Sunday, August 28, 2011

0 News: In Wisconsin, Illnesses spread by ticks on rise

The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune has this article on tap today:

Illnesses spread by ticks on rise

Excerpts:
Consistent testing and an increase in deer ticks are driving up the number of tick-borne illnesses reported annually in Wisconsin, health officials said.

Statewide, cases of the bacteria infections anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis -- both spread by deer ticks -- increased 70 percent from 2009 to 2010, when 546 cases were reported, according to state data.

"It's nice to be able to pick (anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis) up, so a patient can be properly treated," said Diep Hoang Johnson, an epidemiologist for Wisconsin's Division of Public Health. "If lyme disease (tests) come back negative, they may not get treated and they may have one of these diseases."
and
"Marx said the increase in tick diseases other than lyme likely is because of more efficient testing and health care providers' improved efforts to report the illnesses."

Comments:

It's important to keep in mind that not every tick bite leads to a case of Lyme disease, and a negative Lyme disease test result does not necessarily mean the patient does not have Lyme disease (antibodies may not have been present at the time the test was taken) - nor does it indicate what other tickborne infections a person may have such as Ehrlichiosis or Babesiosis (as well as a few viruses which are spread by tick bites).

It's important for doctors and patients to familiarize themselves with the range of tickborne infections which are out there and be aware of the symptom spectrum for all them, as well as for doctors to take a detailed history from patients to see where they have traveled and resided to determine which tickborne diseases they are at greater risk of contracting. This provides a starting point for which coinfections to test for - but is by no means definitive as these diseases spread and even change in geographic location and density.

Read more of this news article at: http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/article/20110828/CWS0101/108280518/Illnesses-spread-by-ticks-rise

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