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Tick season again – Western North Dakotans see a rise in parasitic pests this year

Tick season again – Western North Dakotans see a rise in parasitic pests this year

Source: http://www.grandforksherald.com/outdoors/wildlife/3761495-tick-season-again-western-north-dakotans-see-rise-parasitic-pests-year

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK — Growing up in the area, John Heiser said he never saw as many wood ticks as he does now in the field.

These days, he said, he spots tons.

“There are more wood ticks now than I ever saw as a youngster,” Heiser said.

He is not alone. Many North Dakotans are already claiming this year’s tick season to be worse than previous years. It is reportedly easy to spot droves of them among the tall grass and in the woods, not to mention clinging to a person’s skin afterward.

Through latching onto and burrowing into a host’s skin, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and anaplasma. According to the North Dakota Department of Health’s Center for Disease Control, at least 24 cases of tick-borne illnesses were reported in the state in 2014, while none have been reported yet this year.

In a recent survey of a 300-yard swath of land, Heiser said he was able to spot 74 of the parasites on grass and branches. This doesn’t count the additional 48 he found on his clothes when he was finished.

“That’s a lot of wood ticks,” Heiser said.

He said he has a theory that this year’s mild winter, along with above-average temperatures in March and April, are linked to the ticks’ rise in population.

Jessie Evoniuk, a veterinarian at the State Avenue Veterinary Clinic in Dickinson, said she had noticed a higher rate of pets with tick issues this year.

“We have had more complaints of ticks, in general,” Evoniuk said.

She said the clinic began issuing tick protection to its four-legged clients in April, which includes collars and topical ointments. It all depends on the pet’s lifestyle and location, she said.

Jeb Williams, the wildlife chief of North Dakota Game and Fish, said he had personally noticed ticks were a little more intense this year, pulling a good amount of them off his clothes whenever he steps out in the brush. He said he’s heard others report the same.

“You just get those observations from people,” Williams said.

He added that ticks are noticeable, especially during turkey hunting season, which opens in April each year. But, Williams said, it’s “something that you just deal with.”

Williams said that ticks, no matter how prevalent, won’t stop sportsmen from enjoying the outdoors. He said recreative people are well-versed in examining their clothes for ticks at the end of the day, and that they just have to continue to “do a little extra checking.”

Michelle Feist of the North Dakota Center for Disease Control gave some tips for protecting against tick bites, including wearing long clothing to cover the arms and legs and tucking in the openings. Appropriate repellant is also a good idea, she said.

Feist said the northeast area of the state has been found to have a higher concentration of deer ticks, which are the main transmitters of Lyme disease.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health website, any tick bites should be disinfected with alcohol or other disinfectant before the tick is removed. One should place tweezers on the tick as close to the skin as possible, squeezing so as not to burst its juices onto the bite area. The tick should then be pulled slowly and without twisting so that the mouthparts do not break off.

Once removed, the bite should be disinfected again, and the tick should be disposed of safely by placing it in a container of alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

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The mystery surrounding Morgellons disease

Source: http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/the-mystery-surrounding-morgellons-disease
Those who suffer from the condition say symptoms include itchiness, fatigue and unusual skin fibers.

Those who suffer from Morgellons often say they feel alone and betrayed by a medical community that has dismissed their symptoms as nothing more than delusions. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Earlier this week, legendary singer Joni Mitchell was rushed to the hospital after fainting at her home in Bel Air, California. While still under observation by doctors, an update provided to fans said the 71-year-old is resting comfortably and that “she continues to improve and get stronger each day.”
What was not disclosed was the exact illness Mitchell is suffering from, leading to speculation that Morgellons disease, a health condition she’s spoken about in the past, might be responsible.
“I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space,” she told the LA Times in 2010. “Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral. Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer — a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year.”
If that sounds like something awful that deserves more attention from the medical community, there are others out there suffering from similar symptoms who share your concern. Doctors, however, are split on what exactly Morgellons is, with some believing it is psychosomatic and others believing it’s a real unexplained condition, or even possibly a complication related to tick-borne illnesses.
In a 2012 study on Morgellons, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defined the disease as “a poorly characterized constellation of symptoms, with the primary manifestations involving the skin.” After finding no parasites or mycobacteria, the panel concluded that the symptoms were not caused by an infection or environmental agent, but may be associated with what’s termed a “delusional infestation.” The skin fibers collected during the study were found to have come from “environmental sources,” mainly composed of cotton. In a separate summary, the CDC determined that it would not “be helpful to perform additional testing for infectious diseases as a potential cause.”
Researchers involved in studying both tick-borne diseases and Morgellons conducted their own study in 2013 on the mysterious filaments that contradicted the CDC’s findings. After collecting fibers from a group of four patients with classic Morgellons symptoms, they exposed the filaments under an electron microscope and discovered them to be “keratin and collagen in composition” and originating from within the epidermis. It’s interesting to note that all four patients had also previously tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, a causative agent of Lyme disease.
Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who specializes in itches affecting the body, told the Guardian that whatever Morgellons is, those who have it are experiencing true discomfort.
“In my experience, Morgellons patients are doing the best they can to make sense of symptoms that are real. They’re suffering from a chronic itch disorder that’s undiagnosed. They have been maltreated by the medical establishment. And you are welcome to quote me on that,” she said.
As for Joni Mitchell, while it’s as-yet unclear whether Morgellons is responsible for her current condition, she has said in the past that she fully intends to do more to raise awareness about the disease.
“I’m a polio survivor, so I know how conservative the medical body can be,” she added to the LA Times. “In America, the Morgellons is always diagnosed as ‘delusion of parasites,’ and they send you to a psychiatrist. I’m actually trying to get out of the music business to battle for Morgellons sufferers to receive the credibility that’s owed to them.”
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What are the Treatments for Morgellons Disease?

By: Joseph Lackey of livestrong.com

Patients with symptoms including persistent skin rashes and sores, accompanied with sensations of burning, stinging, biting or the feeling of crawling insects under the skin frequently diagnose themselves with Morgellons disease, usually after doing research on the Internet. However, the majority of doctors regard Morgellons as a manifestation of known medical conditions, most commonly delusional parasitosis, according to an article published in the “American Journal of Dermatopathology” in May 2010.

Treatment

Numerous and diverse causal factors have been linked with Morgellons disease, including bacteria and parasites, as well as purely psychological factors, emphasizing the necessity for tailoring treatment programs toward the specific needs of each individual patient following physiological, dermatological and psychological assessments, according to the Morgellons Research Foundation.

Source: livestrong.com

Doctor researches Morgellons and finds a cure

 
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