[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[at-l] Another spin on the Lyme Report

This was sent in the current BPL digest. I thought others might like the 
additional details of the study. We still lack information on the methods 
and some definitions. I suggest all take very deep breaths before reacting 
to this news until we can figure out what it really means.


Fwd: [BackpackingLight] Digest Number 2016
>Message: 23
>    Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 00:29:45 EDT
>    From: davitgo@aol.com
>This news might come in handy.
>Sheila H.
>Pills Can Ward Off Lyme Disease
>.c The Associated Press
>BOSTON (June 12) - For the first time, doctors have shown that a quick dose
>of antibiotics can ward off Lyme disease after a tick bite, but they caution
>against overusing the treatment.
>Some physicians already give antibiotics to people who are bitten by deer
>ticks, the bugs that spread Lyme disease. However, many experts oppose this,
>because there has been no clear evidence the treatment actually prevents the
>disease, even though antibiotics can clear up Lyme disease once it occurs.
>Now there is proof the approach works. A study conducted in New York's
>Westchester County, where Lyme disease is common, found that just two pills
>of doxycycline are highly effective if given within three days of a bite.
>''Ours is the first study to show that Lyme disease can be prevented after a
>tick bite,'' said the study's chief author, Dr. Robert B. Nadelman of New
>York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y.
>The study, to be published in the July 12 issue of the New England Journal of
>Medicine, was released on the journal's Web site early Tuesday because of its
>About 15,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually in the United
>States, mostly in the Northeast from Maine to Maryland; the Midwest in
>Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the West in northern California and Oregon.
>While confirming the effectiveness of so-called prophylactic antibiotics, the
>study also shows that even in a Lyme-infested area, deer tick bites rarely
>result in infection. In fact, only nymphal stage bugs filled with blood posed
>a risk.
>The latest study involved 482 people who had removed an Ixodes scapularis
>tick - the deer tick - from their bodies within the previous 72 hours and
>brought it with them to the doctor for identification. They were randomly
>given either a 200-milligram dose of doxycycline or dummy pills.
>The antibiotic was 87 percent effective at preventing Lyme disease, even
>though the overall risk was low, just 3 percent among those getting the dummy
>pills. This means it would be necessary to treat about 40 people to prevent
>one case of Lyme disease.
>Still, Nadelman said it may make sense to treat people if they are bitten by
>a blood-filled nymphal stage deer tick in an area where Lyme disease is
>Deer ticks go through three stages. Larval stage ticks have six legs, while
>nymphal and adult ticks have eight. An unfed nymphal tick is the size of a
>poppy seed and an adult the size of a sesame seed. Nymphal ticks exist in
>most places only from May through July.
>Lyme disease causes fatigue, fever and joint pain that can persist for weeks,
>and some patients develop severe arthritis. Lyme also can badly damage the
>heart and nervous system if it goes untreated by antibiotics.
>Signs include rash and flulike symptoms. Daily tick checks, vaccinations and
>insect repellent are recommended as preventive measures.
>The idea of giving antibiotics to tick bite victims even before they show
>signs of Lyme disease has long been controversial. Last year, the Infectious
>Diseases Society of America released guidelines saying this should not be
>done routinely.
>''Guidelines are made to be revised and revisited,'' said Nadelman, who
>helped draw up last year's recommendations.
>However, he said doctors should use antibiotics judiciously, because the
>medicine can cause nausea, especially if taken on an empty stomach.
>''The danger is whether it will be used in situations where there is a very
>low chance of someone having Lyme disease,'' said Dr. Alan Barbour of the
>University of California at Irvine. ''People hear about this and ask their
>doctor, and the doctor is more likely than not to go along with their
>Barbour said doctors should be taught in medical school how to identify deer
>ticks. Some confuse them with other creatures, such as tiny spiders, lice and
>other more common kinds of ticks.
>Most people who get Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, although
>occasionally people have lingering symptoms. Other research in the journal
>from Dr. Mark S. Klempner of Boston University School of Medicine found that
>prolonged antibiotic treatment is ineffective against this condition.
>  AP-NY-06-12-01 1701EDT
>Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news
>report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed
>without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active
>hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.