Ticks, Ticks, and More Ticks!

A Conversation with Dr. Nate Nieto, Northern Arizona University and Head of the Free Tick Testing Program


Nate Nieto_312Just six months ago, Bay Area Lyme launched a free Tick Testing Program through a partnership with Nate Nieto, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and his lab.

The lab accept ticks from any state in the US and ticks are tested for several bacterial infections. The goal is to learn more about the ecological distribution of the major tick vectors and the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens that people encounter in different locations around the country ultimately to improve both prevention and diagnostic measures.

The initial response to this program far exceeded any anticipations — thousands of ticks poured in from all over the nation! Here, we sat down with Dr. Nieto to talk about what he has seen in these first few months and how the program will continue to grow and evolve. 

For more information about how to submit a sample, please refer to the Tick Testing page.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Finalists of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Finalists of “Lyme Innovation” Hackathon

Event brings together research from other therapeutic areas and disciplines to collaborate in development of solutions

Cambridge, MA, June 24, 2016 – Bay Area Lyme Foundation, collaborating with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of Lyme Innovation, the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from several US states registered for this event to brainstorm solutions for Lyme disease, a potentially devastating condition newly infecting 329,000 people each year.

“Collaboration is the key to solving the myriad of challenges of Lyme disease, and we were excited to have the participation of so many researchers new to Lyme research,” said Wendy Adams, Science Committee, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  “It has been exciting to see such a wide range of expertise and enthusiasm come together to focus on solutions for this serious disease.”

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Sponsors Massachusetts General Hospital Forum to Address Challenges of Lyme Disease

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Sponsors Massachusetts General Hospital Forum to Address Challenges of Lyme Disease

Researchers consider issues of persistence, and cardiac and neurological manifestations of Lyme disease, as well as the challenges of other emerging tick-borne diseases

Boston, MA, June 13, 2016 – Massachusetts General Hospital convened a national scientific conference, “Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses: Diagnostics, Emerging Pathogens and Avenues for New Research,” was convened at Massachusetts General Hospital to educate and inspire collaboration toward a greater understanding of the of tick-borne diseases and how research should be focused. This conference, which was attended by academia, industry, and government, was supported by Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Lyme disease infects more than 329,000 people each year in the U.S., and there is currently no sufficiently reliable Lyme diagnostic test and there is no universally effective treatment for post-treatment Lyme disease.

Pets and People: More than Companions

Michael Yabsley with petThe following is a post from a guest author, Dr. Michael J. Yabsley, MS, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia and Board of Directors, Companion Animal Parasite Council.

He shares some important observations on the relationship between our pets and their people, especially in the context of vector-borne pathogens like Lyme disease.

Pets are our companions. They share our lives, our homes and our family time. We often share the mutual love of activities such as hiking or simply playing fetch in the backyard. While companionship is clearly why we have pets, our bond with them is often far greater than we appreciate — we share the same environment and more often than not, the same health concerns. At the top of this list are several vector-borne diseases.

Hope, Faith, and Perseverance — How One Family Overcame Lyme Disease

Eliza Hemenway_HS_312Bay Area author and noted documentary filmmaker Eliza Hemenway recently turned her journalistic eye toward her own family to document a notably personal and tryingly poignant story about her family’s trials with Lyme disease and the baffling enigma that surrounds the illness and its treatment. Her daughter, Katherine, just seven years old when infected, suffered for years before successfully being diagnosed. And even after diagnosis, the family struggled to get the care they needed.

“I am a Bay Area mother who wrote Paris in Oakland to be a story of hope and encouragement to the Lyme community, something I desperately needed when my daughter was first diagnosed and I was trying to understand the controversies and confusion surrounding Lyme. 

American Ninja Warrior Elet Hall Educates about Lyme Disease Risks

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Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

American Ninja Warrior Elet Hall Educates about Lyme Disease Risks

Growing issue of Lyme disease in California prompts Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) to provide Lyme education at statewide conference

Silicon Valley, CA, May 9, 2016 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading non-profit funder and advocate of innovative Lyme disease research in the US, today announced that Elet Hall, ambassador for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and Jo Ellis, director, education outreach, Bay Area Lyme Foundation helped raise awareness about Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses among California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) conference attendees.  Attendees included individuals who work in museums, zoos, nature centers, and state and national parks as well as environmental and outdoor educators who help instill an understanding of nature to individuals of all ages, from California and neighboring states.

Philanthropists and Scientists Collaborate to Increase the Pace of Lyme Disease Research, Raising $815,000 at LymeAid 2016

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Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Philanthropists and Scientists Collaborate to Increase the Pace of Lyme Disease Research, Raising $815,000 at LymeAid 2016

Weekend kicks off with high-level scientific discussions, and concludes with a fun-filled performance by the legendary Diana Ross

Palo Alto, CA (May 3, 2016) – This weekend, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading nonprofit funder and advocate of innovative Lyme disease research in the US, hosted a 2-day event aimed at helping make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure.  Scientists and clinicians, who met to strategize concepts and collaborations on Saturday, were joined by more than 300 philanthropists, celebrities, patients and others in the medical field for the fourth annual LymeAid on Sunday.  The benefit dinner and concert raised more than $815,000, of which 100% will go directly to fund research for Lyme disease.  More than 329,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with this potentially debilitating disease.

Diana Ross headlined LymeAid, energizing the enthusiastic crowd with “I Will Survive” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, whose names offered unique relevance for the audience and brought attendees to their feet for an hour of nonstop dancing. Earlier in the evening two other voices also entertained guests with original songs addressing the need to overcome this devastating disease.  Kiva, 11, movingly performed his original song “10 Years and 17 Doctors” about his mother’s struggle with Lyme disease.  Additionally, Sony/ATV singer/songwriter Dana Parish, who dealt with great difficulty being diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, performed “Pull You Through”.

Beware the Questing Tick!

May is Lyme Awareness month. And it is indeed time to be aware. Thanks to El Niño, it’s a wetter Spring than we’ve had in several years. That means we have lots of green grass, damp leaf litter, and overgrown trails and paths. It also means the ticks are out. And early spring means nymph season — these nymphs are young ticks, not much bigger than a poppy seed … the kind that are easy to miss with a quick glance.

Anna Perez This photograph depicts a deer tick, or blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, as it was questing on a blade of grass.The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of infected ticks. The blacklegged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States, and the western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus, spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast. Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are much larger and may be more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult Ixodes ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.
Adult Ixodes tick questing. Photo by Anna Perez, courtesy of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The good news is that ticks can’t fly, jump, or even run. But they do “quest” — they hang out on leaves, blades of grass, and branches, tiny legs poised to grab onto a warm body passing by. Ticks need to feed in order to progress to the next life stage and perching ready to grab a free ride (and meal!) on an unwitting passerby is how they ensure their survival.

When hiking or biking in the woods, if you keep to the center of the trail and avoid bushwhacking and brushing up against high grasses or other vegetation, your risk of picking up a parasitic passenger is pretty low. Once you leave the trail for a pit stop, however, the risk rises exponentially. Ticks are carried by deer and other small mammals that also like to use the trails so the highest concentration of ticks is often close to trails.

Experts Hack for Lyme Disease Solutions in Boston and Berkeley

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Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Experts Hack for Lyme Disease Solutions in Boston and Berkeley

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Supports the First Hackathon for Lyme Disease to Inspire Innovation

Silicon Valley, CA, April 18, 2016— To inspire innovation to help solve the challenges of Lyme disease, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, collaborating with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, is supporting Lyme Innovation, the first ever Hackathon for Lyme disease, a potentially devastating condition newly infecting 329,000 people each year. Scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from both U.S. coasts participated in this innovative event, which kicked off this weekend, and will continue in Cambridge June 17 – 19, at the Microsoft Nerd Center.