Lyme, Tick-Borne Illnesses Get Even More Terrifying
Emerging Powassan virus is rarer but deadlier
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2013 9:51 AM CDT
Updated Aug 18, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
File photo of a deer tick.   (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho, File)

(Newser) – The height of tick season generally brings a spate of scary stories about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, and this year's seem especially high on the heebie-jeebies scale. Lyme disease itself has long been confounding, but the Boston Globe today zeroes in on an especially vexing fact: About 25% of patients continue experiencing symptoms—debilitating headaches, sore joints, nausea, etc.—long after they finish the standard month-long treatment of oral antibiotics. Medically speaking, they should be fine, but they're nowhere near it. Did the bacteria dodge the antibiotics and infiltrate the body's nervous system? Maybe the Lyme triggered a different illness? Should patients stay on antibiotics long-term?

Most specialists thinks the latter is a bad idea for a host of reasons, but it's the only relief for some patients, including the woman featured in the Globe story. If Lyme sounds awful, it's nothing compared to the emerging threat of the Powassan virus. It is rarer—about 6% of ticks in New York's Hudson Valley were found to carry it in a recent study, compared to about 50% for Lyme—but far more lethal, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal. About a third of those afflicted die. Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the CDC to launch a study of Powassan and to expand research into all tick-borne diseases. At LiveScience, Robin Diamond writes that such research can't come soon enough. Doctors for too long have resorted to a "knee-jerk diagnosis" of Lyme, often to their patients' detriment, but the new studies show that we need a much broader view of "all the illnesses tiny ticks can carry, the big problems they can create, and what doctors and patients can do to stem the tide."

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Aug 19, 2013 11:26 AM CDT
Take medical antibiotics and Mannatech's Ambrotose classic. Most people recover at 100%.Without Ambrotose they are back to 60% of preinfection energy
Aug 19, 2013 7:41 AM CDT
I never did understand how ticks benefit the eco-system. They seem like such a worthless animal.
Aug 18, 2013 6:01 PM CDT
I watched a good man die of Lyme. Saw him go from a dignified gentleman, to a babbling cripple. I live about 35 miles east of Lyme, CT... My mother has been treated for it, and I know plenty of other who have had it and experience effects to this day. It's a scary disease. I spend a lot of time in the woods over here and I always deet my socks, boots, and legs, up to the knee, and up to the hip on pants. So far so good. Lyme is a man made, souped up form of neurosyphilis. Who would have guessed that deer ticks the size of a pinhead could escape from a laboratory?