When ticks transmit dangerous pathogens

Lyme disease is a dangerous disease which is transmitted by ticks. Blood-sucking ticks ingest the agents that cause the disease – bacteria of the species Borrelia burgdorferi and its relatives – during a blood meal, and subsequently transmit them to the next victim they feast on, often a person. It is estimated that, in Western Europe, up to half of all ticks carry the bacteria. Although the early symptoms of the illness are quite mild, if left untreated, it can result in serious damage to the skin, the joints, the heart and the nervous system, and effective therapy becomes very difficult.

A team of researchers led by the veterinary bacteriologist Professor Reinhard Straubinger at LMU has now shown, in an animal model, that application of a gel containing the antibiotic azithromycin to the site of the bite rapidly terminates the infection. The efficacy of this local antibiotic therapy for the treatment of borreliosis in humans is now being tested in a Phase III clinical trial. In the meantime, though, patients must still undergo antibiotic treatment for several weeks and, in many cases, the drug must be administered intravenously – which is distressing not only for children.

Furthermore, treatment measures are often initiated on suspicion, because the bacteria are not detectable in the blood soon after one has been bitten by an infected tick.

"Our approach simply involves applying a transparent, self-adhesive plaster to the site of the wound," says Straubinger. "Because the plaster contains very little antibiotic, the effects are localized and side-effects are negligible."

More information: Evaluation of the preventive capacities of a topically applied azithromycin formulation against Lyme borreliosis in a murine model Jens Knauer, Inke Krupka, Christiane Fueldner, Jörg Lehmann, Reinhard Straubinger Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy online, 15. September 2011

Provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lingering bacteria don't indicate chronic Lyme disease

Apr 01, 2008

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, can linger in mouse tissues long after a full round of antibiotic treatment is completed, report researchers from the University ...

Lingering Bacteria Don't Indicate Chronic Lyme Disease

Mar 31, 2008

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, can linger in mouse tissues long after a full round of antibiotic treatment is completed, report researchers from the University ...

New Lyme disease test improves treatment for horses, dogs

Jun 17, 2011

Romping through summer fields seems like a harmless pleasure for dogs, horses and humans alike. But just one bite from the wrong tick can rob an animal of that pastime. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi catch rides with c ...

Recommended for you

ECOWAS trains health workers to fight Ebola

22 minutes ago

West Africa's regional bloc ECOWAS said on Sunday it will train 150 health workers this week to help tackle the deadly Ebola disease in the worst hit countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

10 hours ago

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, U.S. public health officials are girding for the next health disaster.

Can robots help stop the Ebola outbreak?

18 hours ago

The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola—a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light.

New bird flu case in Germany

18 hours ago

A worrying new strain of bird flu has been observed for the first time in a wild bird in northern Germany, the agriculture ministry said Saturday.

Mali announces new Ebola case

Nov 22, 2014

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

xznofile
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
this method seems better than the one I employ, but which is (so far) 100% effective: I'm allergic to tick bites and have been treated for lymes several times, the combo of the allergic reaction and antibiotic makes me useless for several days, so instead I cauterize the bite with a red hot nail. it leaves a scar anyway and takes just as long to heal, but costs nothing. an incense stick works too. Hold it about 1/16 inch above the bite till the skin cooks in a 1/4 inch diameter circle. (yes it hurts but it's better than the alternatives)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.