Letter to the Editor: Healthcare professionals take note

2 mins read

There seems to be an alarming lack of awareness/attentiveness about tick-borne diseases on the part of medical authorities. My husband recently contacted his doctor with a fever, aches, chills and no other symptoms. He reported having had lots of ticks he casually removed. No, he had not noticed an inflated tick, but he noted that there have been 4 cases of anaplasmosis in our neighborhood in 2 years.

The doctor gave him a prophylactic dose of doxycycline and did a tick panel, which is a lab test they send out, expecting results for Lyme in 3 weeks. A prophylactic dose (2 pills) is one to prevent the disease. He was already quite ill.

Fortunately (I guess), the result for anaplasmosis comes back more quickly – and he tested positive for that. The prophylactic dose had made him feel better within 12 hours, but 2 days passed before the test result and a full prescription. Isn’t this tempting the development of antibiotic resistance?

Having been infected with anaplasmosis (one of the diseases transmitted by deer ticks) 3 times in 2 years has alerted me to the dangers of untreated anaplasmosis, which include organ damage and even death. My husband had Lyme a few years ago and developed strange neurological symptoms because he was only tested on a hunch, months after he had experienced a random fever for a few days.

Around here, from early spring through fall, tick diseases like Lyme and anaplasmosis ought to be a health professional’s first thought when a fever and/or aches and chills are the only symptoms! Sure, a tick panel should be done, but meanwhile, give the patient antibiotics!

Cynthia Stancioff
Chesterville, Maine

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