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the prevention and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
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Previous LymeNet Headlines
According to a new review article in the Centers for Disease Control's Emerging Infectious Diseases, the tick-borne diseases known as Human Ehrlichioses are likely underreported and may require increases in surveillance to adequately track them. [1-JAN-2000]
A class action suit against LYMErix manufacturer SmithKline Beecham alleges the vaccine causes an incurable form of autoimmune arthritis in genetically vulnerable patients and, for some, could produce symptoms far worse than those brought on by the illness. LymeNet has provided detailed updates on vaccine issues since early 1998 and publishes an in-depth Vaccine Position Paper reviewing the top issues. Additional details will be published as they become available. [15-DEC-1999]
Researchers at University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ) have developed a test that may accurately detect Lyme disease as early as one week after an infectious tick bite. It may also differentiate between active and passive infection, and between active infection and vaccinations. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was partially funded by the Lyme Disease Association of NJ, Inc. [24-NOV-1999]
A remarkable roster of Lyme disease experts will present their latest findings at the Dutchess County Lyme Disease Conference November 13 and 14, 1999 in New York state. Continuing Medical Education credits are available. [02-NOV-1999]
The New England Journal of Medicine again reminds us to be vigilant of rapidly spreading tick borne infections. In a letter to the Journal, physicians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center report on two cases of Rapidly Fatal Infection with Ehrlichia chaffeensis. In significant numbers, ticks are increasingly transmitting both the Lyme pathogen and ehrlichia to patients in a single bite, clouding the clinical picture and further complicating an already difficult diagnostic process. [02-SEP-1999]
In a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report on several human patients infected with a new pathogen, Ehrlichia ewingii, in Missouri and surrounding states. E. ewingii had previously been identified in dogs. It should be noted the researchers used the advanced polymerase chain reaction DNA detection test to identify E. ewingii, not antibody analysis. For years, heath officials have debated the very existence of tick borne disease in Missouri, as numerous studies could not identify the source of the infamous "Lyme-like" illness in the region. [15-JUL-1999]
Researchers from New Jersey, the University of Connecticut and Harvard School of Public Health report in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology that the tickborne disease babesiosis is spreading faster than previously reported in New Jersey. They conclude: "Physicians practicing in central New Jersey, therefore, should be aware that B. microti infection may threaten the health of their patients." [19-JUN-1999]
LymeNet has been receiving anecdotal reports of serious adverse events associated with the recently released LYMErix vaccine. We would like to receive physician confirmation of these reports. Any physician who has dispensed the vaccine and is willing to discuss the issue (either on or off the record) should write to: [email protected] . LymeNet will protect the privacy of anyone writing to this address. If you have general questions about the vaccine, please see our list of Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions. [07-MAY-1999]
For those who cannot physically attend, Medscape.com provides complete coverage of the 12th Annual Conference on Lyme Disease and Other Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Disorders with on-line coverage in compliance with continuing medical education standards. [3-APR-1999]
The Lyme Disease Foundation's 12th Annual Conference on Lyme Disease and Other Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Disorders will take place on April 9 and 10 at the Equitable Conference Center in New York City. Registration materials and conference information are now available on-line. [2-APR-1999]
A surprising paper in the journal Infection has documented a new culture method where 91% of the patients defined as having Chronic Lyme disease were positive, compared with 0% of the control group. LymeNet is closely watching this promising story as the method begins the process of confirmation and further studies. [1-FEB-1999]
New York Medical College is still recruiting patients for an NIH study of Chronic Lyme disease. They are seeking patients who have received supposedly curative treatment, but continue to exibit symptoms. [1-FEB-1999]
SmithKline Beecham will be releasing their new Lyme disease vaccine, LYMErix, in the next few weeks. The Lyme Disease Network will not take a formal position, for or against vaccination. However, LymeNet has developed a discussion document reviewing the top vaccine issues. [6-JAN-1999]
The 12th edition of Dr. Joseph J. Burrascano's protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and related tick borne illnesses is now available on LymeNet. The web address for the document is: https://guidelines.lymenet.org. [06-DEC-1998]
Not all scientists agree with the diagnostic standards created by such groups as the American College of Physicians. The ACP's Lyme disease testing standards have been met with opposition, articulated in a letter reprinted in LymeNet Newsletter, vol#6, #11. [20-NOV-1998]
The existence of Lyme disease in the Southern United States has been controversial for the past decade. Despite mounting evidence, federal health officials continue to use narrow definitions of Lyme disease to deny Southern LD. In a letter to the Archives of Internal Medicine, a Missouri physician on the front lines of the epidemic, Dr. Edwin J. Masters, now challenges anyone to clinically differentiate between his Lyme patients and individuals with federally approved Lyme disease. [01-NOV-1998]
Many chronic Lyme patients have resorted to alternative treatments when conventional therapies fail to provide a complete cure. One such therapy is colloidal silver. Rosemary Jacobs of Long Island, NY, found out the hard way what this potentially dangerous treatment can do to the skin. The silver woman from Long Island has published her story on the web. [21-SEP-1998]
Science Magazine publishes an important report on the identification of a candidate human autoantigen, LFA-1, which could explain why some patients continue to exhibit inflammatory Lyme symptoms after supposedly curative antibiotic therapy. LFA-1 "looks" biologically similar to a protein in the Lyme vaccines being proposed to the US Food and Drug Administration, leading some scientists to express concern whether the vaccine itself may prompt an autoimmune disease in patients with the HLA-DR4 genetic marker. The authors of this new paper readily admit the results are circumstantial and require additional research. A Medical News article in the June 24 issue of JAMA reviews the safety concerns about this vaccine, including the LFA-1 issue. [06-AUG-1998]
New England Journal of Medicine reports on two promising new Lyme disease vaccines, which preliminary data suggest are safe and effective over a 2 year period. It is not clear at this time how many boosters will be required after 2 years, and how safe these repeated doses are. NEJM publishes data for both the SmithKline Beecham candidate and the Pasteur Merieux Connaught formulation . Neither vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. [23-JUL-1998]
An increasing number of experts are noting that the current prevention recommendations, which include covering up skin on hot summer days, are not working very well and may be simply impractical. A FoxNews.com story reports that, as the number of Lyme disease cases spiral upwards, new approaches to prevention are needed. [20-JUL-1998]
Recent research again highlights the impact Lyme disease can have on children. Despite normal intellectual functioning, the five children in this study had mild to moderate deficits in auditory or visual sequential processing. Details are available in: Neurocognitive abnormalities in children after classic manifestations of Lyme disease. [10-JUL-1998]
The companion bill to the Smith House Lyme disease appropriation bill (described below) will be voted on soon. Lyme Disease Initiative Act of 1998 (Introduced in the Senate) is sponsored by Connecticut senator Chris Dodd. The Lyme Disease Foundation is encouraging the public to urge their senators to support this important funding measure. [25-JUN-1998]
The VII International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and other Emerging Diseases will take place between June 20 and 24, 1999, in Munich, Germany. Registration materials may be requested by sending e-mail to: [email protected] . Include your postal mail address and mention the "Lyme '99" conference. Details will be provided in the July edition of the LymeNet Newsletter. [18-JUN-1998]
A bill introduced in the US House of Representatives by New Jersey congressman Chris Smith would appropriate $20 million each year for the next 5 years for government agencies to develop an accurate test for LD, improve the reporting and surveillance system for this disease, and research the average number of visits to physicians that are made by patients with Lyme disease before a diagnosis is made. The Lyme Disease Association of NJ is asking the public to contact their Members of Congress to urge them to support the Lyme Disease Initiative Act of 1998. [30-MAY-1998]
Recent correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine once again highlights the inadequacies of the US' Lyme disease reporting system, noting that the actual incidence of Lyme disease is probably about 10 times greater than the current figures suggest. [28-MAY-1998]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee has recommended SmithKline Beecham Corp.'s Lyme disease vaccine, LYMErix, for approval for the use in certain individuals between the ages of 15 and 70. The Lyme Disease Network is working on a complete analysis of the proposed vaccine which will be made available online in the next few weeks. [26-MAY-1998]
"These [chronic lyme] patients are in a condition worse than patients with marked congestive heart failure. They are two and a half standard deviations from normal - among the most deviant of any chronic illness." So says NIH Extramural Chronic Lyme Study Principal Investigator Mark S. Klempner. For the first time in the history of this disease, researchers are objectively quantifying chronic Lyme disease... and their preliminary impressions are remarkable. Read about them in LymeNet Newsletter vol#6 #05 . [20-MAY-1998]
Have researchers found a marker for neuroborreliosis? Preliminary data show elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinase in cerebrospinal fluid were found in 78% of patients with neurological Lyme disease versus 6% of the controls. Physicians treating neuroborreliosis patients should acquaint themselves with the following research: Matrix metalloproteinases in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis. [05-MAY-1998]
LymeNet Newsletter vol#6 #04 reprints an eye-opening investigative report originally appearing in the Lyme Times highlighting the surprising prevalence of tickborne diseases in a northern California community, and the difficulty in getting public health authorities to recognize the issue. [17-APR-1998]
El Niño strikes again. Texas Department of Health epidemiologist Julie Rawlings reports that the excessive rains drenching California may translate to a bumper crop of insects in the near future. This could lead to significant increases in tick and flea borne diseases such as Lyme disease. [08-APR-1998]
Health officials in Southern California have documented the presence of the Lyme bacteria in a tick obtained in a Los Angeles park. This is reportedly the first time the bacteria has been isolated by the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District. The Los Angeles Times has been keeping track of the story and serves as a good starting point for individuals looking to further research the issue. This discovery comes as a relief to many Lyme patients in Southern California who have had their disease denied because local physicians wouldn't believe Lyme exists in their region. [28-FEB-1998]
Emerging Infectious Diseases prints a revealing article on the number of infected ticks in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Read about the Prevalence of Tick-Borne Pathogens in Ixodes scapularis in a Rural New Jersey County.
The Institute of Ecosystem Studies reported in the journal Science a link between acorn crops and the number of Lyme disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control. Their research suggests that 1999 may see a dramatic upswing in the number of Lyme disease cases among people who visit the oak forests of the Northeastern United States.
The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md reported in the journal Nature that they have sucessfully decoded the entire DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causitive agent of Lyme disease. The sequence is available for download via the Web. Additional information can be found in LymeNet Newsletter vol#5, #12.
New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that Chronic Lyme Disease unresponsive to conventional antibiotic therapy could be cured with a new type of vaccine based on the OspC protein. The two Lyme disease vaccines currently waiting FDA approval are based on a different protein, OspA. Further testing is required to determine if this vaccine would be safe and effective in humans.
A prominent Mayo Clinic researcher has raised concerns that Lyme Disease vaccines may give patients a false sense of security and create diagnostic confusion. Read about it in LymeNet Newsletter vol#5, #11.
The CDC's publication Emerging Infectious Diseases reports on the presence of the Lyme disease and Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE) bacteria in ticks found in a New York City park. Prior to this study, it was assumed that LD patients were infected outside the City limits. The authors believe this is the first instance in which the deer tick has been confirmed on wildlife hosts resident in the City.
In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, two Lyme researchers discuss a case of apparent experimental OspA vaccine failure, and the subsequent difficulty associated with diagnosing active infection in this patient.
IgeneX, Inc., a leader in tick-borne disease diagnostics, introduces an online version of their Newsletters. In Volume 6, No 1, the authors review research that may improve the state of tick-borne disease testing.
A new special Lyme disease issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases provides physicians and scientists with a primer on the vast array of issues surrounding the Lyme disease epidemic. The issue may be ordered from the publisher.
The Lyme disease bacterium is not the only tick-borne threat. Researchers are finding that Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE) is present in far more ticks than previously suspected. Read about the Prevalence of the Rickettsital Agent of HGE in Ticks from a Hyperendemic Focus of Lyme Disease.
To further compound the diagnostic confusion, yet another tick-borne pathogen has been identified. A New Tick-borne Encephalitis-like Virus Infecting New England Deer Ticks may be an emerging problem.
To continue your own research, investigate our bibliography of documentation supporting Chronic Lyme disease. This feature leverages the power of the LymeNet Search Server.
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