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Borrelia mayonii Spirochetes Observed on Blood Smear

B. mayonii is a relatively new species of Lyme causing pathogen that has only been detected in the Upper Midwest of the United States. It is considered a rare cause of Lyme disease and may frequently go undetected. 

Mayo laboratories recently observed that spirochetes of the pathogen Borrelia mayonii can occasionally be visualized on routine blood smears, much like spirochetes of the Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever group. B. mayonii spirochetes are found at high levels in peripheral blood, whereas B. burgdorferi spirochetes are not. This understanding may raise awareness and recognition of the Lyme disease causing bacterium, and could lead to more consistent and accurate diagnosis of this cause of Lyme disease.

Read full article here

Read more LDA articles on Lyme disease here

 

 




T-Cell Exhaustion: Penn Med Investigation

In a recent press release, researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that T-cells, which are important fighters in the immune system, not only become “exhausted” from fighting cancer or viral infections, but they remain “exhausted” many weeks after these exposures. According to the press release, “exhaustion” leaves durable “epigenetic scars” in T cells that restrict their ability to support immune responses. T-cell function is critical to the immune system, especially in prolonged battles against cancers and viral infections. The findings of Penn researchers study lead to a need to discover how to reverse the “epigenetic scarring” that occurs in order to rejuvenate T-cell function after exposure to cancer and viral infections.

The findings of this study are published in Nature Immunology

Read the full press release here

Read more LDA articles on Immune Function here




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




Cohen Foundation Funds Establishment of the Bartonella Research Consortium

BartonellahenselaeEM

According to the Tulane news, a three-year, $4.8 million initiative funded by The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, will establish the Bartonella Research Consortium with the goal of developing a novel treatment for bartonellosis. There are over 40 known Bartonella species/subspecies and at least 17 of these species/subspecies have been associated with a spectrum of debilitating disease symptoms in humans. 

The Consortium is composed of key infectious disease researchers including Drs. Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Monica E. Embers, Timothy A. Haystead and Ricardo G. Maggi that will work collaboratively to study the complex and poorly understood Bartonella pathogens to provide patient relevant solutions to benefit both animal and human health. Funding for this research initiative draws on the combined strengths of research laboratories located at Duke University, North Carolina State University and Tulane University. 

Read the full Tulane News article here

Read more LDA articles on Bartonella here

 

 




Tick IPM Working Group Presenting Second Annual Tick Academy

IPM tick academyThe Lyme Disease Association announces that the Tick IPM Working Group is presenting the second annual Tick Academy, September 13-15, 2021 from 10 AM until 2 PM each day.  

The Tick Academy is the premier event for educators, students, researchers, pest control professionals, public health professionals, public-space managers, and citizen scientists, who want to learn more about what they can do to stop the spread of ticks and tickborne diseases in their respective communities.

The event will take place virtually and will feature twelve presentations over three, four-hour sessions during which the presenters will share the latest information about tick management, tickborne disease prevention, recent discoveries of emerging pathogens, public perceptions of risk, diversity, identification of ticks and ongoing research on control and vaccine developments.

For more details, please view the Tick Academy Announcement Flyer.

To register for this virtual event, click the registration link at the bottom of the flyer or visit tickacademy.brownpapertickets.com.

For more IPM information: IPM Pest Alert-Asian longhorned tick

Visit LDA’s Tick Info Page.




IDSA Retracts Publication that Contains Inaccurate Statement

According to a June 22 press release from the Patient-Centered Care Advocacy Group (PCCAG), in response to a complaint filed by PCCAG President Bruce Fries, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has removed the publication, “Ten Facts You Should Know About Lyme Disease,” from its website.

The release indicates that the IDSA leadership removed this publication after they were informed that the document contained an inaccurate statement that “Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is only transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick….It is well documented that Lyme disease can be transmitted from mother to fetus and lead to adverse birth outcomes. Transmission of B. burgdorferi from mother to fetus in humans has been documented with Borrelia spirochetes identified in fetal tissues/and or placenta by various methods including culture, immunohistochemistry with use of specific monoclonal antibodies, indirect immunofluorescence, PCR and microscopy.” Both CDC and NIH acknowledge this mode of transmission.

Bruce Fries also serves as an advisor for research and public policy for Mothers Against Lyme, a recently formed advocacy group, and PCCAG is an LDAnet partner organization.  

Read full press release here

Lyme disease is a currently a trending clinical topic on Medscape, click here to read. 

 




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




Gottheimer Announces Federal Action to Combat the Uptick in Ticks & Lyme Disease in NJ

NJ has four times the national average of Lyme disease cases

West Milford, NJ, June 10, 2021

Above: Gottheimer in West Milford today.

WEST MILFORD, NJ — Today, June 10, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, announced bipartisan federal action to help protect families from Lyme disease and to find new treatments for tick-borne illnesses. Gottheimer was joined by environmental and health experts to highlight how North Jersey families can protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease as they enjoy outdoor activities this summer.

New Jersey had four times the national average of Lyme disease cases in 2020. 

While Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics in many cases, it can also be difficult to diagnose due to its diverse manifestations and a lack of reliable testing options. Many of those infected do not realize their diagnosis until the symptoms have become severe. Current tests for Lyme disease often produce false negatives. There is currently no cure for Lyme disease.

Today, Gottheimer announced that he is helping introduce and push for the following bipartisan bills:

The Children Inflicted by Lyme Disabilities Act — a bipartisan bill to help ensure children who suffer from Lyme disease get the care and attention they need. The bill (H.R.3636) will amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act so that the phrase “child with a disability” includes a child who needs special education and related services due to a Lyme disease health impairment.

Bipartisan legislation for competitions to find Lyme disease treatments — This bipartisan bill (H.R. 3637) will authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch prize competitions to drive innovation and accelerate the discovery of new methods to counter and treat Lyme disease.

The Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act — a bipartisan bill (H.R. 3491) to create a brand new postage stamp to supplement congressionally-appropriated research funding for Lyme and tick-borne disease treatments at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“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.”

“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, the President of Lyme Disease Association Inc.

“The pandemic has proven that people need access to the outdoors to be mentally and physically healthy. We must be vigilant and check for ticks, but we can’t let Lyme disease keep us locked indoors. This legislation gives me hope that we’ll find a cure and finally stamp out Lyme disease, once and for all,” said Don Weise, of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and the West Milford Environmental Commission.

Gottheimer was joined at today’s announcement at the West Milford Wetlands Environmental Center by Passaic County Commissioner Terry Duffy, Lyme Disease Association President Pat Smith, President, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Membership & Development Director  and member of the West Milford Environmental Commission Don Weise, and local Lyme disease patients and advocates Doreen Edwards, Whitney Klein, and Gloria Kim.

Watch the announcement here.

Below: Gottheimer meeting with local Lyme disease patients and advocates today.

Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

There’s been a lot of news of the 17-year cicadas emerging across the East Coast and Midwest. We’ve got them here in New Jersey, and NJ.com reported yesterday that the cicadas’ invasion is at its peak. But, despite being incredibly loud and pervasive, these insects are pretty harmless. As we kick off the summer, the real, legitimate threat we have to face is ticks, and a disease they can spread: Lyme disease.

And as it’s been reported, there’s been a real uptick in ticks. 

I’m here this morning to make sure that New Jersey families know how to watch out for ticks as they enjoy activities outdoors this summer, and to announce new federal legislation to help combat Lyme disease, which many ticks carry, and to support patients dealing with Lyme disease.

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. 

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. 

Here’s what we know about ticks this summer, here in North Jersey:

Annually, there are around 476,000 cases of Lyme disease reported across the United States.

Here in Jersey, and especially in more rural, beautifully-wooded communities like West Milford, Lyme disease is a major and growing threat. According to data from 2020, an average of 36 cases per 100,000 members of our population are diagnosed in New Jersey every single year — more than four times the national average.  Yes, we are a center for Lyme disease!

That means we have to be on the lookout for the culprit this summer: ticks.

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of infected ticks, which can attach to any part of the human body.

High-brush or wooded areas tend to harbor ticks, so families enjoying parks here in North Jersey this summer need to be careful. By using repellents, wearing proper clothing, and consistently checking yourself and your pets for ticks, and for a red circle on your skin, even after a tick bites and falls off, the risk of Lyme disease can be reduced. 

While Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics in many cases, it can also be difficult to diagnose because of its diverse manifestations and a lack of reliable testing options. Many of those infected do not realize their diagnosis until the symptoms have become severe. Even the tests we have for Lyme often produce false negatives several times before an accurate diagnosis. And, unfortunately, there is no cure right now. 

From the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, created by Congress, we know that 10 to 20 percent of Lyme disease patients will suffer from persistent symptoms, which can be chronic and disabling.  And we have families here in North Jersey who have seen the impacts of this disease firsthand.

Joining us today are several New Jersey patients and families, like Doreen, who spent years waiting for the correct diagnosis; Gloria, who had to search extensively to find a specialist to treat her son when he was diagnosed; and Whitney, who has seen an unprecedented spike in Lyme disease in her family and community.  My own sister-in-law has struggled with Lyme disease for more than a decade; one of my wife’s closest friends has faced debilitating years, too. It’s a silent attacker – and it’s time to fight back much more aggressively. 

That’s why, as a member of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, I’m announcing my support for three key pieces of bipartisan legislation, so that we can better protect our families.

The bipartisan Children Inflicted by Lyme Disabilities Act will help ensure children who suffer from Lyme disease get the care and attention they need. That means — with this bill — for which I was one of the first sponsors with Republican Chris Smith, who represents south Jersey — if a child develops a mental disability or a health impairment because of their Lyme disease diagnosis, they can receive special education and services to help them learn and to manage the disease.

I’m also supporting bipartisan legislation to boost investment in preventing, diagnosing, and treating Lyme disease. Our bill, which I also helped introduce with Congressman Smith, who is an incredibly dedicated advocate in the fight against Lyme disease, will authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to create prize competitions to drive innovation and accelerate the discovery of new methods to counter and treat Lyme disease. It’s my hope that, with New Jersey’s leadership and innovation in the medical, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industries, we can play a key role in developing these new treatments — and maybe even a cure.

And finally, I’m announcing support for another key bipartisan initiative to boost investment in R&D for Lyme disease treatment. The Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act will create a brand new postage stamp to supplement congressionally-appropriated research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research treatments for Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

That means, when you’re out mailing a birthday card or sending a letter to your grandmother, you can help fund the research we need to finally find better treatments for this disease.

On these fronts, I’m proud to be working across the aisle. There is nothing partisan about a tick bite and Lyme disease. 

This is not a left or right issue. This affects our families, and we need to do more.

It’s my goal that families from across New Jersey and our entire region will come enjoy the outdoors here in the Garden State this summer — whether it’s here at the West Milford Wetlands Environmental Center, at the beautiful Delaware Water Gap, or on New Jersey’s 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which run right through this Congressional District. I want families to protect themselves from ticks and from the Lyme disease they may carry, all while enjoying the natural beauty we have to offer. 

And I want our residents and families who’ve been affected by Lyme disease to know I stand with them — to push federal bipartisan action forward to boost investment in finding new treatments, and to make sure any child with any impairment or disability from this disease can get the educational services and care they need. 

To make progress on this, we must work together at every level — in Congress, and right here at home. Only then will we be able to overcome Lyme disease and its impacts.

I have every faith — by working together, like we’re coming together today,  here in the greatest country in the world— that our best days will always be ahead of us.

God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

###

Click here for press release on Rep. Gottheimer’s website

Click here for LDA article on the press conference




Columbia Clinical Trials Network Seeks Treatment Approaches From Public, Clinicians, & Others

From Columbia Clinical Trials Network: In recognition of a severe unmet need, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s grant to Columbia University has established the first national Columbia Clinical Trials Network for Lyme and other Tick-borne Diseases [www.lymectn.org]. The Research Network starts with a team of leading investigators, including Dr. Brian Fallon at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, Dr. John Aucott at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland, and Dr. Roberta DeBiasi at Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C.

Providing oversight to ensure that the highest-quality clinical trials are undertaken, the Clinical Trials Network will provide internal funding support for small pilot studies, assist investigators in protocol design and statistical research planning, establish and manage a national case registry, and create a data management system for multi-site clinical trials. The clinical trials network will be a powerful engine to drive large-scale clinical trials and potentially transformational early-stage research.

To generate as many ideas as possible and to hear directly from the front lines of clinical experience, Columbia CTNCC invites public, community clinicians, and other stakeholders to submit their ideas on treatment approaches. These ideas may spark off development of a pilot study and be included in clinical trials conducted at one of the CTN nodes.

You may contribute to a groundbreaking research project in the field of Lyme and the tick-borne diseases.

The deadline for the first round of submissions for treatment research ideas from the general public is July 1, 2021. The submission period opened June 1.

To submit your suggestions for treatments, please go to www.lymectn.org and submit on the “Treatment Research Idea Hub”.

_________________

From the LDA:  The Lyme Disease Association Inc (LDA) President Pat Smith, had this to say about the release, “This is a great opportunity for individuals to provide suggestions which might lead to research on a treatment which could lead to a cure or to a better life for many of our sickest Lyme/TBD patients. I hope those who have promising ideas will submit them to the Columbia CTNCC for consideration.”