Thursday, April 17, 2008

lyme disease day 1 (the local plague)

It's a hot sunny spring day. Dave & Nick are out planting. I have Lyme disease.

I suddenly came down with flu-like symptoms (you know, headache, fever, nausea, aches all over, chills, diarrea) this morning, and tried to work but felt so completely exhausted & in pain that I had to go lie down. Dave said that because I was bitten by a tick last week I probably have Lyme disease.

So I went to the doctors, and they were pretty certain that I do. I don't have insurance so I didn't get the lab tests (they take a long time & are unreliable), but they gave me a prescription for Amoxacillin, the weaker antibiotic, since the strong one they wanted to give me causes sun sensitivity. And there's no way I can avoid the sun for 3 weeks. So now I'm taking these anti-biotics 3x a day for 21 days, and along with them Probiotics, to keep my intestines from freaking out.

Here's some quick facts about Lyme disease from

Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria from the genus Borrelia.[1] The vector of infection is typically the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick, but other carriers (including other ticks in the genus Ixodes) have been implicated.[2] Borrelia burgdorferi is the predominant cause of Lyme disease in the U.S.

The disease presentation varies widely, and may include a rash and flu-like symptoms in its initial stage, then musculoskeletal, arthritic, neurologic, psychiatric and cardiac manifestations. In a majority of cases, symptoms can be eliminated with antibiotics, especially if treatment begins early in the course of illness. Late or inadequate treatment often leads to "late stage" Lyme disease that is disabling and difficult to treat. Controversy over diagnosis, testing and treatment has led to two different standards of care.[3][4]

Lyme and all other deer-tick borne diseases can be prevented on a regional level by reducing the deer population that the ticks depend on for reproductive success. This has been effectively demonstrated in the communities of Monhegan, Maine[53] and in Mumford Cove, CT.[54]. The black-legged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) depends on the white-tailed deer for successful reproduction.

(So go get your guns, people! We need more hunters out there!)

By reducing the deer population back to healthy levels of 8 to 10 per square mile (from the current levels of 60 or more deer per square mile in the areas of the country with the highest Lyme disease rates) the tick numbers can be brought down to very low levels, too few to spread Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Urbanization and other anthropogenic factors can be implicated in the spread of the Lyme disease into the human population. In many areas, expansion of suburban neighborhoods has led to the gradual deforestation of surrounding wooded areas and increasing "border" contact between humans and tick-dense areas. Human expansion has also resulted in a gradual reduction of the predators that normally hunt deer as well as mice, chipmunks and other small rodents -- the primary reservoirs for Lyme disease. As a consequence of increased human contact with host and vector, the likelihood of transmission to Lyme residents has greatly increased.[86][87] Researchers are also investigating possible links between global warming and the spread of vector-borne diseases including Lyme disease.[88]

All love letters, support, & advice welcome!

P.S. Chickens eat ticks, too.

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