One Week Until Peru!

The American Deer Tick, vector of Lyme Disease

Our research staff is heading to Peru next week.
There will be some Chagas’ research, but the main focus of this trip will be determining the prevalence of the vector-borne disease known as ehrlichiosis.
Unlike Chagas’ disease, infection with ehrlichia is spread by an arthropod that is well-known to Americans as the tick. Likewise, ehrlichia (which isn’t really one disease, but three–more on this later) is also present in the US. Here is the most up-to-date graph I could find on the web:

Annual cases of Ehrlichia in the US

A friend has said that there are too many ugly bug pictures on this blog. For her, I present this picture of Peru:

Somewhere over the rainbow, bugs may be hiding

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3 responses to “One Week Until Peru!

  1. now that’s a pretty picture! safe travels, Richard 🙂

  2. the bug pictures stay. they make people like me want to get rid of them. Alas, your team cannot go to machu pichu on an off day.

  3. Richard:
    Didn’t see an email for you, so hopefully you’ll get this message. I was down at my lodge in the Peruvian Amazon this past November. At the time, I got chewed up viciously my chiggers. But in retrospect, I suspect it may have been more than just chiggers. Long story short, upon my return to the states, came down with virulent flu-like symptoms including chills which nearly had me in convulsions that hurt my muscles and than an hour later a fever that would drench my blankets. All the other flu-like suspects as well. Even though I had been visiting the jungle for nearly 14 years, I had never been this ill before. Eventually, the symptoms went away and I didn’t give it much more thought. Fast forward. In December, noticed a ringing in my ears. In February, my left arm began to ache and was unable to lift it. At the same a mysterious rash appeared one night on both the left and ride side of my ribs right beneath my arms. No itch or pain, but looked like flea bites. But nowhere else on my body and my wife didn’t have any bites. Seemed odd, but after a few weeks it disappeared. But then the pain in my left arm migrated into my right arm. Also, a slight numbness on the left side of my face. Went to my GP and he told me I had rotator cuff injury and I should see a physical therapist. Wait, I’m not stupid. Where in the medical journals do they talk about rotator cuff injuries traveling from one arm to the other? None-the-less, I’ve since moved onto a neurologist who had had many MRIs performed, blood tests and most recently a spinal tap. Based upon my research, I’m starting to hypothesize that maybe I got bit by a tick in addition to all those chiggers…but I haven’t been able to find much in online literature that indicates there are ticks in the Amazon jungle, and if so, if they would carry lyme disease or a distant cousin of that? I’m at my wit’s end and my symptoms are getting worse. Do you think there’s any merit to my way of thinking? Thanks, Dan

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