Video: Avril Lavigne opens up about Lyme disease battle
Lymeblog News June 29, 2015
Lexington, KY USA
By Mac McDonald, MA, CCE
Editor Lymeblog News
Avril Lavigne opens up about Lyme disease battle on Good Morning America
“They would pull up their computer and be like, ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome.’ Or, ‘Why don't you try to get out of bed, Avril, and just go play the piano?’ It's like, ‘Are you depressed?’”
“I'm about halfway through my treatment,” the Canadian singer said in an interview with ABC News’ Jesse Palmer. "I'm doing a lot better. Seeing a lot of progress. ... I'm just really grateful to know that, like, I will make [a] 100 percent recovery."
After being misdiagnosed, bedridden for 5 months, told it was all in her head, and improperly treated Lavigne found a specialist who istreating her with a regime that includes antibiotics and lots of rest.
“There is hope. Lyme disease does exist. And ...
A nature-themed drama is unfolding in a corner of the UConn
Forest in Storrs. The story contains elements of surprise as well as a
glimpse of the region’s agrarian past.
Worthley, assistant extension professor, strips a shoot from a Barberry
bush, revealing a distinctive yellow interior. (Ariel Dowski '14
The protagonist in the drama is the invasive Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii),
and Tom Worthley, assistant extension professor in the Department of
Extension in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides a
couple of interesting twists in the plot as he explains why eliminating
the pest will also help control the spread of the tick-borne diseases
of Lyme, granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.
The UConn Forest as Laboratory
The forest landscape at the edge of the UConn campus
replicates that which is found throughout New England. There, Worthley,
along with colleagues Scott Williams, adjunct professor in UConn’s
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Jeffrey Ward,
from the Department of Forestry and Horticulture at the Connecticut
Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, are studying the problems
brought about by the presence of this invasive species.
In a joint project funded in part by an innovation grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, part of USDA, the three researchers are attempting to find ways to return the forest ecosystem to its natural state.
Worthley reaches for a berry on a Japanese Barberry bush in the UConn
Forest near Horsebarn Hill. (Ariel Dowski '14 (CLAS)/UConn Photo)
Worthley explains that the Japanese Barberry was brought to this
country because it is an attractive, hardy plant that requires little
maintenance. It is deer-resistant and it thrives in old, abandoned farm
fields that have reverted to woods, such as those found in the UConn
Forest. For years the plant was considered to be a positive addition to
the region’s rural and urban landscape.
Worthley says Barberry was introduced to the United States
in 1875 but it wasn’t considered a problem until the 1980s, when it
began to spread and take the place of native plants. Now it is found in
31 states. Connecticut is one of 17 states where it adapted to local
conditions with such a vengeance that it is now considered invasive.
Adds Ward, “You can see how it crowds out native plants, but
it also does something else that’s not so obvious to the casual
observer. Most people are surprised to learn that earthworms aren’t
native to New England. The Barberry creates a perfect environment for
them, and then they eat the leaf litter that’s important in maintaining
healthy hydrologic conditions. These worms have big appetites and when
the litter layer gets eaten we see gullies forming, sediment washing
into streams, soil chemistry changing … all sorts of negatives that you
don’t see in a healthy forest ecosystem.”
In addition to attracting earthworms, the Barberry creates a
perfect, humid environment for ticks. Williams recites the numbers.
”When we measure the presence of ticks carrying the Lyme spirochete (Borreliaburgdorferi)
we find 120 infected ticks where Barberry is not contained, 40 ticks
per acre where Barberry is contained, and only 10 infected ticks where
there is no Barberry.”
Deer are often considered to be the prime source in
spreading Lyme disease because they act as hosts to adult ticks; however
they are not the only culprit in the forest. Since mice love the
Barberry’s habitat as much as the hungry little arachnids do, they are
an efficient vector for distributing immature ticks, those in their
nymph stage, over a wide area.
And, although the prevalence of B. burgdorferi
infection in adult ticks is twice that found in nymphs, it is estimated
that nymphs are responsible for 90 percent of human disease
transmission. This is due to their abundance, and because they feed in
the summer when people are most apt to be involved in outdoor
Putting Fire to Good Use
In order to change the dynamics, Worthley, Williams, and Ward have
launched an educational effort that includes instructions for
individuals, non-profits, and municipalities on how to get rid of the
Barberry. They have given numerous field workshops and dozens of other
consultations where they’ve discussed strategies for control, including
mechanical mowing with a drum chopper or brush saw, the use of
herbicides at appropriate levels, and the use of fire. It is the latter
approach that garners the most attention.
Ward of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiement Station demonstrates
the use of a propane torch to control Barberry. (Photo courtesy of
Prior to European settlement in North America, low-intensity
fires were a ...
95% of Lyme disease cases occur in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin
(Washington, DC) – Today, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kelly Ayotte (R.-N.H.) introduced legislation to increase public awareness and strengthen efforts to combat tick-borne diseases - a significant threat to public health. The Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2015 would help ensure the necessary resources are dedicated to fighting tick-borne diseases.
Blumenthal said, “Now that the weather is warmer, people will be spending much more time outdoors. Unfortunately, more time outside – especially in wooded areas that are so common in my home state of Connecticut – also means more exposure to tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease – a pernicious and insidious public health threat. I am proud of re-introduce a measure that will address the need for a strong national effort to fight these diseases as they become more rampant in the warmer months. By making improvements to reporting methods and diagnostic tools, as well as creating a national advisory body that brings together patients, scientists, and policymakers, this legislation will make critical improvements to prevention and treatment methods.”
Ayotte said, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, New Hampshire had the second highest incidence rate of Lyme disease in the country. Our legislation will help address this troubling statistic by creating a strong national effort to fight this disease, which is dangerous if untreated. Our bill would create a Tick-Borne Diseases Committee comprised of physicians, scientific experts, patients, and Lyme advocates to focus on improving reporting methods, developing better diagnostic tools, ensuring better coordination of efforts, and working to improve prevention and treatment methods related to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.”
Joining Blumenthal and Ayotte as co-sponsors are U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.),
The volunteers will conduct field surveys of ticks at a site near their home weekly, or fortnightly, as their schedule permits.
The field surveys with take place between late February and late November.
The data will become a part of the nationwide network of sampling sites which will provide essential information on tick activity, locations and risks to the public from tick bites and Lyme disease.
In recent years, tick surveillance studies have suggested that the main vector of Lyme disease in Europe, Ixodes ricinus commonly known as the Sheep tick and the most common tick species in the UK, is expanding its distribution throughout England and Wales.
Likewise, the numbers of reported Lyme disease cases have increased steadily in the past decade.
Ticks are very sensitive to climate and it is possible that a changing climate in the UK may lead to an increase in expansion and abundance of this tick, as well as the potential establishment of other non-native species.
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