Stuff I’ve been tested for and WHY 05/08/2012Posted by thetickthatbitme in Diagnosis, TBI Facts, Whole Person.
Tags: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia, Bartonella, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, food poisoning, health, labs, Lyme Disease, medicine, pets, Quest Diagnostics, ticks
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I apologize for the inconsistent posting lately; it’s been a busy couple weeks. No tick-lit today, so I’ll owe you some later in the week!
Tonight’s question: How did my doctor find 3 crazy infections that five other doctors missed? (One of which went undiagnosed for 7 years!)
Answer: He sent me to get tested for a whole lot of stuff.
How did he know what to order? He considered my risk factors and exposure to disease vectors (like ticks and pets). Is it important for your doctor to know if you’ve been out of the country? If you used to live in another state? If you have pets? If you hike or camp? If you’ve had food poisoning? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!
Below, rather than listing the name of each disease/infection I was tested for, I’ve listed the names of the tests as they appear in my lab reports from Quest Diagnostics. (No, Quest did not pay me to mention their name. I just happen to like them, since they’re always nice to me and their tests helped find my infections.) They’re sorted according to why my doctor thought to order them.
DISCLAIMER: Just because I’ve been tested for something doesn’t mean that you need to be. Only you and your doctor can decide what you should be tested for based on your history, risk factors, and symptoms.
Borrelia hermsii AB IFA
Ehrlichia chaffeensis IFA
Lyme Disease Antibody (IgG/IgM) Western Blot
WA1 (Babesia duncani) IgG Antibody, IFA
Babesia microti Antibody IgG/IgM
Bartonella Species Antibody test w/reflex (FYI: One of my cats has tested positive for Bartonella, but I was negative. He’s never scratched or bitten me, but I have been bitten by a different cat.)
Toxoplasma IgG Antibody
Toxocara Antibody, ELISA (serum)
Having food poisoning in Mexico and China
Entamoeba histolytica IgG, ELISA
Giardia lamblia AB Panel, IFA
Helicobacter pylori breath test
Salmonella and Shigella Culture (this was not fun, but I’m glad they were negative)
Immunoblobulins G, A, and M (to see if I was deficient, as this would affect the results of antibody tests and would mean I might need additional treatment, like IVIG—luckily I was not deficient)
CBC (to see if I was low on any particular kinds of blood cells, which might indicate an infection)
Questions? Feel free to comment/e-mail. For whatever reason, I seem to enjoy discussing labs.
This Season’s Ticking Bomb – WSJ.com 04/19/2012Posted by thetickthatbitme in Media.
Tags: Borrelia, CDC, hiking, infection, Lyme, pets, prevention, tick, tick-borne, Wall Street Journal
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Looking forward to spring? I’ve really been enjoying the extra daylight and walks with my dog, Lucy, after dinner, and it was so nice on Easter to be able to wear a dress without my legs getting cold!
Nice weather, however, comes at a price. An article published last month in the Wall Street Journal explains how warming weather will contribute to an increase in tick population (and likely an increase in the number of tick-borne infections) this spring. You can (and should) read the full article here.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about a study the Centers for Disease Control are doing:
The CDC is conducting the first study of its kind to determine whether spraying the yard for ticks can not only kill pests, but also reduce human disease. Participating households agreed to be randomly assigned a single spray with a common pesticide, bifenthrin, or one that contained water, without knowing which they would receive.
Paul Mead, chief of epidemiology and surveillance activity at CDC’s bacterial-illness branch, says preliminary results from about 1,500 households indicate that a spray reduced the tick population by 60%.
“But there was far less of a reduction in tick encounters and illness,” indicating that even a sharp drop in tick populations leaves infected ones behind. “We may have to completely wipe out ticks to get an effect on human illness,” he says. The CDC is enrolling households for a second arm of the study and expects final results late in the fall. Organic repellents such as Alaska cedar are also being tested in other studies.
The article includes an interactive graphic with some suggestions for how to avoid tick bites in your backyard:
- Store firewood and bird feeders (birds carry ticks too!) away from the house.
- Keep leaves raked and grass mown.
- Restrict use of plants that may attract deer.
- Keep pets away from wood (and woods) and use tick repellant.
- Use decks, tile, and gravel close to the house.
- Seal up any holes in stone walls that mice might want to nest in. (And make sure your house is rodent-free!)
- Shower immediately after spending time outdoors in possibly tick-infested areas.
- Wash and dry clothing worn for hiking or golfing at high temperatures.
I’ve been trying a natural, non-toxic flea and tick repellant on Lucy (and myself) that’s made from cedar oil. What will you be doing this spring to avoid ticks (and thereby tick bites)?