I was very pleased to read the long piece concerning Lyme Disease in the July 22 Rappahannock News; this is a very dangerous and insidious disease and publishing information is vital to combatting it. There is still so much unknown about the spreading among animals, as well as the issue of humans contracting Lyme Disease, and I would like to take minor issue with statements concerning that as quoted to Dr. Whitehurst.
My son contracted a serious case of Lyme and my wife and I took up the cause to study and learn as much as possible about the disease in order to help him become well and get over the lingering effects. Probably the most comprehensive study of this subject has been written by Stephen Harrod Buhner in his book, “Healing Lyme,” published in 2005. For the sake of all those who may be able to avoid contracting Lyme disease, as well as for those who have already suffered with it, I would like to quote two paragraphs from his book concerning the issues of how it is spread among animals and how it can also be contracted by humans:
“To take it a bit further, when they are ‘starved,’ Lyme spirochetes undergo alterations in their physical form. They change into an encysted form from which they can emerge when conditions improve. Ninety-five percent of starved spirochetes can encyst within one minute of expression. These encysted forms have been shown to remain viable for as long as 10 months. Other types of spirochetes have been shown to be viable up to two and a half years after encysting. Lyme spirochetes in their encysted form have been shown to survive both freezing and thawing and still be capable of infecting test animals.
“Because of the constant urination of infected animals, these encysted forms of the organism liberally cover the soil and plants in areas where Lyme disease is endemic. Animals that then take these encysted forms inside themselves through browsing can be infected by viable spirochetes. Lyme spirochetes do live in the intestinal tract quite well and can spread from there throughout the body. Reconversion to motile forms begin within one hour though it has taken up to six weeks for full reconversion in some studies. There is significant potential for spirochete transmission in urine.
“Chilling enough for the animal world; for humans it only gets worse.
“Also, Lyme spirochetes are masters of collagen tissues — they travel through them easier than they do through blood. Transmission via semen into and then through vaginal tissues is something that is exceptionally easy for Lyme spirochetes. While no one has examined this in detail, studies have found that rates of infection among married couples is significantly higher than statistical averages would indicate. It has been assumed that this occurs because both people live in a similar tick-heavy environment. Assumptions like that are dangerous in these kinds of situations.”
Now take a deep breath, if you can, and ask yourself exactly what are we up against? Education about Lyme disease is the only answer, the only way to fight it and beat it. My son is well now, thankfully, after a full year of struggle and heavy doses of antibiotics; and he gets regular laser treatments along with acupuncture to deal with the after effects. Since we all seem to live in this “tick-heavy environment,” I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has the time or inclination to read it. And please keep the discussion alive in the Rappahannock News so that everyone can become educated about Lyme Disease.