“My daughter knows what I was like before I was sick,” she said with tears in her eyes. “My son doesn’t.”
By CHRIS PETERSON Hungry Horse News, May 27, 2015
In April 2010, Angela Daenzer was doing field work as a biologist for the Flathead National Forest when she startled a moose up the Middle Fork. She ducked off into the brush to avoid the angry animal, and while the moose encounter was a bit scary, there were worse things to come.
While hiding in the brush, Daenzer picked up a tick that bit her in the scalp. After a shower hours later, she found the tick and, disgusted by it, she pulled it out of her hair and threw it in the toilet.
Daenzer is convinced that tick gave her Lyme disease, or at the very least a disease very similar to it. Within a week, she became very ill. She got the chills and a sore throat and then what she and her doctors thought was an ear infection and then severe jaw pain.
May 24, 2015
My former (and now future) anti-tick precautions predate confirmation that ticks in western Canada carried the dreaded Borrelia bacteria. Instead, I grew up on tales of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis and other ailments shared by the seed-sized critters. It was only during my last few years in the mountains that Lyme disease loomed locally as a possibility.
I recently met a colleague from those mountain days. He mentioned that several people he had worked with in the 1980s now suffered from unaccounted-for neurological problems, including memory loss, chronic fatigue, muscle wasting and nerve issues.
He speculated about Lyme disease, but didn’t know. He said the acquaintances also didn’t know. Three decades have passed since they spent their summers roaming slopes, exploring valleys and camping in high-mountain passes.
Lyme disease might have existed in the Rockies back then, but remained undetected, undocumented and unknown. The bacteria can incubate for years in some people before causing illness. It’s also possible the illness occurred back then, but lack of awareness and difficulties with diagnosis — which continue today — left it undiagnosed.
– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/monique-keiran-tiny-ticks-a-good-reason-to-be-cautious-1.1944790#sthash.fuhfwAYX.dpuf
Related link and additional future links posted HERE.
As is often the case with Lyme-related questions in this region, this question has two important parts. One being which are we contracting within this geographic area, and the other being which are we contracting anywhere else that we travel to?
It’s challenging, but important, to distinguish the relative importance of each part of the question. As a patient in a time-sensitive quandary, it doesn’t matter where we contracted the illness as much as it matters that we can get timely and adequate diagnosis and care. But a current obstacle to both in this region, unfortunately, is the assumption that contracting it here is not possible, because it serves as a very large distraction and obstacle, regardless of where the exposure occurred.
The fact that you ‘can’t get it here’ is, sadly, often the only answer the patient receives–an untimely and unjustified end to what should be a lengthy discussion including a number of important questions.
This is a problem, of course, because we need medical care either way, and it needs to occur quickly to avoid the risk of permanent harm to the patient.
So the importance of proving we can contract Lyme in the Rockies is partly to overcome the wrong assumption that it is not a risk here, but also to overcome the biases among doctors that lessen the chances of due consideration of the likely cause of symptoms that present ‘just like Lyme disease’ but ‘can’t be Lyme disease’ (in most cases until the patient is able to travel out of state for a more informed opinion*, which is usually not happening fast enough to avoid long term consequences).
Continue reading Which Borrelia Strains Are We Contracting in the Rockies?
This graphic by Jill McAllister is extremely meaningful, as it provides information not currently available in terms of geographic distribution of Lyme and Lyme infected ticks.
Some of these locations, although across the border, are not really all the far from where I was bit in 2010 (various maps will be constructed over time). As you will read elsewhere on this site, distribution estimates and maps can be dangerously misleading if they do not depict associated levels of detection effort. As is seen time and time again (with North Dakota serving as a highly relevant example) the areas where we are not finding Lyme coincide with areas where we are not yet, or not adequately looking.