Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne Illnesses with Dr. Sean Beckmann
They we are talking about a subject that affects a lot of people and that is lime disease and we have assistant professor of biology. Dr Shawn Beckmann back on the show with us and if you remember he spoke with us in a previous episode about the corona virus. And today Dr. Beckmann is going to share some insights about lyme disease. Dr Beckmann can you tell me a little bit about yourself and watch you do sure? So I'm a biologist down here at Stetson University in Land Florida My obviously my main focus down here is teaching. But my research focuses on a tick-borne hagins so there are these various different bacteria or viruses that are transmitted by ticks. People we know about things like lyme disease for example And my main interest is in. Where did these come from? What are the organisms that carry these Different pathogens that ultimately Gets THEM FROM IT? And the tick can transmit them on from there. Ah Cry well we had you on before talking about the corona virus. And you mentioned you know what you do at your work and I thought Oh. Wow I know a lot of people who are going to want to ask you questions about tick borne diseases in boy was I right so in my group hope lively I ask you know who who has a question for Dr Beckmann and I was overwhelmed with all the questions they had for you so I'm just going to start at the top and we'll try to see how many questions we can get through So the first question People WanNa know is where do people get lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Okay so we've got a kind of two different sides of the same coin here. Both lining disease and rocky mountain spotted. Fever are bacterial diseases They're both caused by bacterial pathogens. And they're both spread by tics. But we get different ticks. That spread each kitties. So lime disease. Which is what. My research primarily focuses on is caused by the Bacteria Brilliant Bergdorf Ri- which is a bacteria that is transmitted in the eastern United States by the black legged tick and then out west. There's a related take on the other side of the rockies that can transmit it But that bacteria gets basically picked up by the tick from a rodent that it feeds on the carries that particular bacteria so not all rodents have disease in the rodents can't transmit the disease to people. It has to be transmitted by a tick. The tickle feed on one of these rodents we call it a resume war pick it up and then the tick carries that bacteria throughout its life and so whatever it bites in the future it could potentially transmit it to it can transmit it to another rodent and make another reservoir. It can transmit it to a dog it could transmit it to a deer or it could transmit it to a person potentially and that's where people get it from us from a tick. It's previously gotten infected by it. They pick it up when that tick them invites them in the case of lyme. That's the for the most part in the United States. We talk about the black legged tick that can do that. In the case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever that's transmitted by group of kicks called the dog ticks. So you have the American dog tick at the Brown dog tick and then the rocky mountain tick also are all capable of transmitting. That and that belongs to a different group of bacteria called the Recap Zia's And so we're we're catchy. I 'cause why not have a crazy name is that bacteria and that's transmitted by like I said a totally different group protects. Wow Okay so the tick transmits it to a rodent now if the a rodent another tip by sat rodent it it can get the bacteria from that rodent so ultimately to talk a little bit about. I guess the the kind of cycle we call this. The enzootic cycle the cycle within animals And so you imagine a situation where you've got a road that carries this bacteria and by and large the rodent is not affected by. They are kind of the incubator for it. Which is why we call them. The reservoir if a tick bites that rodent the tick then picks up that bacteria it the ticks on affected by the TIG carries it it gets into the gut of the tech and then ultimately it moves from the gut of take into the salivary. Glands of the tech takes only feed a couple of times in their life once during their first life stage there amid stage once during the second stage they're laurel life stage and once during their adult stage so if a tick nymph bites an infected rodent. Yeah it picks up that bacteria then when it goes to beat again as a larva feeds on another rodent. It's going to create another reservoir. It's GonNa create another road at now. Has that bacteria if Instead by say a dog it could transmit it to a dog. If bites a person it can transmit it to a person and so there's really the first two life stages it could pick up the bacteria and both of those life stages it can transmit it in any life stage later where it's after it's become infected so let's take feeds three times in its life and the first time it picks up the bacteria now it's got two opportunities to spread it if a tick picks it up in a second life stage. It's only got one opportunity. Spread it if it picks it up in its third lifestyle. Jet May be infected. But it's never going to spread it to anything I see so can a dog be a reservoir for the tick dogs and Dogs Endear and humans for that matter or what we call dead end hosts so what that means is we can get infected by the bacteria but it can't be transmitted from us to take to go to something else. Our biology doesn't work really well with it from a transmission perspective. On fortunately for us we are the organisms that can become a affected by that pathogen. So where's the rodents will get the bacteria and they live happy normal lives as far as we know and every research study that has looked at this as an experiment that has looked at this in rodents when they get lime or the bacteria that causes lyme they may get a little inflammation for a little while and then it goes away and they live normally with the bacteria the bacteria evade immune system and just lived normally in there but when it gets into a dog or a deer or a human doesn't do that with our immune systems will initially eventually recognize it would become symptomatic and we get an illness as a result of it And WanNa talk more about that later but Can you be infected by these ticks anywhere or just in these particular areas geographically? Great question and it's a question that leads to a lot of confusion because is particularly at all focus on line because that that is my area of expertise. I know about the others. But that's my primary area when we think of line we think of one if not two places in the US we think of the northeastern United States your your mid Atlantic and northeastern states. I A lime disease is named after a lyme Connecticut where it was I found. That's where we find a lot of it. We also get a big focus of lime in the upper mid Western. Us particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota but lime is found in all fifty states. It has been diagnosed in all fifty states including Hawaii and Alaska. Now does that mean. There's lots of Lyme disease in Alaska. Probably not there's probably not in Hawaii either. Those are probably people that went somewhere else. Acquired it and then went home and got diagnosed with it at home. But within the contiguous United States within the forty eight states Within the United States proper lime has been identified in all of them identified all of them on a regular basis. Even if it's at a low incidence so you don't have to be bitten by a tick in New York for example to get lime disease if you buy tick in Florida and that kick is carrying brilliant door fry. It has a potential to pass it to you and so even though there's areas in the US really prevalent it is found throughout the entire.