A visiting physician to Martha’s Vineyard shared her findings of Lyme Disease, diagnosis, treatment and its effect to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital physicians and members of the public. As research is conducted and results are studied, the doctor’s doing the work learn a great deal more information that can be disseminated around the medical community immediately. It is important for areas that suffer high numbers of Lyme disease (like Massachusetts) to learn this information as quickly as possible for helping more patients.
Dr. Nevena Zubcevik joked with the physicians at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital that she would have preferred to present the information via Skype because of the large number of ticks in the area. For an hour, Dr. Zubcevik shared a great deal of new information related to Lyme disease, mostly focused on the 10-15% who suffer from Post Treatment Lyme disease syndrome, commonly referred to as Chronic Lyme. The information shared is a lot to grasp, but here are her top points as reported by MV Times:
- Sudden dementia symptoms should be a red flag for Lyme. Especially in people over 50 and those with compromised immune symptoms.
- Children present differently than adults, “71% of the time, headache is the most common symptom in children.” Mood, fatigue, and irritability are also signs in children.
- Studies have shown that a tick can give you Anaplasmosis after 15 minutes and Powassan virus after 10 minutes. The common belief that it takes a tick being attached for 48 hours for Lyme to be transmitted is outdated.
- Doxycycline (Lyme treatment) should be prescribed at 100-200 milligrams twice a day for 20 days. (Currently, tick bite patients might get 2 days as an insurance policy or 10 days if they are showing symptoms).
- There are 10 different strains of Lyme in the U.S. and many do not test positive on the traditional Lyme tests (Western blot or ELISA).
- She says “The bull’s eye rash only happens 20% of the time.” (The CDC still says it occurs in 70-80% of cases).
- Borrelia Miyamotoi presents challenges in that it does not test positive on either Lyme test and can spread rapidly because it is transmitted from mother to offspring, making nymph deer ticks a vector, spreading it to white-footed mice and other ticks from there.
- Doxycycline does NOT kill Borrelia burgdorferi. It stops the bacteria from replicating, and our bodies’ immune systems are responsible for killing the bacteria.
Dr. Zubcevik pushes tick prevention as the best form of protection. Dr. Zubcevik currently works with chronic Lyme patients at the Dean Center for Tick-Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation.
We are committed to providing you the best most up-to-date information on the threat of tick-borne diseases in Central Mass. Stay tuned for the latest on ticks in the area.