Posted by  | Aug 30, 2018 | 

Lyme disease and other insect-transmitted diseases are spreading into new regions of the United States and infecting people at an increased rate. Many environmentalists and scientists believe global warming is the culprit.


report released by Quest Diagnostics confirmed that Lyme disease has now reached all 50 continental United States.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the increasing threat of Lyme disease through its carrier, a black-legged tick called the deer tick. These ticks have thrived in the northwest region of the US for decades, but cases of individuals diagnosed with the bacterial infection have steadily risen over the past fifteen years.

In Penobscot County, Maine, the infection rate is now eight times what it was in 2010, and scientists point to warmer temperatures and shorter winters as the cause of this increase.

“If you increase temperatures in general, what will happen is that the tick populations could move further north, expanding their range,” said Dr. Lyle Peterson, Director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “As well as increasing the length of tick season which puts more people at risk for a longer period of time.”


In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency singled out Lyme disease as one of two vector-borne infections that indicate climate change and specifically referenced the cases in Maine, where the most infections have occurred.

In comparison to Maine’s 71 cases in 2000, the most recent federal data counts 1,487 individuals who contracted the disease in 2016.

The CDC attributes this change in part to increased awareness of the disease and its effects if left untreated.

Dr. Peterson also recognized that the numbers of reported cases are still likely an underestimate of all inflicted citizens. In fact, the CDC thinks that the caseload could be 10 times higher than the numbers reported. Even the testing process, which challenges the immune system with Lyme bacteria, is not entirely accurate.


When an infected deer tick latches on to a human or animal and begins to suck in blood, it regurgitates the Lyme-causing bacteria into its host. The strain of bacteria present in deer ticks in the US is called Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lyme disease usually first presents as a rash, paired with joint pain and fatigue.

If left untreated, the disease can cause permanent damage to the nervous system.


There is currently no approved vaccine for Lyme disease. But twenty years ago, a preventative vaccine called LIMErix debuted on the market for a short four years. Patients complained of increased joint pain and vulnerability to arthritis, although the correlation was never proven.

Another vaccine developed by biotech company Valneva is currently on Stage II in clinical testing and is far from federal approval.

Currently, the CDC in Maine focuses its grant money and energy on educational initiatives to avoid tick bites. According to scientists working at the Maine CDC, they have been steered away from climate research and its involvement since Governor Paul LePage was elected in 2010.

Through Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and other states with a high density of ticks, the CDC’s BRACE grant program is the only avenue of federal support for city health officials’ work on climate change and vector-borne disease. They primarily use the funds to conduct awareness and prevention programs in schools.

Doctors see increase of Lyme disease cases in Lehigh Valley


EASTON, Pa. – Summer may be winding down, but doctors in the Lehigh Valley say Lyme disease is still a real threat.

Dr. Saman Kannangara, a doctor of infectious diseases at Easton Hospital, said he’s seen a 30 percent increase in Lyme Disease infections.

Kannangara said due to the proximity of densely wooded areas and big deer populations, people who live near neighborhoods like Easton’s College Hill or nearby townships like Forks and Williams are at a higher risk of developing it.

“I’d say in my office I see several people each week, maybe every day with Lyme disease, a new infection,” said Kannangara.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria that usually results in flu-like systems and an oval rash around the tick bite area.

Kannangara says because recent winters haven’t been as cold, the ticks aren’t going dormant and it is helping the disease spread.

Detroit among cities most at risk for disease-carrying mosquitoes


Detroit was identified as having a high potential for mosquitoes due to record-setting rainfall and the highest temperatures on record for May in almost three decades.

DETROIT – Summer may be coming to an end, but residents in Michigan’s largest city should still be on the lookout for disease-carrying pests.

That’s the message from the National Pest Management Association, which listed Detroit on its annual Vector Sectors list identifying the top 10 U.S. cities with the greatest risk for vector pests such as ticks and mosquitoes.

The list was released on Aug. 13, meaning the threat is still very much in play despite the waning warm weather.

According to the NPMA, vector pests are particularly troublesome because of their ability to transmit pathogens such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus to humans through their bites,

“We’ve identified 10 cities with established pest populations that also experienced record-setting rainfall and heat this spring and summer, as these favorable conditions will put them at an increased risk for vector pest pressure for the remainder of the season,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA.

“Both ticks and mosquitoes thrive in areas with warmer temperatures and excessive rainfall, as standing water allows for more opportunities to breed and increase population numbers.”

Detroit was identified as having a high potential for mosquitoes due to record-setting rainfall and the highest temperatures on record for May in almost three decades.

Detroit was listed alongside Birmingham, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and West Palm Beach.

Invasive Asian tick on Cape’s doorstep



Concern for entomologists is how quickly it could spread.

BARNSTABLE — Barnstable County officials are waiting to see if an invasive tick species that has made its way from overseas to New York state will cross the bridges to Cape Cod.

Known as the Asian or longhorned tick, the arthropod that sickens livestock in its native Asia has been found in eight states, including New York and Pennsylvania, since being pulled off a woman shearing sheep in New Jersey last year.

“It’s on our doorstep. But it’s not time to push the panic button,” said Larry Dapsis, deer tick program coordinator and entomologist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

The ticks reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis, which gives the species the opportunity to expand more quickly than other species, Dapsis said.

The longhorned tick can transmit diseases to livestock and cause lowered milk production in dairy cows and blood loss in calves.

“They can drain a lot of blood and kill young animals,” Dapsis said.

But he said the main concern of local entomologists is whether the longhorned tick will pick up diseases transmitted by the area’s blacklegged ticks and become another vector for illnesses including Lyme disease and babesiosis.

“The exotic diseases are not here, but can it make use of the existing ones?” Dapsis asked.

The longhorned tick has been known to carry pathogens that cause severe illness in people, but none of these have been detected in the ticks that have made it to the U.S., said Richard S. Ostfeld, senior scientist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies in Millbrook, New York.

“Officials are interested in whether it can acquire and then transmit the pathogens carried by the blacklegged tick,” Ostfeld wrote in an email.

“This could happen if it bites, say, a white-footed mouse that’s infected with Lyme bacteria. It is not known whether this is possible. But the longhorned tick does bite a lot of different species of wildlife and livestock, so it’s not impossible,” Ostfeld wrote.

Sam R. Telford III, a professor of vector-borne infection and public health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said he does not think the longhorned tick is a threat to New England.

The tick made its way to Australia and New Zealand about a century ago, “and there has been no public health issue,” Telford said via email.

“They did not bring the Asian infections with them,” Telford said.

But with female ticks capable of laying larvae without help from males, “They could indeed spread like crazy,” Telford said.

And “with all the deer in eastern Massachusetts” serving as potential hosts and meals, “it could be very quick,” he said.

So far the longhorned tick has been reported in Arkansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, according to published reports.

“It is thriving in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York, which are not too different ecologically from southern New England,” Ostfeld said.

“Their native range includes warm, temperate places without extreme winter cold, so perhaps they’ll be limited by cold temperatures to the north and west,” Ostfeld said.

If the longhorned tick does spread to Cape Cod, Dapsis said, people should take the same steps they use to avoid bites from blacklegged ticks: Wear permethrin-treated clothing and when walking in woods or grass wear light-colored clothing and tuck pants into socks.

HEV/Hepatitis E Virus Infection


What is Hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus (HEV). HEV infection usually results in a self-limited, acute illness. It is widespread in the developing world. Although rare in developed countries, locally acquired HEV infection can result in acute hepatitis with tendency to progress to chronic hepatitis mainly among solid organ transplant recipients.

How common is Hepatitis E in the United States?

Hepatitis E is believed to be uncommon in the United States. However, some studies have found a high prevalence of antibodies to HEV in the general population. When symptomatic hepatitis E does occur, it is usually the result of travel to a developing country where hepatitis E is endemic. Sporadic Hepatitis E cases not associated with travel have been identified in the United States. No clear exposure was identified for these domestically acquired (non-travel related) cases.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis E?

When they occur, the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis E are similar to those of other types of acute viral hepatitis and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Joint pain

The ratio of symptomatic to asymptomatic infection ranges from 1:2 to 1:13.

How soon after exposure will symptoms appear?

When symptoms occur, they usually develop 15 to 60 days (mean: 40 days) after exposure.

How long does an HEV-infected person remain infectious?

The period of infectiousness has not been clearly determined, but virus excretion in stool has been demonstrated from one week prior to onset up to 30 days after the onset of jaundice. Chronically infected persons shed virus as long as infected.

How serious is Hepatitis E?

Most people with Hepatitis E recover completely. During HEV outbreaks, the overall case-fatality rate is about 1%. However, for pregnant women, Hepatitis E can be a serious illness with mortality reaching 10%–30% in their third trimester of pregnancy. Hepatitis E could also be serious among persons with preexisting chronic liver disease resulting in decompensated liver disease and death. Similarly high mortality occurs solid organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy.

Can Hepatitis E become chronic?

To date, there is no report of progression of acute hepatitis E to chronic Hepatitis E in developing countries where HEV genotypes 1 and 2 are the predominant causes of illness. However, more and more cases of Hepatitis E with progression to chronic hepatitis and chronic liver disease are being reported among HEV genotype 3 cases acquired in the developed countries. These chronic cases are exclusively among persons who are on immunosuppressive treatment for solid organ transplant.

Diagnosis and Treatment

How is Hepatitis E diagnosed?

Because cases of Hepatitis E are not clinically distinguishable from other types of acute viral hepatitis, diagnosis can be confirmed only by testing for the presence of antibody against HEV or HEV RNA.

No serologic tests to diagnose HEV infection have been approved by FDA for use in the United States. Several tests are available for research purposes and some commercial laboratories use commercially available assays from other countries.

HEV infection should be considered in any person with symptoms of viral hepatitis who has traveled to a hepatitis E endemic region, recently travelled from an endemic area, or from an outbreak afflicted region and who is negative for serologic markers of Hepatitis A, B, C, and other hepatotropic viruses. A detailed history regarding sources of drinking water, uncooked food, and contact with jaundiced persons should be obtained to aid in diagnosis. There are increasing numbers of domestically acquired cases of hepatitis E and diagnosis should be suspected when no etiology can be identified on thorough evaluation.

What is Hepatitis D?

Hep Delta

Hepatitis D, also known as the hepatitis delta virus, is an infection that causes the liver to become inflamed. This swelling can impair liver function and cause long-term liver problems, including liver scarring and cancer. The condition is caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). This virus is rare in the United States, but it’s fairly common in the following regions:

  • South America
  • West Africa
  • Russia
  • Pacific islands
  • Central Asia
  • Mediterranea

Unlike the other forms, hepatitis D can’t be contracted on its own. It can only infect people who are already infected with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis D can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis D occurs suddenly and typically causes more severe symptoms. It may go away on its own. If the infection lasts for six months or longer, the condition is known as chronic hepatitis D. The long-term version of the infection develops gradually over time. The virus might be present in the body for several months before symptoms occur. As chronic hepatitis D progresses, the chances of complications increase. Many people with the condition eventually develop cirrhosis, or severe scarring of the liver.

There’s currently no cure or vaccine for hepatitis D, but it can be prevented in people who aren’t already infected with hepatitis B. Treatment may also help prevent liver failure when the condition is detected early.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis D?

Hepatitis D doesn’t always cause symptoms, when symptoms do occur, they often include:

  • yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is called jaundice
  • joint pain
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • dark urine
  • fatigue

The symptoms of hepatitis B and hepatitis D are similar, so it can be difficult to determine which disease is causing your symptoms. In some cases, hepatitis D can make the symptoms of hepatitis B worse. It can also cause symptoms in people who have hepatitis B but who never had symptoms.

How is hepatitis D contracted?

Hepatitis D is caused by HDV. The infection is contagious and spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It can be transmitted through:

  • urine
  • vaginal fluids
  • semen
  • blood
  • birth (from mother to her newborn)

Once you have hepatitis D, you can infect others even before your symptoms appear. However, you can only contract hepatitis D if you already have hepatitis B.

How is hepatitis D diagnosed?

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of hepatitis D. If you have symptoms of the disease without jaundice, your doctor may not suspect hepatitis.

To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will perform a blood test that can detect anti-hepatitis D antibodies in your blood. If antibodies are found, it means you’ve been exposed to the virus.

Your doctor will also give you a liver function test if they suspect you have liver damage. This is a blood test that evaluates the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in your blood. Results from the liver function test will show whether your liver is stressed or damaged.

How is hepatitis D treated?

There are no known treatments for acute or chronic hepatitis D. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, current antiviral medications don’t seem to be very effective in treating HDV.

You may be given large doses of a medication called interferon for up to 12 months. Interferon is a type of protein that may stop the virus from spreading and lead to remission from the disease. However, even after treatment, people with hepatitis D can still test positive for the virus. This means that it’s still important to use precautionary measures to prevent transmission. You should also remain proactive by watching for recurring symptoms.

If you have cirrhosis or another type of liver damage, you may need a liver transplant. A liver transplant is a major surgical operation that involves removing the damaged liver and replacing it with a healthy liver from a donor. In cases where a liver transplant is needed, approximately 90% of people live 5 years or longer after the operation.

Do you have SLE? Want to help others?

We are currently searching for patients who have SLE to participate by donating plasma for research and for manufacturing into controls for test kits.  Your plasma is needed to help others be diagnosed, without plasma donors the very test kit(s) there aided your physician in your diagnosis runs the risk of going on back order hindering the timely and accurate diagnosis of other patients.

Plasma is the clear honey colored component of the red blood cells which house various nutrients as well as the antibodies for your diagnosis.  These antibodies are separated during the plasmapheresis process and then you receive your red cells back thru the donation.  Plasma is very similar to donating blood say at a blood drive or the red cross but you can do it more frequently.  When you donate whole blood you can only do so every 56 days (8 weeks) as it takes your body a while to rebuild the red blood cells that were donated.

Because you get the red cells back thru plasmapheresis you can safely donate 2x in a 7 day period as your body replenishes plasma within a 24-48 hour period.  Some patients have said that when they donate plasma they get temporary relief of their symptoms because we have removed some of the antibodies from their body in turn giving them a bit of relief.

We are currently looking for those who have the SLE/Lupus diagnosis and have high levels of the dsDNA antibody (Double-Stranded) for this program.  To learn more and to inquire please visit us at the blow link or call us at 800-510-4003 to discuss it further.  All of our programs are HIPAA compliant (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) and your information is never shared with outside sources.

Visit us today at to learn more.

“Basic donor Requirements”

  1. Must have, or have access to your most recent/up to date blood test results showing your dsDNA antibodies/SLE diagnosis.
  2. Must be HIV, HCV & HBV negative
  3. Ages 18-65 and must weigh at least 110 pounds or more

Lupus, what is it?


Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems  including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus  a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.

Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.

What are the symptoms:

No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes — called flares — when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.

The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion and memory loss


Causes & Risk Factors:

Lupus occurs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body (autoimmune disease). It’s likely that lupus results from a combination of your genetics and your environment.

It appears that people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the environment that can trigger lupus. The cause of lupus in most cases, however, is unknown. Some potential triggers include:

  • Sunlight. Exposure to the sun may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.
  • Infections. Having an infection can initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.
  • Medications. Lupus can be triggered by certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug-induced lupus usually get better when they stop taking the medication. Rarely, symptoms may persist even after the drug is stopped.


  • Factors that may increase your risk of lupus include:
    • Your sex. Lupus is more common in women.
    • Age. Although lupus affects people of all ages, it’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
    • Race. Lupus is more common in African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.


Complications can include:

Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many areas of your body, including your:

  • Kidneys. Lupus can cause serious kidney damage, and kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death among people with lupus.
  • Brain and central nervous system. If your brain is affected by lupus, you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, vision problems, and even strokes or seizures. Many people with lupus experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
  • Blood and blood vessels. Lupus may lead to blood problems, including anemia and increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
  • Lungs. Having lupus increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), which can make breathing painful. Bleeding into lungs and pneumonia also are possible.
  • Heart. Lupus can cause inflammation of your heart muscle, your arteries or heart membrane (pericarditis). The risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks increases greatly as well.

Patients taking Warfarin or Coumadin needed for research.


Research program for patients taking the drug coumadin or warfarin. Participants who qualify will visit the plasma center during various INR ranges and be compensated $100 each time they donate. Participants can donate safely 2x per week during this programs requests.

Current location of this program is in Indianapolis only.  Visit us today to learn more.

Current INR values needed:
* 2-3%
*** Basic Donor Qualifications ***

1. Must be HIV/HCV/HBV Negative
2. Must be 18-65 years in age and weigh 110lbs or more
3. Must have proof of medication (prescription or the bottle is acceptable)