information on the TICK Act, authored by Smith, which became law in 2019.

On newsletter: Paid for by official funds authorized by the House of Representatives.  





Bill Passes: NH House to Allow Pharmacists to Dispense Drug

New Hampshire House Bill 1022, “permitting pharmacists to dispense the drug ivermectin by means of a standing order,” was introduced and amended on March 17, 2022. HB1022 was Referred to Health and Human Services; Senate Journal 6 on March 22, 2022. This Bill was sponsored by Representative Leah Cushman [R], and co-sponsored by 7 additional Representatives [R].

HB1022, as amended, would allow licensed pharmacists following standing orders to dispense ivermectin to persons in NH without a prior prescription and for Pharmacies to charge a fee for consultation with the patient. 

The Bill requires that the boards of medicine, nursing and pharmacy “not deny, revoke, suspend, or otherwise take disciplinary action against any physician, registered nurse, or pharmacist based on a pharmacist’s failure to follow standing orders provided the provisions of this section are satisfied.” The Bill also states that “a pharmacist, physician, or advanced practice registered nurse shall be held to the same standard of care as when prescribing and dispensing any other medication.” 

Read the full text of HB 1022 and follow the progress of the Bill here

Read more LDA articles on Ivermectin here