Giving Tuesday: Help LDA Help You/Persistence of Lyme Bacteria/Lyme Bacteria in Bats/Lyme: mRNA Vaccine/Shrews Harbor Powassan Virus/Another Lyme Bacteria in Ticks/LymeAid 4 Kids

Study Indicates Shrews as a Reservoir for Powassan Virus

Shrews as Reservoir for Powassan Virus
Photo from USGS: Northern Short-Tailed Shrew. Length: ~4 in.

Heidi K. Goethert, et al., published, “Incrimination of shrews as a reservoir for Powassan virus,” in Communications Biology. The study examines Powassan virus lineage 2 (deer tick virus), and the growing threat the pathogen poses to American public health. Powassan virus is known to cause severe neurologic disease although its life cycle in nature is poorly understood.

The researchers used a host-specific real-time PCR to investigate if white-footed mice–the primary eastern U.S. reservoir of Lyme disease– are also the reservoir for deer tick virus.

Of 20 virus-infected black-legged ticks, 65% fed on shrews and none fed on mice. This percentage of ticks feeding on shrews was clearly associated with the incidence of the deer tick virus infection, although not the Lyme disease agent. One shrew had viral DNA in its brain.

Based on the findings, the research team proposed that shrews are a probable reservoir host for deer tick virus and that evaluation of host blood meals can provide clear evidence to implicate reservoir hosts, thus providing a better understanding of the ecology of tick-borne infections.

Read the study in Communications Biology.

Read more about Powassan virus.

Lyme Disease: 19ISP mRNA Vaccine Candidate Shows Clinical Efficacy

19ISP mRNA VaccineSajid, et al., published in the journal Science Translational Medicine about the development of a promising mRNA vaccine, 19ISP, which has been found to induce tick resistance and prevent transmission of the Lyme disease-causing agent, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). The researchers observed that hosts with repeated exposures to the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis (the most prevalent vector of the Bb), can develop resistance against ticks, also referred to as “tick immunity.” The vaccine was developed to generate this same type of tick resistance. Hosts inoculated with 19ISP developed erythema at the site of tick bite which, according to the creators of the vaccine, is a sign of acquired tick resistance. This resulted in poor tick feeding and transmission of Bb was reduced. The research team puts forth 19ISP as a promising antitick vaccine candidate with the hope that it may prevent transmission of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Read the study in Science Translational Medicine.

Read about other TBD vaccines.

Unique Evasion Mechanisms Allow Persistence of Borrelia Burgdorferi in Human Cell Lines

Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi 
Borrelia burgdorferi in mouse, Photo by Stephen W. Barthold, DVM, PhD

Karvonen, et al., published, “Distinctive Evasion Mechanisms to Allow Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Different Human Cell Lines,” in Frontiers in Microbiology. The study aimed to better understand the mechanisms which enable Borrelia burgdorferi infections to progress into a persistent sequela of the disease by examining two non-immune and non-phagocytic human cell lines.

The study demonstrated how B. burgdorferi utilizes different mechanisms to persist. Host cell surface extensions, variations in borrelial shapes while invading host cells, and differences in intracellular handling of the bacteria, give Borrelia the ability to survive. The authors state, “Intracellular persistence of Borrelia, due to avoidance of lysosomal co-localization, lack of cytopathic effects, and the ability to change its shape, all provide strategies Borrelia can employ for immune evasion and persistence.”

Read the study in Frontiers in Microbiology.

Read more about persistent Lyme disease.

Ixodes Scapularis Found Infesting Big Brown Bats in New York

Big Brown BatsJames L. Occi, et al., recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology regarding unusual findings of the three-host tick, Ixodes scapularis Say. Historically, this pervasive tick has been documented feeding on over 150 different species of terrestrial (land-dwelling) vertebrates including mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Found throughout the northeastern, coastal southeastern, and upper midwestern United States, I. scapularis has an extensive host range and is regarded as the most significant vector of tick-borne pathogens to humans in North America. However, it has never been reported feeding on bats (mammals of the order Chiroptera).

In 2019 and 2020, I. scapularis larvae and nymphs were retrieved from big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus, at four locations in rural areas of New York State. Each of the Ixodes-infested bats were injured and located on the ground; thus, making possible opportunistic parasitism by I. scapularis.

LDA NOTE: J.L. Occi is a long-time member of the Lyme Disease Association’s Scientific & Professional Advisory Board.

Photo: Unidentified bats from the Public Health Image Library

Read the research study in Journal of Medical Entomology.

Read about other ticks that feed on Big Brown Bats.




#IGiveLDA – LDA’s Annual Giving Campaign

GivingTuesday Is Here! It is an International Day of Giving.

LDA will continue our Annual Giving Campaign in conjunction with #GivingTuesday. This year LDA will focus on the four pillars of our mission: education, prevention, research, and patient support. Your donations will help LDA fulfill our mission. will help LDA fulfill our mission. On average, 97% of contributions go directly to programs.

Our Giving Campaign will begin on 11/6 and end on 12/6. A page will be dedicated on the LDA website to the campaign with interesting information about our objectives and how you can support LDA. Visit LDA Giving – Lyme Disease Association to donate.

Two  Literati with Lyme Authors had this to say about supporting the Lyme Disease Association’s Giving Tuesday campaign:

Internationally Acclaimed author Amy Tan who helped initiate LDA’s LymeAid 4 Kids: “It’s Giving Tuesday!  Many thanks to those who give generously to enable kids to get properly diagnosed and treated.  You are making a profound difference in the lives of kids and their families.” 

Acclaimed Author and Literary Science Writing Award Winner Jordan Fisher Smith, a principal cast member and narrator for the film, Under Our Skin:  “When I was on my fifth doctor a year and a half into a tick-borne illness, the Lyme Disease Association was there for me. I don’t know where I’d be today without them. For 31 years they’ve been among the best friends we’ve had. Now, please be there for them. For Giving Tuesday, give generously to the Lyme Disease Association #GiveLDA”   

LDA will continue its Annual Giving Campaign in conjunction with #GivingTuesday. focusing on  its mission: education, prevention, research, and patient support. Your donations will help LDA fulfill our mission. On average, 97% of contributions go directly to programs.

New Lyme & TBD Pregnancy Treatments/21st Annual Lyme & TBD Conf. Completed/President’s Blog: Why Patients Need Gov. Investigation/TBD Risk for Transplant & Transfusion Recipients/Cognitive Impairment After COVID/LDA #GivingTuesday, Nov 6 thru Dec 6

Lyme Disease Association-Columbia Virtual Conference

21st Annual Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases Conference


CONFERENCE COMPLETED  2021 Annual Scientific Conference The Lyme Disease Association Inc. and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons jointly provided the 21st annual CME scientific conference, Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Research for a Cure, virtually, on October 2, 2021. This conference is designed to meet the high standards for continuing medical education credits for medical & health professionals and researchers. It was also open to the general public (adults only).  Limited number of scholarships were available for certain medical students, researchers, recent medical professionals.

The conference was sponsored by the Stephen & Alexandra Cohen Foundation and IGeneX Inc. 

Quick Links to check out the conference:

See short video of conference summary by Dr. Brian Fallon below: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

John Aucott, MD / Keynote

Associate Professor of Medicine

Director, Johns Hopkins Medicine Lyme Disease Research Center

Long Haulers:  Lessons from Lyme disease, ME/CFS, and COVID-19


Brian A. Fallon, MD, MPH (Conference Co-Director, Moderator)

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University Vagelos College of P & S

Director, Lyme & TBD Clinical & Research Centers, Columbia U. Irving Medical Center

Depression, Suicidal Behaviors, and Lyme: Results from a Nationwide Study in Denmark


Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM

Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease

Bartonella Bacteremia and Neuropsychiatric Illnesses


Brandon L. Jutras, PhD

Asst. Professor, Fralin Life Sciences Institute, Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Tech

Not just another brick in the wall: The unusual peptidoglycan of Borrelia burgdorferi


Catherine A. Brissette, PhD

Assoc. Professor, Univ. of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Borrelia colonization of the dura mater induces inflammation in the CNS


Adrian Baranchuk, MD, FACC, FRCPC, FCCS, FSIAC

Professor of Medicine, Queen’s University

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Electrocardiology

President Elect, Interamerican Society of Cardiology (SIAC)

All you need to know about Lyme carditis…and more!


Monica Embers, PhD (Conference Co-Director, Moderator)

Associate Professor and Director of Vector-Borne Disease Research

Tulane National Primate Research Center

Combined Antimicrobial Therapy for Eradication of B. burgdorferi


Kim Lewis, PhD

Professor of Biology, Northeastern University

Developing therapies for Lyme disease


Kenneth B. Liegner, MD

Private Practice

Pawling, NY 

Disulfiram in the Treatment of Lyme disease:  Promise & Perils


Marna E. Ericson, PhD

T Lab, Inc.- Director of Research

Hormel Institute – Adjunct Faculty

University of Minnesota

Bartonella henselae Detected in Malignant Melanoma


Ricardo G. Maggi, PhD

Research Professor, Internal Medicine

College of Veterinary Medicine

Simultaneous detection and absolute quantification of Babesia, Bartonella & Borrelia by droplet digital PCR





Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis Transmitted Through Blood Transfusions and Organ Transplants

ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosisA recent study published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal finds ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis can also be transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants. The article states, “Since 2000, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis cases in the United States have increased substantially, resulting in potential risk to transplant and transfusion recipients.”

The investigating clinicians reviewed cases of ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis among blood transfusion and solid organ transplant recipients in the U.S. from peer-reviewed literature and CDC studies. They identified 132 cases during 1997–2020, including 12 transfusion-associated cases and 120 cases in transplant recipients. Eight of the cases were donor-derived, and illness occurred in 13 of the cases less than one year after transplant. Disease in the remaining 99 cases occurred within one year, or longer, after transplant, which suggests that donor-derived disease was unlikely. Sadly, severe illness or death were reported among 15 transfusion and transplant recipients (Sanjida J., et al.).

The study’s authors emphasize that clinicians should be on the alert for these potential infections among transfusion and transplant recipients to prevent serious complications or death by treating them promptly.

Read the full study on the CDC’s website.

Read more about ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis.

Read more about Ehrlichiosis Infection Following Organ Donation.

Findings of Cognitive Function Assessment in Patients After COVID-19 Infection

cognitive impairmentA study published in JAMA Network Open examined the cognitive function in patients following COVID-19 Infection (Becker, JH, et al.). The researchers analyzed data from a cohort of COVID-19 patients from April 2020 through May 2021 and investigated rates of cognitive impairment in survivors who were treated in outpatient, emergency department, or inpatient hospital settings. Prior studies were hindered by limited sample sizes and substandard evaluation of cognitive functioning.

In this recent, more extensive study, researchers discovered a rather high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19. Among hospitalized patients, impairments in executive functioning, processing speed, category fluency, memory encoding, and recall were prevalent. The authors state, “The relative sparing of memory recognition in the context of impaired encoding and recall suggests an executive pattern. This pattern is consistent with early reports describing a dysexecutive syndrome after COVID-19 and has considerable implications for occupational, psychological, and functional outcomes.”

The authors emphasize that certain populations, such as older adults, may be particularly vulnerable to cognitive impairment after critical illness, yet a substantial proportion of the comparatively young cohort also exhibited cognitive dysfunction several months after recovering from COVID-19. The results of this study are consistent with research findings on other viruses such as influenza.

Read the full study on JAMA Network.

Read more about COVID-19.