URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/podcast/transcript091018.html

To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Rise in tickborne illnesses: 09/10/2018

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health-oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

Illnesses from ticks present a growing threat to individual and public health in the U.S., suggests an interesting perspective recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Specifically, the authors (from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) explain (and we quote): 'the public health burden of tickborne pathogens is considerably underestimated. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) reports approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease per year but estimates that the true incidence is 10 times that number' (end of quote).

The perspective's four authors add the incidence of tickborne viral infections are rising, which could result in increases in serious illnesses and deaths.

The authors suggest there are three barriers to progress to counter tickborne illnesses. First, the authors note there are limitations in tick diagnostic, surveillance, and reporting systems that currently make it difficult to assess how many Americans have tickborne illnesses.

Second, the authors write (and we quote): 'Diagnostic utility is affected by variability among laboratories, timing of specimen collection, suboptimal sensitivity during early infection…' (end of quote). The authors explain other related problems include the current inability of a test to identify co-infections as well as distinguish current from past infections.

Third, the perspective's authors emphasize (and we quote): "The biggest gap… is in vaccines; there are no licensed vaccines for humans targeting any U.S. tickborne pathogen' (end of quote).

The authors conclude (and we quote): 'The burden of tickborne disease seems likely to continue to grow substantially' (end of quote). The authors suggest public health and biomedical researchers accelerate current efforts to address the threat of tickborne illness.

In the interim, the authors suggest that physicians and public health workers remind us (and we quote)…'To use insect repellent and wear long pants when walking in the woods or tending their gardens — and check …for ticks when (you) are done' (end of quote).

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides an overview of tickborne diseases in the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's tick bites health topic page.

The CDC explains how to remove ticks in the 'treatments and therapies' section of MedlinePlus.gov's tick bites health topic page.

Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles about tick bites are available in the 'journal articles' section of MedlinePlus.gov's tick bites health topic page. Links to relevant clinical trials that may be occurring in your area also are available in the 'clinical trials' section.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's tick bites health topic page, please type 'tick bites' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'tick bites (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also contains health topic pages on Lyme disease as well as insect bites and stings.

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It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!