And you probably thought Lyme disease was bad enough. Well, don’t look now! There is a new strain of deer tick-borne illness that’s been discovered, and it too can strike humans.
The new strain is a variant of ehrlichiosis, which is caused by bacteria from the Rickettsiae family and transmitted by tick bite. The most common symptoms of the disease, which usually appear about a week after the initial contact with the tick, are chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, and nausea. As it worsens, those with ehrlichiosis may develop difficulty breathing and bleeding in the skin, and it can be fatal in a small percentage of cases.
This previously unseen ehrlichiosis strain was discovered among 25 patients in Minnesota and Wisconsin who had become ill.1 Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, analyzed thousands of deer ticks from all over the United States. The finding was a surprise, since deer ticks were not previously known to carry ehrlichia bacteria, and ehrlichiosis in humans was quite rare in the upper Midwest.
Deer ticks are much more common in the Eastern United States, so if this strain does begin to spread, this will be a very important finding. Physicians who ordinarily would never have suspected ehrlichiosis will hopefully now be aware that it could be a possibility for those exhibiting symptoms who may have come into contact with a tick through time spent outdoors or with pets.
The Mayo Clinic scientists found that the four patients they reported on with the new strain of ehrlichiosis all responded well to antibiotics and fully recovered. This strain seems to just be different from previously known strains of the disease, but not necessarily more serious. It is closely related to a strain commonly found that infects mice and deer in Japan and Eastern Europe. However, if it’s now carried by ticks, it could end up infecting a whole lot more people than we’ve ever seen before.
Another team of researchers at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, found that comparable strains of ehrlichia were present in ticks gathered in Wisconsin in the 1990s.2 That would seem to indicate that this bacteria is just as prevalent as anaplasma bacteria, which causes another tick-borne disease. And just as anaplasmosis and Lyme disease spread along with tick migration, ehrlichiosis may too.
As of now, Lyme disease still remains more dangerous than ehrlichiosis since Lyme is often only temporarily suppressed by antibiotics, not killed off. But with all of these types of tick-borne bacteria, it is essential to attack the bacteria directly, while at the same time optimizing your immune system so that it can fight off the bacterial attack.
There are natural ways to provide yourself with protection from these bacteria. Olive leaf extract that is 20 percent oleuropein, grapefruit seed extract (unfortunately, it is now becoming hard to find food grade grapefruit seed extract), and colloidal silver3 all kill bacteria. All of these can be used for a 30-day period to fight infection. Proteolytic enzymes at detox level doses can actually “digest” the bacteria in the blood. Also, you probably want to add to this regimen immune system boosters such as Echinacea and acemannan.
After the 30 days, probiotics will be needed to rebuild the intestinal bacteria. The use of a garlic-based formula will help continue to attack the bacteria, but without harming the intestinal flora. The proteolytics can be continued at detox levels for 90 days, then lowered down to maintenance levels. The bottom line is that Lyme disease is extremely difficult to eliminate once you have it; however, it is possible, in those cases where you can’t eliminate it, to at least keep it in check so that you remain symptom free.
And of course, the best medicine is often prevention. Try to avoid getting bitten by a tick in the first place by staying out of the woods and areas with tall grass. Ticks are most active from late spring through early fall, so make sure at that time of year especially you stay on a trail if hiking. Keep the minimum amount of skin exposed when you are in high-risk places. Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts, and high socks or boots. Finally, don’t forget to do a tick check all over your body when you have spent time outdoors. If you do find any, remove the tick with tweezers and clean the bite with iodine solution, rubbing alcohol, or soap and water immediately.
1 Pritt, Bobbi S.; Sloan, Lynne M.; Hoang Johnson, Diep K.; et al. “Emergence of a New Pathogenic Ehrlichia Species, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 2009.” The New England Journal of Medicine. 4 August 2011. Massachusetts Medical Society. 18 August 2011. <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1010493>.
2 Telford III, Sam R.; Goethert, Heidi K.; and Cunningham, Jenny A. “Prevalence of Ehrlichia muris in Wisconsin Deer Ticks Collected During the Mid 1990s.” The Open Microbiology Journal. 4 May 2011. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 19 August 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106336/>.
3 Colloidal Silver Sol. Accessed 20 August 2011. <http://www.colloidal-silver-sol.com/>