June 4, 2013, © Georgia Lyme Disease Association, http://www.GeorgiaLymeDisease.org
COMMON LONE STAR TICK IMPLICATED IN
LYME DISEASE BACTERIA FOUND IN SOUTHERNERSDr. Clark’s Research May Help Millions!!!
For the first time ever, University of North Florida’s Dr. Kerry Clark and colleagues reported finding two
species of Lyme disease bacteria previously unknown to infect humans, Borrelia americana and Borrelia
andersonii, in symptomatic patients living in the Southeastern USA. Importantly, the commonly found
lone star tick, formerly believed by many to be incapable of transmitting Lyme disease, was implicated in
some of these cases.
The research, published in the May issue of The International Journal of Medical Sciences, is extremely
significant for several reasons. First, only one Lyme bacterial species, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto
(Bbss), was previously recognized to cause disease in North America. Current testing methods and
interpretation criteria, designed to detect just one species, may explain many of the complaints
involving the unreliability of Lyme disease tests in the USA.
In addition, the belief that only black-legged “deer ticks” can transmit Lyme disease has been widely
publicized for decades. Lyme disease risk has been calculated largely based upon the prevalence and
infection rate of these “deer ticks,” Ixodes scapularis. In fact, Yale University recently released a new
Lyme Disease Risk Map funded by a $2.9 million CDC grant which was highly contested by many. (They
only tested a total of nine black-legged ticks from a few southern states.) Yale’s map, based solely on
“deer ticks,” shows little risk to people living outside the Northeastern USA. Clark’s findings, together
with past studies implicating lone star ticks associated with Lyme disease (Masters, Rawlings, Felz, Feir,
etc.), strongly suggest otherwise.
Dr. Clark and his team identified lone star ticks, Amblyomma americanum, removed from humans who
tested positive for Lyme bacteria, including the species of Borrelia burgdorferi, Bbss, already known to
cause the disease in North America. Some of the ticks removed from the patients tested positive, too.
Lone star ticks are the most commonly found species biting humans in the Southeastern United States.
These aggressive ticks are found almost halfway across the nation – from the deep South and as far
north as Canada. This groundbreaking research may clarify why so many humans living outside of the
Northeastern USA claim they have contracted Lyme disease** regardless of the presence of infected
black-legged “deer ticks.”
The new findings significantly expand the geographic area where Lyme disease should be considered by
medical providers and citizens alike. As Georgia Lyme Disease Association president Liz Schmitz
remarked, “If only one percent of these ticks are able to transmit Lyme disease, it poses a tremendous
threat to public health because lone star ticks are known to bite humans so frequently.”
Dr. Clark’s work may help millions of chronically ill people living in areas where Lyme disease wasn’t
previously recognized. Called The New Great Imitator, Lyme disease is often mistaken for illnesses such
as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s
disease, Parkinson’s, ADHD, and even Alzheimer’s.
Georgia Lyme Disease Association is proud to have provided both technical assistance and funding in
support Dr. Clark’s important research. You may view the medical journal article here.
GALDA Announces Fundraising Campaign: Please help us support the continuing research
efforts of Dr. Kerry Clark by making a tax-deductible donation to GALDA’s new fundraising
campaign. GALDA is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(3)c organization. All proceeds of this
campaign will go directly to support the important work of Dr. Clark and his colleagues.
Five…ten… twenty dollars…every bit helps! Let’s speed up our understanding of Lyme disease
by working together to unlock Borrelia burgdorferi’s secrets! Patients and citizens everywhere
will benefit. Thank you for your generosity. Click here to donate.
**Arti cle Note: For decades, public heal th officials and Lyme disease groups and organi zations have heard from thousands of
patients livi ng outside known “endemi c” areas who claim they and/or thei r famil y members contracted Lyme disease wi th no
travel his tory. Georgia was the 4th hi ghest state in the nation in number of CDC-reported Lyme cases in 1989 with 715 cases
on record. Now, mos t cases of southern Lyme disease are unreportable due to the di fferent surveillance guidelines used
regionall y. Many cases are also dismissed as “false posi ti ves.”
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