Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 2, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Ticks spread nasty diseases
By Helen Branswell
TORONTO — It’s time to talk about the lowly tick.
Unlovely, unnoticed, definitely unwanted, Ixodes scapularis rarely figures prominently in our thoughts.
Sure, the Lyme disease delivery boy got a lot of attention in the 1980s, when the hitherto unknown malady with its distinctive bull’s-eye rash barrelled into the North Amencan consciousness.
But the media and their public are fickle beasts. With anthrax-laced envelopes and West Nile bearing mosquitoes competing for attention, what’s a poor tick to do?
—Spreading previously unseen diseases into Canada seems a promising start.
—Infecting people with combinations of Lyme disease and one or two other diseases at the same time also seems noteworthy.
—Infecting people with diseases that make their way into the blood supply and sicken others via tainted transfusions probably merits renewed attention.
Deer ticks (also known as black-legged ticks) have done all that in Canada in the past couple of years. And with Environment Canada predicting this year’s unusually warm winter will lead to an increase in deer tick populations — and a spread of the turf held by infected deer ticks — it seems like an appropriate time to reconsider the tick.
David Crane, for one, has a healthy respect for the tick’s ability to turn a summer stroll into a medical nightmare.
Crane used to own a home on Nantucket. The island off the coast of Massachusetts — in fact the entire state — is a hot zone for ticks which carry Lyme disease.
(Not all ticks carry the disease. Trouble spots include but aren’t limited to Connecticut, New York state — especially Long
Island — and Michigan. Parts of southern Ontario, along Lake Erie, are home to infected tick populations as are regions of the Fraser delta, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island in B.C.
Crane knew about the problem and was tick conscious.
“We made it a habit, especially in the spring, never to go into tall grass and stuff like that. You don’t take short cuts to get to the beach,” he says. “You follow the established trail.”
But ticks are tricky. Young ticks, known as nymphs, are minuscule and easy to miss. They are also voracious blood suckers. Even though the Cranes were used to doing tick checks, he was bitten a few summers back.
Several weeks later, Crane was admitted to hospital. with alternating chills and sweats. Blood tests showed his red blood cells were bemg destroyed. Doctors were divided over what to blame — leukemia? malaria? — but concurred on one point.
“He was really sick,” says Dr. Kevin Kain, director of travel and tropical medicine at Toronto General Hospital. “He looked like he had leukemia or something catastrophic.
It turned out the tick that bit Crane was infected with both Lyme disease and babesiosis, a disease that had never before been diagnosed in Canada. Untreated, babesiosis can be fatal. In combination, it is at the very least nasty.
Fortunately for Crane, both diseases respond well to antibiotics.
Rain and some colleagues reported Canada’s first known case of babesiosis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
At the time, they hypothesized that if Crane, while infected, had been bitten by another tick, he could have begun the process of spreading babesiosis among ticks in Canada
They also theorized that if Crane had given blood while infected, people who got the blood products made from his donation could have developed babesiosis.
“And within a year bingo! We had our first case of babesiosis by blood transfusion,” Kain says.
The donor wasn’t Crane. A man who had been camping around Cape Cod had been bitten but had never developed symptoms — some people with strong immune systems don’t. Unaware that he was carrying the bug in his blood system, he gave blood six months later The woman who got it wasn’t as healthy; she came down with babesiosis.
Ticks can also convey Ehrlichiosis, a disease that resembles Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially fatal disease — also spread by ticks — that causes fevers, chills and muscle aches and which can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
The really impressive thing about ticks is that they can be infected with several diseases, and give each to its victims.
“One of any of them can make you sick. Multiples tend to make you sicker,” Rain warns.
So maybe it makes sense to keep your eyes out for ticks, especially if you are visiting wilderness areas where Lyme disease has been reported
“If you’re out in the country, you really do have to check each other over to make sure you haven’t got a tick sticking to you,” Crane says.
“If you’re going to stay in somebody’s cottage or these kinds of things, you should go onto the Web and get a basic pnmer on Lyme disease and ticks, because it’s not a pleasant disease.”
ON THE NET:
The Mayo Clinic’s Lyme disease fact sheet: http://www.may-oclinic.com/findinformation/diseasesandconditions/invo ke.cftn?idDS00116
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases guide to Lyme disease: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/publica-tions/lyme/default.htm
Diseases: Ticks can infect humans with a number of diseases, including Lyme, babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Only infected ticks spread diseases. U.S. Hot Zones: Mid-Atlantic, northeastern and midwestern states, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut. The U.S. sees about 15,000-20,000 cases of Lyme disease alone each year Hot Zones in Canada: Breeding populations of infected ticks are established in Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau Park along Lake Erie in southern Ontario, and in parts of the Fraser delta, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island in British Columbia. There have only been about 300 cases of Lyme disease in Canada in the last decade; figures are expected to rise as the infection spreads among tick populations.
Protection: Avoid walking in long grass or brushing against bushes in tick-infested areas. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Wear light coloured clothing so that ticks can be easily spotted. After walking outdoors. remove and check your body for ticks; check clothing as well.
Pets can carry ticks into a household; they should be checked for ticks regularly.
Finding a tick: Ticks can hang on to a human for three or four days, feeding the whole while, Finding them early is key; if removed within 24 hours they don’t generally have time to pass on diseases.
Removal technique: Don t squish a drinking tick. That will force blood — and bugs — back into your bloodstream. Position tweezers around the tick, getting as close to the skin and the point of contact as possible. Then pull straight back. Swab the area with an antiseptic. Quote: "The temptation when you find a tick is to grab it with your fingers and try to yank it. But what you do (if you do that) is to squeeze their body and you actually make them regurgitate whatever organisms they've got in them into you.”
Canadian forces launch ambitious operation
U.S. planes bomb Afghan village wedding
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — U.S. planes bombed a village in central Afghanistan yesterday as residents celebrated a wedding, killing and injuring scores of people in what could be one of the war on terrorism’s deadliest attacks on civilians.
Reports of the incident were conflicting.
In Florida, the US. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, said officials from the U.S. military, the Afghan government and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul would investigate the bombing. Journalists will be allowed to accompany the team.
Afghans said people in the village of Kakarak were firing weapons in the air to celebrate a wedding — as is common in rural Afghanistan —
when U.S. planes attacked in the early hours Monday. Estimates of the number killed ranged from dozens to more than IOO.
Early reports from Afghanistan suggested the U.S. attackers may have mistaken the celebratory fire for hostile fire, but Pentagon officials said they had not seen any information to support the idea that American planes had attacked a wedding party.
Central Command said the U.S. B-52 and AC-130 planes struck several ground targets, including anti-aircraft artillery sites that were firing at the American aircraft. It did not identify other targets nor say how many bombs were dropped. Nor did it explain how these attacks could have resulted in civilian casualties. — Associated Press
By Nam LAH Ayed
QALAT, Afghanistan — Canadian soldiers descended upon unexplored Afghan territory in the early hours of Canada Day in an ambitious terrorist hunt unlike any the coalition here has mounted to date.
More than 50 vehicles — including the Canadian Coyotes reconnaissance vehicles in their first opportunity to participate in an offensive combat operation here — snaked upon crumbled and sandy roads on the bone-rattling nine-hour trip from Kandahar to Qalat in the Zabul province bordering Pakistan.
Just a few hours later, at first light Monday, the Coyotes were on their way to a rendezvous with American Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters carrying dozens of Canadian soldiers of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry battle group to the edge of a mountain north of here.
It is the first combat mission the Canadians have participated in since May, the last time that it
was their turn to be on call for any operations the U.S.-commanded effort in the area requires.
The aim of the new complex mission, dubbed Operation Cherokee Sky, is to sweep a province which like other Afghan regions bordering Pakistan is reputed to be a transit point for
former Taliban and members of the al-Qaida terrorist network who have fled Afghanistan. The operation continues.
The U.S.-led anti-terrorist effort has yet to closely inspect this region for possible terrorists. The challenge is that while the coalition is convinced there’s a “considerable threat” of unseem
ly elements in the province, there was little intelligence available on the nature and size of that threat as the Canadian troops headed into the region.
“This is a uniquely Canadian operation in a unique environment — on Canada Day,” commanding officer Lt. Col. Pat Stogran said.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
Simply cut out the Co-op game piece published in The Brandon Sun. Co-op game pieces will be published Monday, Thursday and Saturday in the Brandon Sun. The completed game piece must be returned to any participating Heritage Co-op or Tempo Gas Bar locations to be eligible. Entries must be
submitted using an official Brandon Sun game
piece. A list of entry locations is listed on game piece.
Weekly prize draws - July 8,15, 22, 29, August 6, 12,19, 26. All eligible game pieces returned to participating Co op locations between July 2 and September 6th will be eligible for the grand prize draw to be made September 10, 2002. Entries must be made at the gas bar locations to win.
$50 in gas gift certificates and doubles to $100 if you are a 7 day Brandon Sun subscriber and have a Co op number.
Participating Hertiage Co-op Locations
646 - 6th Street. Brandon 1300 - 18th Street, Brandon 120 Main Street. Minnedosa 221 Main Street. Wawanesa 48 Main Street. Erickson
Participating Tempo Locations
661 - 1st Avenue. Rivers Little Chief’s Place.
2025 Lyndale Drive. Brandon
Postal Code e-mail
Do you have a Co-op #? No.
One lucky 7-day home-delivered Brandon Sun subscriber who has a Co-op number, will receive FREE GAS FOR A YEAR*
"Based on 30 litres per week tor 52 weeks (approximately $1,150 in Co op gas).
lf a non subscriber or someone without a Co-op number is drawn they win $500 in gas.
Official Contest Rules
The Free Gas For A Year contest is conducted by The Brandon Sun and is open to all residents of Manitoba 16 years of age or older. Employees and/or elected officials of The Brandon Sun or Heritage Co-op, their affiliated companies, agents, advertising and promotional agencies and immediate family members are not eligible to win. In accepting a prize, either a weekly draw winner or grand prize winner, the recipient of the prize agrees to allow publication of his or her name with photo for further promotion of the contest in The Brandon Sun. Your chances of winning a weekly prize depends on the number of ct iii y iuim& buumiiieu for these draws. Enter as often as you like. ‘No purchase necessary for entry. Reasonably hand-drawn facsimilies game pieces will be accepted. Photocopies, mechanically or electronically reproduced letters or game pieces will not be accepted. “One coupon per minimum 30 litre fill-up. One coupon per customer per fill. Cannot by used in conjunction with any other promotions. Not valid with Co-op charge cards.