Lyme Disease

God's faithful children are frequently to be found in country locations, and this is as It should be. Far from the wickedness of the large cities, they are raising their children for heaven and seeking to live godly lives. We are thankful that there are still rural areas where we can live - many of them. And we encourage those who would maintain spiritual purity in these last days to go where God's Inspired Word has counseled them to live: retired country areas.

This brief study has been prepared to provide you with information about a relatively newly-discovered disease that has become significant enough to deserve your attention. It is called Lyme disease.

Although rapidly increasing, it is still new enough that its symptoms are not always diagnosed correctly. Therefore we are providing you with a special tract on this health problem. If you reside in a rural area that has any deer population-then you will want to read this article carefully. If you have loved ones that live in such an area, send them a copy of this article. Additional copies are available from this publisher.

There are various diseases that can be contracted by going out-of-doors. This would include encephalitis, a potentially serious Inflammation of the brain that is transmitted by a virus from mosquitoes in the upper Midwest and in Florida. In the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere in the Central and Eastern States, ticks are still carrying the disease known as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This disease was once thought to be limited to the Rockies, but has now been found as far east as the Atlantic Coast. Even in unspoiled mountain wildernesses, drinking stream water can give hikers Giardia, a microscopic intestinal parasite.

And now there is Lyme disease. To date, It has occurred In 24 states in America, although about 90 percent of the bases occur in just seven of them: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Clusters of cases have been diagnosed as far south as Georgia and Texas and as far west as California. The disease is clearly spreading. In 1984 there were 1,498 cases; in 1983 only 599; in 1980 only 226. Since doctors are not required to report the cases they treat-and since very often it Is not diagnosed correctly, -the above figures are only a fraction of the real number of cases.

The most Instances of Lyme disease occur in those localities where there is a significant deer population close to where people live. In the Northeast, the houses have lots of brush and woods around them and they are located close enough that it would be dangerous to shoot the multiplying deer in order to lower their numbers.

There is a small tick that likes to feed on these deer. This small tick has been assigned the name, Ixodes dammini, after Dr. Gustave Dammin, who later caught Lyme disease. It carries very small spirochetes-type bacteria, called Borrella Burgdorfer. For some strange reason, this deer tick does not infect deer with the disease, but when it gets on people, they become so infected.

Like so many suburban homes In the Northeast, the fields around Polly Murray's house in Lyme, Connecticut, had grown up to brush and trees by the 1970s. White-tailed deer had made a comeback there also, and Mrs. Murray enjoyed watching them from the windows of her home. But, at the same time, there was a problem in Lyme. More than a dozen years earlier, her family began suffering from an unexplained Illness. She herself had been hospitalized for skin problems, fever, and arthritic problems in her neck, jaw and various Joints. For a time, one of her sons became paralyzed in his facial muscles and developed joint swelling. The doctors told her he had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

But this did not satisfy Polly Murray. She went to the library and began studying technical literature. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she discovered, was both rare and noninfectious, yet, from what she had been told, her entire family was coming down with it! Keeping careful records for eight years, she discovered that more than 30 of her neighbors appeared to have the same problems. She repeatedly telephoned Massachusetts State medical authorities to report her findings and request an Investigation. Soon, Judith Mensch, another resident of Lyme, began reporting her findings to state health authorities also.

But the health experts were not interested. The rheumatologists did not want to bother with skin rashes, and the dermatologists did not want to consider swollen joints. Eventually, Dr. Allen Steere, a Yale Medical School teacher, became Interested In the case, Interviewed affected people in Lyme, -and "Lyme disease" was finally discovered. it was named after Lyme, Massachusetts, where It was first recognized as being a separate disease.

Those he Interviewed In Lyme told him that frequently they would first get a reddish, bulls-eye-type skin rash before feeling ill. Some of them had saved the ticks that had bitten them and started the rash. Soon Steere directly connected the disease to the deer ticks. Lyme disease, Steere found, had been first described in Europe as early as 1909.

By now other researchers began to work on the problem. Dr. Andrew Spielman, Harvard medical entomologist, identified and named the tick species (Ixodes dammini), and in 1981, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, while looking through a microscope trying to identify organisms that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, discovered In a Long Island tick the spiral-shaped filament-like bacteria (spirochetes) which cause Lyme disease: Borrelia burgdorfer.

Still more researchers set to work to investigate Lyme disease. They found that dogs as well as humans can contract this syndrome, and that migrating birds are carrying it Into the Southern states.

Lyme disease is now known to exist in at least 19 countries, including France, Sweden, Italy, the USSR, and Australia. No one knows where it started, although the first reported case in the United States seems to have been in 1962 on Cape Cod In Massachusetts. It is thought that it arrived on ships from Europe in the mid-twentieth century.

The microscopic spirochetes, which cause the disease, are not able to get into animals or man by themselves. They must be injected by the deer ticks. These ticks themselves grow through several stages before reaching maturity. From larvae ("seed ticks") they become nymphs, and then adults able to reproduce. At each stage, they need one blood meal, for a total of three meals during their two-year life. The larvae generally feed on white-footed mice. The nymphs, which are very small, feed on mice, birds or humans. When they become adult, they primarily feed on white-tailed deer, although any other warm-blooded animal, Including people, will do. If the host animal already has the infection within him, he then transmits the disease to the tick, which In turn transmits it to its next blood source, although mice, deer, and most other animals are not affected by Lyme disease.

The deer tick itself Is often very small when it Infects a person with Lyme disease. The female deer tick has a rounded black spot over nearly all of its upper back. The lower back and sides are reddish or reddish brown. The adult females are about half the size of the ticks commonly found on dogs and have this fringe of scarlet around their hind parts. The adult males are all black and smaller.

The immature ticks, the nymphs and larvae, are not much larger than the period at the end of this sentence. They are the primary transmitters of the disease. And even when full-grown, this Xodes dammini tick is only half the size of regular wood ticks -the kind you most frequently see.

Remember this: If the deer tick does not bite you; you do not get the disease. (It is now known that there is another tick that can also impart Lyme disease, but it is not very widespread.)

My advice would be to get the deer off your property. If necessary, discharge a gun occasionally into the air in the early morning and/or evening when they come out to obtain water and feed in nearby meadows and gardens. We do not wish to kill animals, but we do want to frighten away the deer that bring the ticks. The present writer knows from personal experience that deer are smart enough to congregate more heavily in those areas of the countryside where hunting is never permitted. An occasional gun discharge into the air will warn them to find a home elsewhere.

If you have deer in your area especially if you have a sizable number of deer in your area, -stay on the roads and main paths and out of the woods and fields during tick season, which is late spring and summertime.

After working in the woods or fields, inspect your skin, every square inch of It. Even if an Infected tick bites you (and, In the Northeast at least, about halt of the deer ticks are already known to be infected), you would have only a few hours to remove it before the disease entered your bloodstream.

Deer also enter gardens and feed there. Organic gardeners know that a product called bloodmeal (dried blood from a slaughterhouse) may be sprinkled here and there at the edges of a garden or field and deer will not enter it. Of course, the application should be renewed occasionally, especially after heavy rainfall. (Because of Mad Cow this is no longer safe)

Now let us consider more closely the disease itself. Here are some examples:

A couple weeks after cutting grass at his summer home In Ipswich, Massachusetts, William Shurcliff of Harvard University began feeling odd. First he became so cold that he was shivering. Then he felt "awful" all over, as if he were coming down with the flu. Soon he began to feel so hot that he began to sweat. Leaving his office at Harvard, he went home and became so drowsy that he could hardly keep his eyes open. He noticed that there was a skin rash near his elbow. (That was where the deer tick had bitten him.) He decided to take some antibiotic tablets, and soon the infection disappeared. But next month, in August, he felt tiny intermittent pains in his muscles. In September, his heart was found to be beating Irregularly. That fall and winter his physical problems became more severe. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, his heart would begin hammering within his chest, as If he had just climbed steep stairs. He had chronic intestinal gas, and was losing weight. Different remedies were tried, all without success. These Included dietary changes, rest and more antibiotics.

Blood tests were ambiguous, but the irregularities with his heart fitted a pattern that is one of Lyme's known long-term effects. He entered a hospital where heavy doses of antibiotics -were given to him. (We are not here recommending antibiotics, but rather telling his story.)

At the present time, Shurcliff Is doing better, but he stays away from the fields, brush, and woods during the peak of the tick season, which is summertime (May through July In Massachusetts; through September further South).

A New York surgeon was paralyzed in both arms by Lyme disease. After several years of therapy he has recovered 90 percent of the use of his arms. Pregnant women have been found to pass the Lyme disease spirochete to their unborn babies. A few of these fetuses have died or become deformed, although it is not yet known whether the spirochete was a the cause of their death or deformation, since so many mothers are taking harmful drugs nowadays. Lyme disease is hardly ever fatal, although this has now occurred. In 1985, a man from Nantucket died of a sudden heart failure from pancarditis, or spirochete involvement throughout the heart muscle.

One of the problems in correctly diagnosing this Infection is that in perhaps 25 percent of the Lyme disease cases, the skin rash falls to appear. Thus, these victims might not then-or ever-realize why they are having these physical problems.

Some people do not get Lyme's disease, even though bitten by the deer tick. It appears that they have a stronger Immune system. Perhaps better food, better living, and the avoidance of those plagues of modern civilization (denatured, synthetic, sugared foods, and poisons, such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol) help them resist it. This we do not know.

But the majority of those who do contract it soon develop the reddish skin rash along with other first-stage symptoms, Including headaches, fever, chills, drowsiness, aches and a flulike or meningitis-like condition.

The second-stage effects are meningitis, paralysis or cardiac irreularitles.

The third-stage effects usually include arthritis, but occasionally chronic skin disease or neurological disorders. Constant fatigue and lethargy make It Impossible for some people to continue on with their work.

The remedies used by the medical profession are prompt treatment with antibiotics as soon as the first-stage symptoms strike. What natural remedies should be used, we will leave to your own research. There Is an abundance of Information available on nutritional, herbal, and hydriatic remedies for sudden infectious problems.

The white-tailed deer, also called the Virginia deer has a prominent white patch under its tai, which it tins as it runs from you. It ranges in Eastern America from the Atlantic to the Rockies, and northwest and south of the Columbia River.

The mule deer is found from the Rockies westward to the West Coast, except in northwest California and western Oregon and Washington where the black-tailed deer is to be found.

Since the deer tick is found all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it probably infests all of the above deer, with the possible exception of the black tailed.

All ticks are parasites, living on blood obtained from animals. The bite of some ticks is poisonous, and some have caused paralysis. Ticks have a beak with strong teeth which are bent backward to help them hook onto and hold the one they are feeding upon. The female lays up to 5,000 eggs at a time, in dead leaves or other ground rubbish. These produce small six-legged ticks, called larvae or "seed ticks." After a blood meal from a passing animal, they swell up and molt, shedding their outer skin. Now they become eight egged nymphs which, after another meal, again swell and molt. This brings them into the real adult stage with eight legs. Some ticks drop to the ground for these changeovers; others remain on the animals.

Wood ticks are probably the most common. If pulled out, the toothed beak often breaks oft in the skin, frequently causing a festering sore. The best way to get rid of wood ticks is to drop gasoline, kerosene, or something similar on them. Then they will unhook and come out easily.

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