Regarding “This tiny bug is at the root of a big controversy over Lyme disease” [Sept. 16]: I am a registered nurse who has suffered the effects of post-tick-bite Lyme disease. Despite being treated, progressive signs of Lyme disease persist. Something that most doctors and the general population do not know about tick bites is that a tick carries other infectious diseases simultaneously. A single bite can cause a myriad of infections that may not be responsive to the traditional tick-bite antibiotics.
Thomas Platts-Mills, a noted tick-bite researcher at the University of Virginia, and his colleagues are working to determine why certain individuals who have been bitten by ticks and treated for Lyme disease develop an allergic reaction to beef and pork that can cause an anaphylactic reaction necessitating emergency treatment. Researchers are finding that many viruses can affect one’s DNA post-infection.
Janine Goldsmith, Manassas
Have the author and her daughter been tested for alpha-gal allergy?
I had tick-bite-related symptoms similar to what the author described in the article. Then I learned about how tick bites can induce alpha-gal allergy.
I was a vaccine senior scientist (FDA and NIH). Alpha gal [in which a tick bite can induce a reaction to red meat and dairy products that in severe cases causes anaphylactic shock and even death] could easily have been missed by doctors.
Frank A. Robey, Bethesda
My daughter had lost 20 pounds and suffered from nausea, joint pain, dizziness and flulike symptoms.
After two trips to the top disease specialists at Johns Hopkins and several blood tests that came back negative for Lyme, she happened to accompany me to a veterinary appointment for my dog. I explained what was going on with my daughter to the veterinarian. He said that the type of blood test they did for Lyme disease would not come back positive until the disease had progressed to the later stages.
My daughter finally saw a Lyme specialist, who said there is only one lab in the United States that can detect Lyme in the early stages.
The doctor also tested for the co-infections of Babesia and Erlichia, which, if present, must be treated prior to treating Lyme disease; otherwise, the antibiotic for Lyme will not be effective. It turned out that my daughter tested positive for these two co-infections as well as for Lyme disease. (Babesia is a relative of malaria.)
She had terrible brain fogs, headaches and heart palpitations. Many of the people in my daughter’s Lyme disease support group had been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia. It took her almost two years to get back to normal, and even now, years later, her memory is not as good as it once was.
Janet Hannsz, Queenstown, Md.