Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lyme Article, accuracy and ticks in SLO County

Here is the link to article I wrote in The Tribune last week

My statistic "A recent study found one in four ticks in Poly Canyon to be carrying the Lyme bacteria" was based on something I heard at the last support group meeting. Even as I was sending the article in, I made a note to myself to get a copy of the study. The day the article came out I was questioned about the study by a guy who turned out to be a science writer for the Smithsonian magazine and the epidemiologist at Public Health. When I found the study I realized that I had misquoted it in three different ways! The study was done in 2004 on rodents in Poly canyon and four other central coast locations and found 1 in 4 rodents to be carrying the bacteria Borrellia bissettii, not B. burgdorferi. The author of the study says that the question of whether or not B. bissettii is responsible for the transmission of disease in humans is unanswered at this point.

Original study link:

I want to underscore the need to follow up on anything you hear at a support group meeting or anywhere else before you pass this info on, particularly for any sort of publication. There is so much misinformation on LD that it is incumbent on those of us trying to educate people to be very accurate with our facts.

Sheila helped me with some excellent research and was able to find an interview last month with a medical epidemiologist, Dr. Robert Lane, who along with other researchers, has been attempting to determine if B. bissetti sporadically infects people in California. They suspect it does for the reasons he mentions in his interview here :

Anyway, I wrote a correction to the paper, not sure if they will publish it yet. It was a good lesson and actually ended up educating Sheila and I about B. bissettii. We need to keep an eye on this research, because of its huge implications for LD on the central coast.

Be sure to check your facts!

1 comment:

  1. Marla as I mentioned, your motive is pure and that is to prevent others from the suffering endured from this mess.

    I have to tell you that I was fuming when I read Penny Borenstein's article following yours. It was very frustrating to read that "many laboratories can accurately test for the presence of Lyme". If that were the case, than I wouldn't have Late Lyme! Lyme titers don't cut it...