New Study Reveals Ticks in Bay Area Carry Larger Diversity of Bacteria Than Expected and May Help Explain Why Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary Widely Among Bay Area Patients

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

New Study Reveals Ticks in Bay Area Carry Larger Diversity of Bacteria Than Expected and May Help Explain Why Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary Widely Among Bay Area Patients

Rates of tick infection with Borrelia miyamotoi are found to be higher in the Bay Area than previously documented on East Coast, and Tick-borne disease infection risk is shown to be higher in Redwood habitats than previously believed

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., August 19, 2015 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which is working to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, highlights a new Bay Area study  conducted by researchers from Stanford and Northern Arizona Universities documenting a vast diversity of bacterial species and strains that cause tick-borne diseases in Bay Area residents and visitors.  The variety of bacterial species and strains identified may be the reason that Bay Area patients with tick-borne diseases experience a wide range of symptoms, which may or may not include flu-like complaints, joint pain, fatigue and a rash of differing shapes, thereby making exact diagnoses extremely difficult.

Design for Good: Teaching Tick-Bite Prevention to School Children

As part of our education outreach, Bay Area Lyme identified a need for an interactive, informative, “nature-museum” style experience that would help teach children about Lyme disease.

Knowing that young people are often incredible problem solvers and innovators and eager to tap a community with direct empathy for our target market, we approached D-Tech High, a new charter school in Millbrae, with a design challenge. We asked the students to design an educational and engaging, self-contained, “children’s museum-like” experience to spread awareness about Lyme disease and provide children with tick-bite prevention tips.

Are the Deer to Blame?

deer_300Blacklegged ticks, both the Western and Eastern varieties, are often known as “deer ticks” … Does that mean deer are to blame for the spread of Lyme disease?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is not obvious. While deer are a common host animal for the ticks (and can carry as many as 1000 ticks per animal!), they do not support the Lyme-causing spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria). Ticks can feed, reside, and reproduce on deer but need to come into contact with the bacteria via another host before biting a human to spread Lyme disease. So, while there is a correlation between human Lyme cases and corresponding deer populations, it has more to do with the deer enabling the expansion of the tick population than the transmission of the bacteria. Mice and ground squirrels, both of which are common hosts for both ticks and the bacteria, are much more likely to bring infected ticks into human contact (…just in case you were looking for another reason to avoid rodents!)

There are a lot of intriguing facts and misperceptions about which animals do or don’t contribute to Lyme risk. And more research is being done to evaluate exactly which layers of the food chain have the greatest impact in the proliferation or containment of the ticks and the bacteria. Here’s what we know now…

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Awards Grant to Harvard Medical School Researchers for Development of an Accurate Test for Lyme Disease

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Awards Grant to Harvard Medical School Researchers for Development of an Accurate Test for Lyme Disease

2015 Emerging Leader Award Seeks to Accelerate Scientific Solutions for Lyme Disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading national nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research, today announced that the winners of its 2015 Emerging Leader Award, are collaborators Nira Pollock, MD, PhD, and John Branda, MD. The $100,000 grant that accompanies this award will support their research on a potential biomarker for Lyme disease, which may lead to the development of a novel urine test for early Lyme disease. The most commonly used diagnostic for Lyme disease, the two-tier serological ELISA/Western Blot process, misses up to 60% of cases of early stage Lyme.

It’s Tick Season … Keeping You and Your Pet Safe from Lyme Disease

Dr William St Lawrence_headshotGuest blog by Dr. William St. Lawrence, Village Square Veterinarian, Portola Valley Village Square

May is Lyme Awareness month but it is only the beginning of peak season in the Bay Area for the troublesome nymphal blacklegged ticks that can carry Lyme disease. As we come to the final days of the month, it is not time to let down your guard.

In this guest post, popular local veterinarian Dr. William St. Lawrence shares some important facts about keeping you and your pets safe for the rest of this spring and early summer.

LymeAid Brings Celebrities and Scientists Together To Accelerate Medical Breathroughs for Lyme Disease

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s LymeAid Brings Celebrities and Scientists Together to Help Accelerate Medical Breakthroughs for Lyme Disease

David and Yolanda Foster, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Jane Seymour, and Elet Hall were among supporters to help combat the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA — On Sunday, May 17, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading national nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research, hosted more than 400 celebrities, philanthropists, and noteworthy scientists at the third annual LymeAid® gala. The benefit dinner and concert raised approximately $600,000, of which 100% will go directly to fund research for Lyme disease.  More than 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with this potentially debilitating disease each year. 

Spreading the Word About Ticks in California

Jo Ellis, Director of Education Outreach at Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Dan Salkeld, PhD, a foundation research scientist, lecturer at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and Professor at Colorado State University, recently attended the Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators (AEOE) conference in Marin County, CA to update naturalists and outdoor educators on Lyme disease and tick-bite prevention.

IMG_9088_640Here, Bay Area Lyme research scientist Dan Salkeld shows California naturalists how to drag for ticks at the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Educators annual conference.

Moose Under Threat

Ursula 3_156The following story was written by Ursula Jongebloed, a first-year Dartmouth College student who frequently leads trips in the Northeast with the Dartmouth Outing Club. Ursula is originally from Menlo Park, California, and has friends from all over the country who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease after being bitten by ticks during outdoor adventures.

Each year during winter term, the Dartmouth Outing Club leads a weekend outing to the Second College Grant, a 27,000-acre area of wilderness given to the college by the state of New Hampshire in 1807. On the last night of the trip, the thirty students gather around a wood stove in the center of a log cabin to listen to older members of the Dartmouth Outing Club speak. This year, the speaker was Kevin Evans, the Director of Woodlands Management for Dartmouth’s Second College Grant.

I Just Discovered a Tick Bite, Now What?

iPhoneTextI just found a tick on [Sam]. I pulled it out and it was still alive and I wonder if I should be worried about Lyme. He said it had been bothering him for a few days now. Yikes! Have you had this happen before? Should I take him to the doctor? Do you think he might have Lyme disease???

A few weeks ago at 9:30 pm one evening, I received the above text from a good friend who had discovered a tick on her eight-year old son’s neck just under his hairline and wasn’t sure if she should be rushing straight to the ER. The area around the bite had become quite red and irritated and the tick appeared to be engorged, though having never encountered a tick before and having hastily flushed the tick down the toilet after removing it (“nasty critter!”), my friend also could not be 100% certain it was in fact a “deer tick” (common name for the Lyme-carrying western blacklegged tick). Worse still, we had several mutual connections who had been recently diagnosed with Lyme after encountering infected ticks in the hills and woods of the Santa Cruz mountains, here on the San Francisco peninsula, so the fear was genuine.

Fight Lyme Disease. Spread the Word!!

Sarah Herbert_Backpack_250Recently we received this letter from a young Lyme sufferer who took the initiative and leveraged her frustration from battling Lyme disease and the hope that her recent diagnosis has now brought to create this powerful educational video about the disease and how to stay safe.

Sarah H. was diagnosed with Lyme in 2014 after battling the symptoms for more than 20 years without an accurate diagnosis. You can read more about her personal Lyme story here on our Faces of Lyme feature and see another of her prevention videos.