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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




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
 
 



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.




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




Delayed CDC Lyme Final Lyme Case Numbers for 2019 Finally Released

Deer Tick Questing

Lyme Disease Association (LDA) Announces CDC’s 2019 Final Lyme Disease Reported Case Numbers:  The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has just released the 2019 final Lyme disease reported U.S. case numbers–34,945. CDC reported that cases were ~4% more than in 2018, and the geographic distribution of areas with a high incidence of Lyme appears to be expanding based on data reported to National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). The number of counties with an incidence of ≥10 confirmed cases per 100,000 persons increased from 324 in 2008 to 432 in 2019. 

Reporting Delay Explained  Final Lyme disease case numbers are usually reported in the fall of the next year (for 2019, should have been reported in 2020). The CDC has responded to LDA inquiries over time that reporting was delayed due to the pandemic and thus to shortages of resources/personnel at many government levels, which was no surprise to anyone following the numbers’ delay.  CDC also had a note on the reporting page that “Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, data from some jurisdictions may be incomplete.” 

Past Estimates of Underreporting  In the past,  CDC has reported that only 10% of cases are actually reported─ that translates into 349,450 actual new Lyme cases in the US in 2019.  However, in 2021, the CDC announced that  “A recently released estimate based on insurance records suggests that each year ~ 476,000 Americans are diagnosed & treated for Lyme disease(1,2). ” Prior Lyme estimates based on claims data had indicated “~300,000 people get Lyme disease  each year.”  It appears clear from the number of patients culled from insurance data as being diagnosed and treated annually for Lyme disease in the U.S. that cases are vastly under-reported. 

  1. Schwartz AM, Kugeler KJ, Nelson CA, et al. Use of Commercial Claims Data for Evaluating Trends in Lyme Disease Diagnoses, United States, 2010-2018Emerg Infect Dis. 2021;27(2).
  2. Kugeler KJ, Schwartz AM, Delorey M, et al. Estimating the frequency of Lyme disease diagnoses —United States, 2010-2018Emerg Infect Dis. 2021;27(2).

LDA NOTE: The State of Hawaii does not require reporting of Lyme disease. The State of New York estimates the Lyme numbers in many counties and those numbers are not permitted to be entered into CDC reported case numbers. Massachusetts changed their reporting system and their numbers on paper have dramatically dropped in the past few years, moving them out of the top 15 states.  To see more states that have changed reporting of Lyme disease over time see  LDA Lyme Cases Map Page

Top 15 States  The LDA has ranked the top 15 states based on the CDC total reported Lyme case numbers for 2019 below. This ranking should not be construed to mean that other states do not have reported Lyme cases. They do have reported cases,  Click here for all states, but often patients cannot get diagnosed and/or treated in states that CDC considers “low incidence” states, because  doctors in low incidence states are often either afraid to diagnose Lyme or do not understand that surveillance criteria are not meant as diagnostic criteria.  Read about Diagnosis by Geography

LDA State Ranking by Reported CDC Lyme Cases

 State RankingReported CasesActual Cases (10x = actual cases)
1Pennsylvania899889980
2New York424342430
3New Jersey361936190
4Wisconsin217821780
5Maine216721670
6New Hampshire171017100
7Minnesota152815280
8Maryland141714170
9Connecticut123312330
10Virginia119911990
11Vermont106410640
12Rhode Island9719710
13West Virginia8858850
14Delaware6416410
15Ohio4674670




President's Blog
LDA President’s Blog – CDC Doctor Webinar: Help or Hindrance for Patients?

BACKGROUND During May Lyme Disease Awareness Month, many Lyme groups across the country promote awareness with different projects, programs, and activities to focus on Lyme disease when the Ixodes scapularis poppy seed sized nymph ticks begin feeding in earnest.

When the CDC announced a webinar offering continuing education for health care providers for Lyme Awareness Month, some thought it would provide much needed education for doctors about the reality of Lyme disease for patients and what CDC could do to actually help. This assumption was a valid one. The 2nd HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (WG) in its 2020 Report to Congress had a recommendation that CDC should develop such a curriculum with patient involvement. Federal agency arguments at the WG table said patients could not really be present in the development of such programs− too difficult to get patients incorporated into that aspect. But certainly, as the unanimously adopted recommendation reflected, “the final curriculum shall incorporate feedback from patients, clinicians, and research scientists with expertise/experience that represents diverse scientific and clinical experiences on the full spectrum of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases/conditions.” So did CDC solicit patient input for this online webinar? By its own admission when asked whether there was patient input at any level of this webinar, the answer was no, because it was a clinical educational tool.

MY ASSESSMENT After watching this webinar, Lyme Disease Update and New Educational Tools, several times, I can honestly say any small benefit this conceivably could have had is clearly wiped out by the continued refusal of government to present the reality of Lyme disease. I saw no meaningful help for physicians nor for patients for their illness, and no information or new tools, only old, repackaged dogma.  Read below for details.

CDC WEBINAR PRESENTER The webinar itself was presented by Grace Marx, MD, MPH, credentialed as a medical epidemiologist from Bacterial Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, CDC. No reflection on her personally, but further research online indicated she is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease, and a member of the epidemiology intelligence service, credentials CDC did not seem inclined to mention in the webinar—despite bias in the latter two areas during the “Lyme Wars.”

TRANSMISSION TIME Following CDC’s standard rhetoric, the webinar opening discusses that disease transmission occurs after an infected tick has been attached for at least 24 hours and most transmission occurs after 36 hours.  Instead of providing solid information that the longer a tick is attached, the greater the risk of infection, qualifiers were attached− often precluding doctors from making a timely Lyme diagnose and treatment.  These qualifiers are not supported by all peer review, especially studies that indicate Lyme bacteria are sometimes found in tick salivary glands at time of attachment. So the time necessary to move from the midgut to those glands (which provides the basis for the 36 hr. estimate) is not a factor.  No comment was made on attachment time for other tick-borne diseases—we know, however, there is no safe attachment time for a tick.

DENYING LYME THROUGH GEOGRAPHY Stating that ~500,000 people annually are diagnosed and treated for Lyme, Dr. Marx then showed the map of Lyme’s geographic distribution, which only singles out 15 states in yellow — 95% of cases. The old adage, a picture is worth 1,000 words is often used in advertising to communicate ideas that in seconds convey the advertisers message which is, buy what I am selling, no time for the facts. Looking at this map quickly, a harried health care provider or anyone for that matter, can readily conclude Lyme is not a problem in other states. Tens of thousands of Lyme patients have been victims of that erroneous message and continue to be denied or have delayed diagnosis and treatment because of the false assumption that Lyme “doesn’t exist” in their state.  As pointed out by MyLymeData Patient Registry, 72% of patients see four or more physicians before diagnosis and 35% see more than 10. Much of that undoubtedly relates to diagnosis by geography, since patients in low incidence states are often forced to search everywhere in-state to find a doctor not afraid and willing to diagnose and treat Lyme but often end up traveling cross country to get help for their disease.

The WG Access to Care 2020 Subcommittee, which I co-chaired, reported to the HHS WG that some of the states believed by CDC to be low incidence for Lyme have some of the highest numbers of insurance claims for Lyme. Citing a Wall Street Journal article featuring a Fair Health study which used a data base of 150 million privately insured individuals, the report indicated in 2016, North Carolina reported 32 Lyme cases to the CDC but made 88,539 health-care claims for a Lyme diagnosis. Also in the report, “in California in 2016, there were only 90 CDC surveillance cases, while Quest Diagnostics (which is just one of the seven most-used Lyme disease testing labs) reported 483 positive tests, and FAIR Health Data showed insurance claims in the state at close to 47,000, making California one of the top five highest states for Lyme disease insurance claims in the U.S.”

Dr. Marx pointed out there are case reports in other states but most are travel related. Several years ago I provided CDC with their own reported case numbers over time from the “other than 15 states.” I asked CDC to provide me with data they had proving that most of these cases were travel related. The response: they did not have such data. On the 2nd Working Group, I tried to introduce a Recommendation to Congress that CDC go to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists−who allegedly have control over surveillance criteria guidelines−and ask them to examine the validity of the “diagnosis by geography” portion of the Lyme surveillance criteria based on the inability of patients to get diagnosed due to it. CDC and other agencies at the WG table refused to agree to that reasonable request being put into a recommendation. The only conclusion I can come to is, government does not want Lyme disease to be found outside certain boundaries. They will do and have done everything in their power to prevent it from being found outside their proscriptive boundaries—turning their backs on patients who live there. 

ONE DOSE OF DOXY SOLUTION Lyme disease prophylaxis was another topic included in the webinar. In order for a doctor to determine if prophylactic treatment should be used for a bite, 5 questions were listed:

  1. Where the tick bite occurred, are ticks likely to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi? (Geography)
  2. Was tick removal within 72 hours?
  3. Was the tick body flat or engorged?
  4. Was it an Ixodes (blacklegged tick) tick?
  5. Is doxy safe for the person?

Regarding the above questions, many people, including some physicians, do not know what a flat vs. engorged tick looks like. I have even heard stories of doctors telling patients you cannot get Lyme disease from a big tick, which at times, turned out to be a partially engorged tick. Many scientists who work daily with ticks are reluctant to even identify a tick unless they see it physically, not from a picture, and now doctors are asked to identify ticks and determine engorgement. When I pointed out a fully engorged tick hanging from my mom’s leg in the hospital years ago, the doctor told me it was a mole. I was certainly surprised to find moles had 8 legs…. As to attachment time, most people remove a tick immediately upon finding it and have no idea how long it has been attached.

The discussion of prophylaxis centered totally on one dose doxy. As I listened to this discussion, I could “see” the treating doctors and advocates cringing as I was at the CDC trying to justify using that protocol. Although they promote that protocol, Dr. Marx indicated CDC does not recommend tick testing for pathogens as a tool–results can lead to decisions about antibiotic treatment without conducive evidence of patient infection. Interesting statement, since arguments could be and have been made that current tests required by CDC don’t provide that evidence either.  Although there may be some downsides to tick testing, the only tool in CDC’s toolbox is the one dose of doxy protocol—based on a single human trial that did not conclude that single dose doxy could prevent Lyme disease only that it prevented an EM rash in a small group of people. Prescribing one dose of doxy may also interfere with any later testing results.

One of the slides contained a link (I accessed after the webinar) entitled Guidance for Clinicians: Recommendations for Patients after a Tick Bite. There is a graphic for tick removal then a statement saying “Save the tick for species ID and degree of tick engorgement (important when determining eligibility for Lyme disease prophylaxis).”  Under that is “Post- exposure prophylaxis for Lyme disease,” the circumstances explaining when a single dose of doxy can lower the risk of Lyme disease– if:

  • the bite occurred in a high incidence state [only map with 15 states highlighted is shown] or in an area where >20% of ticks are infected with Bb—consult your local health department for details
  • the tick can be identified based on adult or nymph blacklegged tick
  • the estimated attachment time >36 hours based on degree of engorgement
  • prophylaxis can be started within 72 hours
  • the patient has no contraindication to doxycycline.

Additionally included in the pdf is a ruler, conceivably for the doctor to judge the  size of engorged ticks based on feed time. Almost sounded to me like CDC does not really want to promote one dose doxy as prophylaxis.

VACCINES Patients, advocates and doctors have been concerned that vaccine development has been the force behind refusal to develop safe and effective protocols to treat patients. It certainly has influenced Lyme disease testing protocols− almost the same protocols developed at the 1994 Dearborn conference exist today, with Western Blot banding requirements (“CDC bands”) for Lyme disease influenced by the then upcoming vaccines, especially LYMErix. Bands never changed even after LYMErix was pulled from the market by its manufacturer, citing poor sales. The CDC webinar described LYMErix vaccine as both safe and effective, stating it was pulled from the market but no mention of why.  Dr. Marx indicated up and coming vaccines could be available in the future. No mention was made of the one in current FDA trials having an Osp A base, yet many felt and still feel that an Osp A base contributed to problems of vaccine recipients that led to the manufacturer withdrawing the LYMErix vaccine.

After 46 years of Lyme disease, the CDC and NIH do not yet know how to accurately diagnose Lyme or treat it successfully, especially when it has prolonged symptoms after 2 weeks of doxycycline.  Vaccines are certainly important tools when proven to be safe and effective and when they have been developed by a transparent process not being run by the vested interests themselves. The CDC wants to have those vaccines at all costs—with billions made by manufacturers of new vaccines, even when there are potentially viable treatments in sight for Lyme but not being explored.  NIH is no different in that regard.

RASH, TREATMENT, TESTING You can listen to the webinar sections yourself about the EM rash issue, treatment, and testing. Most are too painful for discussion here by me, but I mention two issues. So much emphasis is placed upon the rash in diagnosis, so rashes should have been explained and pictures shown not just with a central clearing (bull’s eye), but also without central clearing (not a bull’s eye).  On one of the testing slides, it said, “should patients be tested for Lyme disease: look at pretest probability.” Then, doctors should ask if patients have been in an area where Lyme is common, were likely exposed to ticks, and have symptoms characteristic of Lyme disease. If the answer to any of these questions is no, pretest probability is low, and testing is not advised. If all three answers are yes, moderate to high probability exists, and testing may be helpful depending on disease stage.  Based on that scenario, no testing for those in low incidence states for sure.  

COINFECTIONS   Webinar co-infection advice is to talk to your local health department about them in your area. I personally ask that you please contact CDC if you do contact your health department and let CDC know how that advice works.  Since testing of ticks has not been undertaken in many states, and some coinfections are not known or even reportable, this advice can also be a deterrent to patients receiving proper diagnosis and treatment.

NIH STUDIES The CDC cites only NIH studies of long-term antibiotic treatment and their conclusions which do not show benefit but can be harmful. No mention of recent research which indicates otherwise or of rebuttals to those studies. At the 2nd term HHS WG table, I fought tenaciously but successfully to keep in the 2020 Report to Congress papers/opinions which contradicted those NIH findings, as NIH and CDC battled to keep them out.

HOW TO CARE FOR THOSE ON NOT RECOMMENDED TREATMENTS The slide 43 minutes in on “How I can care for my patients who are receiving treatments that are not recommended for Lyme disease,” will most likely be the last straw for many. Not recommended by whom? Clearly there are published guidelines that meet National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM) specs that support clinical judgement in treatment of Lyme disease.  The first bullet of six is “to listen to the patient’s story,” the last bullet is to ‘evaluate the risk of Lyme disease and consider an alternate diagnosis.” This slide is accompanied by Dr. Marx’s commentary not on the slide, “the goal is to demonstrate empathy and compassion….” In my 37 years of Lyme advocacy, I haven’t seen that happen yet, and treatments are still withheld.

BOTTOM LINE The non-inclusion of patient input into this webinar is probably a good thing after all. No self-respecting patient or advocate would want their names tied to this webinar, especially when they read the slide below—a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of patients whose lives have been saved or vastly improved with long term-treatment and to the brave physicians who put their practices on the line to help patients get better.

Post-Treatment Considerations (slide)

  • There is no proven treatment for post treatment symptoms:
    • Additional prolonged antibiotics have not been shown to improve long-term outcomes
  • Long term antibiotic therapy has the potential to cause serious side effects, including:
    • infectious diarrhea
    • antibiotic resistance
    • line associated infections

More than two courses of antibiotics are NOT recommended for the treatment of Lyme disease.

RESPONSIBILITY Who’s responsible for this decades-long Lyme fiasco?  The blame must be laid at the feet of an alliance of public health and some powerful medical “experts,” who have allowed cases to go from 9,908 reported in 1992, to an estimated 500,000 cases annually. While actively seeking to build public trust with the LymeX public-private partnership, public health has not even lived up to its commitment to recommendations they supported on the WG, like CDC including patient input into educational programs.  Yet they court the public/advocates so there will be funds allocated to government agencies to ostensibly provide help to patients. Then they use our public dollars to deny many patients the ability to get early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Disingenuous? With so many lives at stake, that word seems too kind.

Click here for CDC slides and for a video of the webinar

Click here for Tick-Borne Disease Working Group 2020 Report to Congress

Click here for Pat Smith’s minority response: Effect of Geographic Restrictions on Lyme Diagnosis

 

 

 

 




HELP NEEDED IMMEDIATELY! NEW BILL FOR CHILDREN WITH LYME DISABILITIES TO BE INTRODUCED

Finished

LYME DISEASE CAUCUS & CHILD ACT 2021: The Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus is a bi-partisan group working together in the U.S. House of Representatives to take action on Lyme & tick-borne disease issues. They have been staunch friends to the Lyme community. There is a new bill about to be introduced into the House of Representatives by long-time Lyme Caucus Chair Congressman Christopher Smith (NJ-04-R), and to date, there are several co-sponsors: new Lyme Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28-D), Lyme Caucus Member Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8-R), and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5-D),  and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1-R).

Lyme and Kids in School

Congressman Smith is seeking co-sponsors for the bill from the members of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus. A letter has been sent to them from the office of Congressman Smith asking for Caucus Member co-sponsorship for the bill. The title of the legislation is “Children Inflicted by Lyme Disabilities Act 2021,” or “CHILD Act 2021.” 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.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO IMMEDIATELY (May 26 & 27): The Lyme Disease Association urges you to contact the Caucus members (listed below) by fax or phone and tell them it is important to sign on as a co-sponsor to this bill. Tell them they have received a letter from the Smith office. If they did not receive it, or they have questions, they can contact Kelsey Griswold at the Smith office.

You can also contact your own Congress Member if they are not one of the co-sponsors listed above. Tell them to contact the Office of Congressman Christopher Smith for details and to sign on to the bill. Must be done by Thursday night. 

Provide them with examples you may know about of children with Lyme disease with persistent symptoms (chronic Lyme) who have been unable to attend school for months and even years, or if they did attend, were unable to function without significant modifications to their educational programs. Often schools did not recognize the need or did not understand what needed to be provided. Thank them for listening and understanding the plight of our children who are at some of the highest risk of acquiring Lyme disease. Children 0-19 years represented 29% of reported Lyme cases from 2001-2017 (link for more info.). Remind them the CDC now estimates that 476,000 people in the US each year are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease (link for more info.).

WHAT LDA HAS DONE: For decades, the Lyme Disease Association Inc. has been working with parents of children who have severe Lyme manifestations which interfere with cognitive and physical abilities to receive an appropriate education since schools have not generally understood the magnitude of the problem. The LDA has provided programs for teachers, students, school nurses, and psychologists. LDA has a Professional Advisory Board member who retired as a special services director in NJ. LDA President, Pat Smith, a former Board of Education Member, acted as a child advocate in the schools for students with Lyme disease. She met with teachers, special service teams, and administrators, and has worked with attorneys, and appeared in court with parents to try to resolve these issues. She has also in-serviced school staff and provided educational in-school programs for students on Lyme and TBDs as well as developed the LDA’s ABC’s of Lyme Disease pamphlet written especially for parents and educators. The pamphlet contains information from experts on the impact of Lyme disease on children’s education, and hundreds of thousands have been distributed. The LDA also has a Lyme Kids and Schools website section (link for more info.).

INSTRUCTIONS

  • On May 26, May 27
  • Call or fax Members of the Congressional Lyme caucus from the table below

o   DO NOT CALL Chris Smith, Henry Cuellar, or, Bill Posey

o   They already are on the bill

  • Follow instructions in the WHAT CAN YOU DO IMMEDIATELY SECTION above as to what to say and use your own experience when you can for why they need to sign on as co-sponsor to help pass this bill.
  • Also, you can look up your own Congress Member online and call or email and ask them to sign on.  Tell them to contact Kelsey Griswold, Office of Congressman Smith, for details of the bill.

o   If your group covers several congressional districts, contact those Congress Members.

NOTE: If your mouse hovers over the bottom of the chart, you will be able to zoom in and make the chart bigger or download it.

Caucus Contacts May 2021_4

 

 




COCA/CDC Lyme Disease Conference Call – May 20th, 2020

The Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA)/Center for Disease Control is offering a conference call on May 20th, 2020: Lyme Disease Updates and New Educational Tools for Clinicians from 2:00–3:00 P.M. ET.  See right side of page for instructions on how to join the call via zoom or phone. Advanced registration is not required.

During this COCA Call, presenters will review updates in Lyme disease epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and share new educational tools for both healthcare providers and their patients.

Presenters include Grace Marx, MD, MPH –LCDR, U.S. Public Health Service
Medical Epidemiologist, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, CDC

Free Continuing Education (CE) credits can be earned for this call, even if you cannot participate live. Click here for info on CE for COCA calls/webinars

Click here for information on the call: Lyme Disease Updates and New Educational Tools for Clinicians

Click here to view prior COCA calls/webinars

Click here for Post-Webinar Analysis by LDA


COCA provides clinicians with the most up to date information and guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding emergency preparedness and response and emerging public health threats.




Tick-Eating Robots Going to International Competition with VMI Team

Tick-eating robot
Photo thanks: J. Occi, (PhD cand) LDA Scientific & Prof. Advisory Board

The tick rover, a robot designed to remove and kill ticks from people’s yards, and a longtime project for Col. Jim Squire, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Military Institute, has won an award. The tick-eating robot traps ticks hiding on bushes and has been field-tested by biologists.

A team of four cadets made improvements to the rover over the winter and then entered it into a contest sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Their tick-eating robot defeated several teams from the nation’s top research universities and will represent the United States and Canada in the international IEEE competition in Seville, Spain.

Next, the team hopes to license the robot and collaborate with a Dartmouth neuroscientist who wants to start a company based on it.

Read more on Virginia Military Institute’s website.

Read more about ticks, Lyme disease and the military on LDA’s website.




Govt. Wants Your Input on National Strategy for Vector-Borne Diseases

The Federal Register published the following RFI pertaining to a national strategy for vector-borne disease:

Request for Information (RFI): Developing the National Public Health Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Vector-Borne Diseases in Humans
The development of a national strategy on vector-borne diseases including tick-borne diseases was mandated by Congress. To inform development of the national strategy to address vector-borne diseases, HHS is issuing this Request for Information (RFI). Click here to view the RFI.

The RFI solicits specific input regarding strategic goals, benchmarks, gaps, duplicative federally funded programs, and opportunities to enhance coordination data collection, research, and the development of diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and other related activities across HHS and other federal departments.

To be considered, public comments must be received electronically no later than midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST) on June 11, 2021. You may comment by clicking ‘submit a formal comment’ on the RFI page of the Federal Register (click here to submit your comment) or you may also comment via Regulations.gov at, https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/HHS-OASH-2021-0012-0001Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, will be posted to the docket unchanged and available to view by the public. Evidence and information supporting your comment can be submitted as attachments. Please provide your contact information or organization name on the web-based form for possible follow-up from HHS. There is a 5,000 character limit on comments and maximum number (10) of attached files and maximum size (10 MB) of each attached file.
 
Review the Request for Information (RFI).
Submit a formal comment. 
Submit your comment via Regulations.gov.