Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Tick Tock Man, Jellybean.

Years ago I was treated for the "bullseye" rash that appeared around a tick bite that had gotten under my belt-line while doing a walkover survey for archaeology evaluation in North Bellport, NY on Long Island, where I once won a summer parks job in 1976 in a lottery to show the Republicans were not practicing a "nepotism" for summer jobs. In other archaeology work I have momentarily sat down in the earliest of spring in nearby East Patchogue, no foliage had yet appeared, to write a note and walked away with 20 or so ticks, picked off on the way to lunch by the crew. It is a growing problem on Long Island, one photographer for the National Geographic mag actually died from and so too a young boy here in the Bronx, NY a number of years ago. I have watched some of the activities around it, one of five tick borne illnesses, my neighbor, later a science teacher in the schools, had Rocky Mountain spotted fever which laid him up for a year as a youth. His father said he thought it was from the last cattle drive that used to stop nearby, a local saddlery "Whitey's" then in Centereach, NY in Suffolk County, which by the way has a steer on its seal and a book of cattle brands that stretches back to the 1600s. It's also where the "ranch system" started it's stated. Recently one of its first murder cases ever to have happened on Shelter Island, on the east end of Long Island, is attributed to "Lyme disease" in the defense.
One alarming development reported in New Jersey by an active organization, was the report from an autopsy, the subject volunteered his body for its study, found that though it was thought to have been treated and "cured" a large number of the spirochetes were found in the 50s year old male's heart muscle where they were "hidden" from normal testing as used. It was almost like the scary "heartworm" that sometimes attacks pets, though those are much much larger, if you've ever seen the examples at the veterinarians. Which by the way thanks to a courageous woman who collected "Lyme disease" symptoms from animal vets went on to show that it is also present in California.
It's thought that it's vector had come from the raising of sheep on the then cleared off Nantucket Island, MA and had been known to locals as a sheep carried illness in Scandinavia. The sheep landed in Connecticut are thought to have been the carriers. An experiment with tiny parasitic wasps, natural predators of ticks, was conducted in the 1930s on "No-mans Island" and showed a reduction of the tick population of 50%.
My own personal reaction was to show the interns at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital ER, where a flower arrangement is placed every day in memory of George Balanchine, American choreographer as a favor to my doctor and later experience an extreme case of itching that a saw a dermatologist for and hope I have gotten it out of my system now twenty years later. It helped explain a previous "we don't know some sort of blood infection" I was treated for twenty years before 1989 while in high school on Long Island. Others have voiced their multiple contacts with it in prior contacts. I have also read that they think native Americans have developed an immunity to it evidenced in the study of very old bones found in Louisiana.

No comments: