Friday, August 04, 2017

Ötzi the Frozen Man Had Lyme Disease

The 5,300-year-old ice mummy known as "Ötzi" who was discovered in 1991 in a receding glacier in the Alps between Italy and Austria, appears to have had the oldest known case of Lyme disease.

When analyzing the Iceman's genome, scientists found genetic material from the bacterium responsible for the disease which is spread by ticks and causes a rash and flulike symptoms, and which can lead to joint, heart and nervous system problems.

The good news for modern Lyme disease sufferers is that this is an infection that is relatively hard to get and easy to treat.  I supposed I am living proof of that, as I spent a lot of time in the yard and in the field, routinely get ticks on me, and have never come down with the slightest problem.  Ditto for the dogs.

I have written on Lyme disease in the past, detailing the billion dollar veterinary scam that involves tests and vaccines, and providing links to a veterinary consensus paper (PDF) on the same.

Because I stocked up on Doxycyline some time back (500 100 mg doses) my antibiotics needs for Lyme and Hearworm are probably taken care of for life (antibiotics are good for at least 15 years when stored at room temperature or lower).

For those looking for an alternative antibiotic following Doxycylines's incredible price hike, be advised that amoxicillin works just as well and is quite cheap and available in FDA-approved fish or bird doses from ebay or many vet supply companies (look for Fish Mox). Dose twice a day at 10-20 mg per pound (250 mg twice a day for a working terrier).


Buenzlihund said...

Thanks for the post. I wish people wouldn't be just so addicted to fear. Lyme is still very much the disease de jour and I always love to remember the day my friend called in ill because she had gotten a tick-vaccine. She felt horrible for almost two whole weeks but in her own words felt "very relieved knowing now she was safe" -we were about to go on a weeklong trail tour with our horses. I reminded her the vaccine wasn't for Lyme but TBE/ESME only. And that we were already living in a high risk area for Lyme whereas TBE is extremely rare. She ignored blissfully.
Years ago I spent some time camping out in a woody area known for it's tick density and high Ltme risk. We literally got to pick dozens of miniscule to grown ticks off our arms and legs every noon and evening. For days. None of us came down with symptoms or an illness. Statistically we should have.

And the thing with the rash... my current dog is somewhat allergic to the tick bite itself. Any bite creates a pretty nasty deep red to purple area some way down the blood stream. I could treat him for Lyme endlessly if I went to see a vet for this. ... as a mostly white dog these spots shine through beautifully. But I'm just too hard to scare so we had the chance to figure out it was a reaction to the tick only and not to the Lyme bacteria. Pull the tick -redness will be gone half a day later.

Lyme in horses... great scam. Wonderful business oportunity. Ideal patient who is made and kept miserable with very little effort and a owner who is ready to shill out hundreds after hundreds for mere check-up visits and everything that might turn up on those visits in addition.

Good thing summer is almost over now. ;)

tuffy said...

just because they found Lyme Spirochetes, doesn't mean this frozen man had Lyme Disease. i don't know if they found signs of the disease (like endocarditis or renal disease) in the remains, but as you suggested, exposure doesn't mean disease...