Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lyme disease increases in DC area


Cases of Lyme disease are increasing in the Washington DC region, especially the suburbs, in a story in the Metro Section of the Washington Post today (April 8) by Ashley Halsey III, link here. The disease supposedly started in southern New England but has spread by ticks and deer around the East Coast. One major problem is that deer tend to run in suburban or at least exurban yards and farms. It reminds me of a time in the 1990s when, on a hike with some other people, we almost struck a deer on US 211 just after leaving Warrenton, VA when it jumped right onto the four lane highway.

The disease is treated with antibiotics like tetracycline, but requires long courses and tends to become stubborn. The long term symptoms include arthritic disease.

How many people will follow the "advice" of long sleeves and long pants everywhere, when biking, jogging, going to picnics? It's hardly realistic. You can't become a "pantywaste."

The newspaper article gives a diagram of the life cycle of the deer tick. It sounds like it came right out of high school biology class. Remember those tests when you had to describe a life cycle of an organism, or draw and label?

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