Tick Talk May 15
Camden — May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, and the Camden Public Library will again host Lyme disease specialist Dr. Bea Szantyr Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m.
Dr. Szantyr’s Tick Talk is an informative look at ticks, the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease, the incidence of Lyme disease in Maine, the difficulties of medical diagnosis, and steps to take to protect oneself and their family.
The national Center for Disease Control notes that Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States. However this disease does not occur nationwide and is concentrated heavily in the northeast and upper Midwest. In 2012 the CDC reported that Maine has an incidence of 66.6 cases per 100,000 population, the highest infection rate in the nation, followed by Vermont at 61.7.
The Maine State CDC reports that the state case rate for Lyme disease in Maine reached a record high in 2013 at 103.6 cases per 100,000 persons. There were eight counties with rates of Lyme higher than the state rate (Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York).
“Untreated infections can lead to clinical findings in skeletal, cardiac, and nervous systems,” the CDC reports. “Disseminated manifestations of disease include: arthritis characterized by recurrent, brief attacks of joint swelling; lymphocytic meningitis; cranial neuritis (such as Bell’s palsy); encephalitis; and second or third degree atrioventricular block.” Other diseases also carried by ticks include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, powassan, and spotted fever rickettsiosis.