Articles, Blog

The Tick-Borne Diseases Epidemic: The Stony Brook Medicine Experience

December 31, 2019

>>So, vector borne diseases, those disease, infectious diseases that are associated with
insects and other vectors, are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality around the
world. You could simply go in your back yard on Long
Island and contract tick borne diseases. So, it’s one of the things, you don’t have
to travel, we have them right here on Long Island. So, in 1982 our scientist at Stony Brook University,
in collaboration with scientists at the National Institute of Health, made the absolutely groundbreaking
discovery that the causative agent of Lyme disease was a spirochete, this kind of curvy
bacteria associated with ticks. And they isolated this bacteria from ticks,
they were actually found on Shelter Island. So, there really is a very strong connection
with this. From that point on, our scientists also were
able to isolate the spirochetes from people who had Lyme disease, again, patients in Suffolk
County with Lyme disease, and isolated that and provided that first isolation, and then
helped develop the diagnostic test, as well as therapeutic regimens. Once you knew it was a spirochete, once you
knew it was borrelia, you knew the kind of antibiotics that were most likely to be affective
against this kind of organism. So, that changed the whole approach to Lyme
disease, basically, and really helped give it a cause and help give it a therapeutic
approach as well as a diagnosis.>>And New York State bears a totally disproportionate
burden of tick borne diseases in the United States. And we here bear a disproportionate burden
of tick borne diseases in the state. Since the early days of the Rocky Mountain
spotted fever, we now have five tick borne diseases that can be acquired in Suffolk County,
maybe there is even a sixth one or a seventh one that we don’t have a very clear idea about
yet. Cases of Lyme disease in Suffolk County, this
is for the last five years. They hover between 500 and 700. Don’t forget that these are the reported cases,
this is probably the tip of the iceberg. Lyme disease, as we mentioned, is mostly a
disease of children. As you can see from this age distribution. And, peculiarly, it’s also mostly a disease
of boys.>>But from 2016 to 2018, we have had more
than 500 referrals of Lyme disease and other tick borne disease. Not just for New York, but also from other
states, and even from other countries.>>And I just want to sort of shed some light
on what is actually happening in the lab, what do those tests constitute. This states there’s certainly no single test
that provides optimum clinical sensitivity and specificity. Requires several tests and a lot of good clinical
judgement.>>Lyme disease is preventable. I think we need to really understand the ticks,
but I think we need to really empower patients to know what they can do to prevent tick infections,
be that after you’re gardening or after you’re running outside, you throw your clothes in
the hot dryer for an hour, you do regular tick checks, recognizing what could be an
erythema migrans rash and knowing to bring that child to medical attention. So I think there’s a lot we can continue to
do within the community. ^E00:03:10

1 Comment

  • Reply NB protocol June 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Through a chain reaction “Lyme” disease shuts off the immune system, learn how this happens and how to fix that, then your immune system will start attacking the infection again.

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