Special Issue "Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Raphael B. Stricker
Website
Guest Editor
Union Square Medical Associates, San Francisco, CA, USA
Interests: tickborne diseases; immunodeficiency diseases; immunological infertility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lyme disease and associated tickborne infections constitute the fastest-growing epidemic in the world today. Furthermore, the discovery of new species of Borrelia has complicated the clinical picture of these diseases. The Special Issue will focus on epidemiologic, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of tickborne diseases, including Lyme disease, Relapsing Fever Borrelia, and various tickborne coinfections including Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Rickettsia and tickborne viruses. New approaches for vaccines against tickborne diseases are also open for discussion.

Dr. Raphael B. Stricker
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Lyme disease
  • Relapsing Fever Borrelia
  • Babesia
  • Anaplasma
  • Ehrlichia
  • Bartonella
  • Rickettsia
  • tickborne viruses
  • vaccines

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Detection and Transstadial Passage of Babesia Species and Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato in Ticks Collected from Avian and Mammalian Hosts in Canada
Healthcare 2019, 7(4), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7040155 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Lyme disease and human babesiosis are the most common tick-borne zoonoses in the Temperate Zone of North America. The number of infected patients has continued to rise globally, and these zoonoses pose a major healthcare threat. This tick-host-pathogen study was conducted to test [...] Read more.
Lyme disease and human babesiosis are the most common tick-borne zoonoses in the Temperate Zone of North America. The number of infected patients has continued to rise globally, and these zoonoses pose a major healthcare threat. This tick-host-pathogen study was conducted to test for infectious microbes associated with Lyme disease and human babesiosis in Canada. Using the flagellin (flaB) gene, three members of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl) complex were detected, namely a Borrelia lanei-like spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (Bbss), and a distinct strain that may represent a separate Bbsl genospecies. This novel Bbsl strain was detected in a mouse tick, Ixodes muris, collected from a House Wren, Troglodytes aedon, in Quebec during the southward fall migration. The presence of Bbsl in bird-feeding larvae of I. muris suggests reservoir competency in three passerines (i.e., Common Yellowthroat, House Wren, Magnolia Warbler). Based on the 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene, three Babesia species (i.e., Babesia divergens-like, Babesia microti, Babesia odocoilei) were detected in field-collected ticks. Not only was B. odocoilei found in songbird-derived ticks, this piroplasm was apparent in adult questing blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis, in southern Canada. By allowing live, engorged ticks to molt, we confirm the transstadial passage of Bbsl in I. muris and B. odocoilei in I. scapularis. Bbss and Babesia microti were detected concurrently in a groundhog tick, Ixodes cookei, in Western Ontario. In Alberta, a winter tick, Dermacentor albipictus, which was collected from a moose, Alces alces, tested positive for Bbss. Notably, a B. divergens-like piroplasm was detected in a rabbit tick, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, collected from an eastern cottontail in southern Manitoba; this Babesia species is a first-time discovery in Canada. This rabbit tick was also co-infected with Borrelia lanei-like spirochetes, which constitutes a first in Canada. Overall, five ticks were concurrently infected with Babesia and Bbsl pathogens and, after the molt, could potentially co-infect humans. Notably, we provide the first authentic report of I. scapularis ticks co-infected with Bbsl and B. odocoilei in Canada. The full extent of infectious microorganisms transmitted to humans by ticks is not fully elucidated, and clinicians need to be aware of the complexity of these tick-transmitted enzootic agents on human health. Diagnosis and treatment must be administered by those with accredited medical training in tick-borne zoonosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Line Immunoblot Assay for Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever and Findings in Patient Sera from Australia, Ukraine and the USA
Healthcare 2019, 7(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7040121 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) is caused by spirochete bacteria of the genus Borrelia termed relapsing fever Borreliae (RFB). TBRF shares symptoms with Lyme disease (LD) caused by related Lyme disease Borreliae (LDB). TBRF and LD are transmitted by ticks and occur in overlapping [...] Read more.
Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) is caused by spirochete bacteria of the genus Borrelia termed relapsing fever Borreliae (RFB). TBRF shares symptoms with Lyme disease (LD) caused by related Lyme disease Borreliae (LDB). TBRF and LD are transmitted by ticks and occur in overlapping localities worldwide. Serological detection of antibodies used for laboratory confirmation of LD is not established for TBRF. A line immunoblot assay using recombinant proteins from different RFB species, termed TBRF IB, was developed and its diagnostic utility investigated. The TBRF IBs were able to differentiate between antibodies to RFB and LDB and had estimated sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of 70.5%, 99.5%, 97.3%, and 93.4%, respectively, based on results with reference sera from patients known to be positive and negative for TBRF. The use of TBRF IBs and analogous immunoblots for LD to test sera of patients from Australia, Ukraine, and the USA with LD symptoms revealed infection with TBRF alone, LD alone, and both TBRF and LD. Diagnosis by clinical criteria alone can, therefore, underestimate the incidence of TBRF. TBRF IBs will be useful for laboratory confirmation of TBRF and understanding its epidemiology worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Parenting When Children Have Lyme Disease: Fear, Frustration, Advocacy
Healthcare 2019, 7(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7030095 - 08 Aug 2019
Abstract
Increasing numbers of Canadians, including children and adolescents, are being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi and contracting Lyme disease. In the present study, we provided a qualitative analysis of written correspondence produced by 23 parents of children and adolescents with Lyme disease. The goal [...] Read more.
Increasing numbers of Canadians, including children and adolescents, are being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi and contracting Lyme disease. In the present study, we provided a qualitative analysis of written correspondence produced by 23 parents of children and adolescents with Lyme disease. The goal of this study was to investigate how medical and psychological issues were highlighted by parents describing their family’s Lyme disease experiences. The results suggest a series of four stages in these families where satisfactory treatment had not been obtained over months or years. The experiences of parents evolved from feelings of worry for the child to frustration with the lack of a helpful treatment, to mistrust of physicians’ actions, and, in some case, to a rejection of the conventional health care system as a whole. Improved diagnostic testing and treatment guidelines, as well as family-centered practices of medical care were proposed as important features for improving the experiences of families living with Lyme disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Mixed Borrelia burgdorferi and Helicobacter pylori Biofilms in Morgellons Disease Dermatological Specimens
Healthcare 2019, 7(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7020070 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: Morgellons disease (MD) is a dermopathy that is associated with tick-borne illness. It is characterized by spontaneously developing skin lesions containing embedded or projecting filaments, and patients may also experience symptoms resembling those of Lyme disease (LD) including musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular [...] Read more.
Background: Morgellons disease (MD) is a dermopathy that is associated with tick-borne illness. It is characterized by spontaneously developing skin lesions containing embedded or projecting filaments, and patients may also experience symptoms resembling those of Lyme disease (LD) including musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular manifestations. Various species of Borrelia and co-infecting pathogens have been detected in body fluids and tissue specimens from MD patients. We sought to investigate the coexistence of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) and Helicobacter pylori (Hp) in skin specimens from MD subjects, and to characterize their association with mixed amyloid biofilm development. Methods: Testing for Bb and Hp was performed on dermatological specimens from 14 MD patients using tissue culture, immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and confocal microscopy. Markers for amyloid and biofilm formation were investigated using histochemical and IHC staining. Results: Bb and Hp were detected in dermatological tissue taken from MD lesions. Bb and Hp tended to co-localize in foci within the epithelial tissue. Skin sections exhibiting foci of co-infecting Bb and Hp contained amyloid markers including β-amyloid protein, thioflavin and phosphorylated tau. The biofilm marker alginate was also found in the sections. Conclusions: Mixed Bb and Hp biofilms containing β-amyloid and phosphorylated tau may play a role in the evolution of MD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Factors of Lyme Disease: An Intersection of Environmental Ecology and Systems Science
Healthcare 2019, 7(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7020066 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Lyme disease (LD) cases have been on the rise throughout the United States, costing the healthcare system up to $1.3 billion per year, and making LD one of the greatest threats to public health. Factors influencing the number of LD cases range from [...] Read more.
Lyme disease (LD) cases have been on the rise throughout the United States, costing the healthcare system up to $1.3 billion per year, and making LD one of the greatest threats to public health. Factors influencing the number of LD cases range from environmental to system-level variables, but little is known about the influence of vegetation (canopy, understory, and ground cover) and human behavioral risk on LD cases and exposure to infected ticks. We determined the influence of various risk factors on the risk of exposure to infected ticks on 22 different walkways using multinomial logistic regression. The model classifies the walkways into high-risk and low-risk categories with 90% accuracy, in which the understory, human risk, and number of rodents are significant indicators. These factors should be managed to control the risk of transmission of LD to humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Presence of Babesia odocoilei and Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Stricto in a Tick and Dual Parasitism of Amblyomma inornatum and Ixodes scapularis on a Bird in Canada
Healthcare 2019, 7(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7010046 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Wild birds transport ticks into Canada that harbor a diversity of zoonotic pathogens. However, medical practitioners often question how these zoonotic pathogens are present in their locality. In this study, we provide the first report of an Amblyomma inornatum tick cofeeding with a [...] Read more.
Wild birds transport ticks into Canada that harbor a diversity of zoonotic pathogens. However, medical practitioners often question how these zoonotic pathogens are present in their locality. In this study, we provide the first report of an Amblyomma inornatum tick cofeeding with a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, which parasitized a Veery, Catharus fuscescens—a neotropical songbird. Using the flagellin (flaB) gene of the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and the 18S rRNA gene of the Babesia piroplasm, a malaria-like microorganism, we detected Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and Babesia odocoilei, respectively, in an I. scapularis nymph. After the molt, these ticks can bite humans. Furthermore, this is the first documentation of B. odocoilei in a tick parasitizing a bird. Our findings substantiate the fact that migratory songbirds transport neotropical ticks long distances, and import them into Canada during northward spring migration. Health care practitioners need to be aware that migratory songbirds transport pathogen-laden ticks into Canada annually, and pose an unforeseen health risk to Canadians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Extensive Distribution of the Lyme Disease Bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato, in Multiple Tick Species Parasitizing Avian and Mammalian Hosts across Canada
Healthcare 2018, 6(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6040131 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Lyme disease, caused by the spirochetal bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl), is typically transmitted by hard-bodied ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). Whenever this tick-borne zoonosis is mentioned in medical clinics and emergency rooms, it sparks a firestorm of controversy. Denial often sets in, and [...] Read more.
Lyme disease, caused by the spirochetal bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl), is typically transmitted by hard-bodied ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). Whenever this tick-borne zoonosis is mentioned in medical clinics and emergency rooms, it sparks a firestorm of controversy. Denial often sets in, and healthcare practitioners dismiss the fact that this pathogenic spirochetosis is present in their area. For distribution of Bbsl across Canada, we conducted a 4-year, tick–host study (2013–2016), and collected ticks from avian and mammalian hosts from Atlantic Canada to the West Coast. Overall, 1265 ticks representing 27 tick species belonging to four genera were collected. Of the 18 tick species tested, 15 species (83%) were positive for Bbsl and, of these infected ticks, 6 species bite humans. Overall, 13 of 18 tick species tested are human-biting ticks. Our data suggest that a 6-tick, enzootic maintenance cycle of Bbsl is present in southwestern B.C., and five of these tick species bite humans. Biogeographically, the groundhog tick, Ixodes cookei, has extended its home range from central and eastern Canada to southwestern British Columbia (B.C.). We posit that the Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca, is a reservoir-competent host for Bbsl. The Bay-breasted Warbler, Setophaga castanea, and the Tennessee Warbler, Vermivora peregrina, are new host records for the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. We provide the first report of a Bbsl-positive Amblyomma longirostre larva parasitizing a bird; this bird parasitism suggests that a Willow Flycatcher is a competent reservoir of Bbsl. Our findings show that Bbsl is present in all provinces, and that multiple tick species are implicated in the enzootic maintenance cycle of this pathogen. Ultimately, Bbsl poses a serious public health contagion Canada-wide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Differentiating Psychosomatic, Somatopsychic, Multisystem Illnesses and Medical Uncertainty
Healthcare 2019, 7(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7040114 - 08 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
There is often difficulty differentiating between psychosomatic, somatopsychic, multisystem illness, and different degrees of medical uncertainty. Uncommon, complex, and multisystem diseases are commonly misdiagnosed. Two case histories are described, and relevant terms differentiating psychosomatic, somatopsychic, and multisystem illnesses are identified, reviewed, and discussed. [...] Read more.
There is often difficulty differentiating between psychosomatic, somatopsychic, multisystem illness, and different degrees of medical uncertainty. Uncommon, complex, and multisystem diseases are commonly misdiagnosed. Two case histories are described, and relevant terms differentiating psychosomatic, somatopsychic, and multisystem illnesses are identified, reviewed, and discussed. Adequate differentiation requires an understanding of the mind/body connection, which includes knowledge of general medicine, psychiatry, and the systems linking the body and the brain. A psychiatric diagnosis cannot be given solely based upon the absence of physical, laboratory, or pathological findings. Medically unexplained symptoms, somatoform disorder, and compensation neurosis are outdated and/or inaccurate terms. The terms subjective, nonspecific, and vague can be used inaccurately. Conversion disorders, functional disorders, psychogenic illness, factitious disorder imposed upon another (Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy), somatic symptom disorder, psychogenic seizures, psychogenic pain, psychogenic fatigue, and delusional parasitosis can be over-diagnosed. Bodily distress disorder and bodily distress syndrome are scientifically unsupported and inaccurate. Many “all in your head” conditions may be related to the microbiome and the immune system. Better education concerning the interface between medicine and psychiatry and the associated diagnostic nomenclature as well as utilizing clinical judgment and thorough assessment, exercising humility, and maintaining our roots in traditional medicine will help to improve diagnostic accuracy and patient trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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Open AccessReview
Proposed Lyme Disease Guidelines and Psychiatric Illnesses
Healthcare 2019, 7(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7030105 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American Academy of Rheumatology jointly proposed Lyme disease guidelines. Four areas most relevant to psychiatry were reviewed—the disclaimer, laboratory testing, and adult and pediatric psychiatric sections. The disclaimer and the manner in [...] Read more.
The Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American Academy of Rheumatology jointly proposed Lyme disease guidelines. Four areas most relevant to psychiatry were reviewed—the disclaimer, laboratory testing, and adult and pediatric psychiatric sections. The disclaimer and the manner in which these guidelines are implemented are insufficient to remove the authors and sponsoring organizations from liability for harm caused by these guidelines. The guidelines and supporting citations place improper credibility upon surveillance case definition rather than clinical diagnosis criteria. The guidelines fail to address the clear causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, developmental disabilities and substance abuse despite significant supporting evidence. If these guidelines are published without very major revisions, and if the sponsoring medical societies attempt to enforce these guidelines as a standard of care, it will directly contribute to increasing a national and global epidemic of psychiatric illnesses, suicide, violence, substance abuse and developmental disabilities and the associated economic and non-economic societal burdens. The guideline flaws could be improved with a more appropriate disclaimer, an evidence-based rather than an evidence-biased approach, more accurate diagnostic criteria, and recognition of the direct and serious causal association between Lyme disease and psychiatric illnesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lyme Disease and Related Tickborne Infections)
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