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sponsored by the Butte County Health
Department and Enloe Medical Center.
MITCHELL - Staff Writer
Distribution of Ticks in the United States - CDC Maps 2012
County is one of five places where most of California's Lyme disease has been
reported lately, Kaiser Dr. Chinh Le pointed out.....
well to antibiotics
Enterprise-Record (Chico, CA) - Thursday, April 6, 2000
Lyme disease shouldn't
scare Northern Californians, an expert on infectious diseases said in
Chico on Wednesday.
Butte County is one of five places where most of California's Lyme disease has been
reported lately, Dr. Chinh Le pointed out during a lecture to local
should be able to protect themselves against the disease , caused
by the bite of certain ticks, he said. And even if they should get the
illness, only rarely is it impossible
Le, a Santa
Rosa physician who has worked on Lyme disease for the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
was guest speaker at a noon
He spoke to
more than 100 health professionals at Enloe's Esplanade
cases of Lyme disease almost
always respond well to antibiotics. And he said almost all chronic
cases can be cured, also. He suggested some
who think they have chronic Lyme may in
fact have other ailments, and they should explore that possibility.
Le is chair
for infectious diseases at Kaiser Medical
Center in Santa Rosa. Sonoma County and also Butte, Humboldt, Mendocino
and San Diego counties have reported
most of the state's Lyme disease cases over
the last few years. Butte County leads the state, with 89 cases since
1996. Humboldt is second, with 60 cases
in that period, followed by Sonoma with 54, San Diego with 32 and
Mendocino with 29.
County tops the list because of a "spike" of 53 cases reported in
1997. Since then, the numbers have tapered off.
Thirteen cases were reported in 1998, and 18 were reported last year.
So far, one case has been reported this year. This pattern
repeats what's been seen in other north-state counties where Lyme disease
is moderately common, Le said. People will suddenly become aware of Lyme disease , and a
bunch of chronic cases will be diagnosed, he said. In following years,
the numbers taper off.
Le and Dr.
Mark Lundberg, Butte County's health officer, noted chronic Lyme disease remains
controversial. Lundberg said local physicians feel compassion for those
who believe they have chronic Lyme
. They also feel frustrated at being unable to help many of these
patients. Most of the cases reported in Butte County
have been chronic - that is, patients have suffered symptoms for a
number of years before being diagnosed with Lyme disease . Lundberg
noted most local cases have been reported by a few doctors.
chronic Lyme , Le said
although the Lyme
bacterium can be tenacious, he doesn't believe it can survive
onslaughts of antibiotics lasting several months. It shouldn't
be necessary for patients to take antibiotics for a year, or years, he
said. He said in rare cases true chronic Lyme turns into
an auto-immune disorder, which keeps the patient feeling ill.
other cases, people who believe they have chronic Lyme probably
have some other ailment that ought to be addressed, he said. It's a
disservice if health-care providers keep
focusing on Lyme , when the
patient really may be suffering from multiple sclerosis or depression,
if someone has chronic Lyme should be
quite clear-cut, he said. Tests should turn up objective findings, such
as memory loss, neurologic impairment
and antibodies in the spinal fluid.
the Western black-legged tick, which can carry Lyme disease , is most
active. Le recommended taking precautions. If you go hiking in brushy,
grassy country, go at mid-day when
the ticks are less active, he said. Hike in the middle of the trail,
and wear light-colored clothing so it's easier to see
a tick if it gets on you. Repellent may be helpful, he said.
new vaccine, it appears to work, but long-term side effects
are unknown. For that reason, as well as the
expense, probably only those who are frequently in tick country should
consider being vaccinated, he said.
important to look for ticks after you've been out in nature and
remove them if you find them, he said. It's probably
useless to have a tick tested if you think it bit you. A tick has to be
imbedded in your body for at least 24 hours to transmit
. The best thing to do if you believe you've been bitten is watch for
symptoms, like the characteristic rash and a flu-like
illness, he said. Then, a few weeks of antibiotics will knock out the disease .
probably very safe in California," Le said. In the West, Lyme ticks live
in native grass and brush. In the East, they inhabit those areas and
also "suburban landscaping."