Lyme/TBI in Oklahoma
Oklahoma offers a unique opportunity for those researchers studying tick populations and tick-borne diseases. Due to our short lived and mostly mild winters, Oklahoma provides a strong tick population year round. In recent years, both OU and OSU have been the beneficiaries of research grants and endowments to study ticks, the diseases they carry and transfer to humans, and the development of a possible vaccine.
These ideal factors for the researchers means bad news for public health.
Oklahoma has lead the nation in reported cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) for the last several years. Scientific research has demonstrated that in many cases, an individual tick can carry multiple disease-causing pathogens that can be transferred to humans in a single tick bite. This single tick bite causes a bacterial infection(s) that spreads throughout the human body and can be life threatening. When more than one pathogen (bacteria organism) is passed into the human body it causes 'co-infections' and adds to the complexity of diagnosis and treatment.
This increasing phenomenon has created a pattern that is emerging not only in Oklahoma but across the country. The three most commonly involved diseases are Lyme/Masters' disease (borreliosis), Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis. Within the medical community the term 'Tick Triad' has been coined to identify the presence of these co-infections.
What the public and medical professionals in Oklahoma don't know!
The challenge in Oklahoma, as with other like states where outdoor activities play a large roll in tourism dollars, is that state officials don't want to be known for tick-borne illnesses. This is highlighted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health's (DOH) official position that "Lyme Disease doesn't exist in Oklahoma", even though numerous studies and researchers state the contrary.
It is only logical to conclude that if we lead the nation in RMSF cases, many Oklahomans could unknowningly be suffering from one or more tick-borne illnesses that the DOH refuses to acknowledge or report.
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Okla Lyme History Pack: 139pgs of background info, studies & research