Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@SSNET.COM)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 06:49:16 -0500
Well, it took awhile, but there is now a page set on tick-borne illness
(TBI) and its prevention available as part of the Gaelic Wolf Scouting
Pages. There are ticks in every part of the world where people live, and
where ticks go, TIBs come along for the ride. We are all at risk.
There was once a mystery illness that really put people down in the
western areas of North America that was only a few decades ago finally
tracked down as to its source. That disease is now known as Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
More recently, a whole combination of symptoms that were misdiagnosed as
other illnesses was discovered to be what we now know as Lyme disease,
the Great Imitator. Lyse is carried by the Ixodes scapularis (also known
as Ixodes dammini) tick. Around here, we call this the deer tick, but it
is also known as the bear tick in some areas. In Europe, it's called the
sheep tick and the wood tick. I. scapularis gets around!
More recently, there are two varieties of a disease called erlichiosis
that is becoming known as a cause of illness in people. Most varieties
of erlichiosis affect animals other than humans, but it would appear
that we are joining the party.
These emerging diseases can be treated, but the treatment is much more
easily accomplished when the disease is diagnosed early. Unfortunately,
Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose, since there isn't a
specific lab test for it, and even if there were, the disease is so
variable in presentation that the diagnose would still be missed quite
Early diagnosis of Lyme disease can make the difference between four to
six weeks of oral medication and several weeks in hospital with
intravenous antibiotics running into your body from a bag hanging from a
However, if you collect and preserve the tick, it can be shipped to a
lab that will determine whether or not it was carrying any of the
disease-causing organisms we are concerned with. The peace of mind that
comes from knowing if the tick that bites you is something to worry
about is well worth the effort of collecting and shipping it.
The page set includes resources from LymeNet, including papers on
pediatric neurologic Lyme disease and the most current diagnosis and
treatment protocols that you can take to your physician if he or she is
not familiar with Lyme disease.
In Scouting, we are frequently in tick-rich territory, where anywhere
between 1% and more than 90% of the ticks will be carrying things we do
not want. We need to know what we can do to prevent TBIs - but more
importantly, we need to apply that knowledge.
Drop by the Gaelic Wolf Scouting Pages and check this out in detail.
Print the pages out and take them with you to Roundtable or whatever
other Leaders' meetings you go to. Our URL is:
I've added a what's new section at the top of the home page to speed
things along when you get there. Let me know how you like the eagle, eh?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City