Tag Archives: Ticks

Bacterial Infections: Lyme Disease On The Rise

Lyme disease has infected more than 14% of the world’s population, according to a new study. “It’s significant,” says Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.

“If you look at the numbers and how it breaks down in regions across the United States, in some areas, that exceeds 50% seropositivity. That means people are walking around with antibodies in their blood that are detectable. That shows they’ve been exposed to Lyme disease at some point in their life,” says Dr. Pritt. “Now whether it was in the past and they’ve been successfully treated, or whether they have it right now, you can’t tell by that result, but it’s a marker of exposure.”


Lyme disease is high on every hard-to-diagnose disease list, because it is relatively uncommon, and can produce a variety of disturbing symptoms often classified as psychosomatic.

It is caused by a deer tick bacterial injection of the Borrelia genus, which can progress to cause widespread problems. Not every tick bite will inject the bacterium, and ticks that have been attached for less than 12 to 24 hours are unlikely to have done so.

Risk factors include living in a wooded area, particularly on the east coast. With people fleeing the cities in the wake of Covid, exposure is more common.

The NYT columnist, Ross Douthat wrote a book about his travails: “patient heal thyself“. In this day and age of overworked  doctors, and with the huge variety of medical information available online, more and more people are going on a “medical odyssey”.

A painless red swelling, followed by an expanding area of red(erythema migrants), is often the best medical clue. Flu-like symptoms and enlargement of the lymph glands can accompany the “rash”. Tests are not positive for several weeks, and may be negative if and when the late symptoms of Lyme disease develop.

The earlier you get treated with a 10-day course antibiotics, the better. The problem is that not all tick bites produce infection, and so overtreatment is a real possibility.

Late symptoms can include fatigue, mental symptoms arthritis, liver problems and a variety of other symptoms. Like another bacterial disease, syphilis, lyme disease can be the great mimic.

Prevention is paramount. People living in endemic areas should wear long sleeves and pants when they go out into the woods, use insect repellent , and make sure their animals are kept tick-free.

A DWWR article on Nootkatone may be worth your time to read, since DEET and many other insecticides are toxic and have to be used with care.

Please refer to the following article by the Mayo clinic for more organized information.

-Dr. C.

Dr. C’s Medicine Cabinet: Benefits Of “Nootkatone”

INSECTS are mainly pests. Except for the very commercially valuable Pollinators, Honeybees, the other useful insects, like ladybugs, dragonflies and spiders are beneficial because they eat other insects. It is very exciting, then, to hear about a pleasantly-smelling insect repellent that is quite harmless to Humans.

NOOTKATONE, after you get used to its ugly spelling, has an aromatic, Grapefruit-like smell. It was discovered while researching the CEDAR family. We all know of the association between Cedar and storage. One of my prized possessions was a Cedar chest for storing our families ski clothes.

Whenever I hear of a non-toxic chemical that repels and sometimes kills mosquitos, ticks, bedbugs and fleas, and yet is so harmless as to be used in perfumes, I like to hear of a proposed MECHANISM OF ACTION.

Nootkatone is thought to work by stimulating octopamine receptors, which insects use to make their muscles work. The muscles just keep on contracting and the insects die. The only problem is that Nootkatone is mainly a repellant, and a weaker insecticide.

Another good quality of Nootkatone is that the effect lasts several hours, in contrast to citronella and the other plant oils. Interestingly, the substance was isolated from grapefruit some 25 years ago, while looking for a repellant for the tick of Lyme disease.

Anaplasmosis and Rocky mountain spotted fever are 2 other tick-transmitted diseases present in America. Nootkatone is particularly effective against ticks, and is now EPA-approved.

–Dr. C.