Yale researchers have discovered a tick-borne illness so new to people in the United States that it doesn’t have a common name.
The actual size of the adult tick is only the size of an apple seed. The young deer tick is the size of a poppy seed. Photo by Geoffrey Attardo
The new bacterial infection is spread by the same deer tick that causes Lyme disease and causes a recurring fever, muscle aches, fatigue and, sometimes, a rash and neurological problems.
Using blood tests, researchers have found evidence of infection in 18 cases in southern Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. They estimate that the infection can found in 1 percent of the population in areas where Lyme disease is found.
There are currently no tests available for the illness. So far, patients have responded well to a short course of doxycycline, the antibiotic used to treat Lyme disease, said Peter Krause, a senior research scientist at Yale School of Public Health who worked on the study.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will unveil a plan to dramatically shift the way seniors and people with disabilities receive services by increasing the availability of home care while offering funds for the nursing home industry to eliminate beds and change their business models, according to documents obtained by The Mirror.
The effort has significant implications for the state’s growing population of seniors and for Connecticut’s finances. More than 10 percent of the state’s budget is now spent on long-term care paid for through Medicaid, and the number of people getting the services is expected to rise by more than 20 percent by 2025.
The plan is the product of more than a year of work by state officials, consumers, advocates, and the home care and nursing home industries, and builds on more than a decade of policy goals. It is intended to address several major barriers that policymakers say make it significantly harder to get care at home than to get a bed in a nursing home.
Those include a fragmented system of getting coverage for home care, workforce shortages, the lack of accessible and affordable housing and transportation, and the discharge of patients from hospitals to nursing homes, where they often stay.
Whooping cough, a childhood scourge in the 1940s, has had a resurgence in Connecticut as part of a national epidemic.
The outbreak peaked in Connecticut in September with 178 cases reported in 2012, though numbers are still coming in. This is a big increase from 68 cases last year, and roughly double the normal caseload for the state, said Kathy Kudish, epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Health.
“Compared to the last decade, this is the highest number of cases we’ve seen,” Kudish said.
Many of the cases were reported in the western part of the state, predominantly in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, Kudish said. She said it is unclear precisely why that area had higher numbers. It could be that the disease is circulating more there or simply that the area is better about testing for and reporting the illness, she said.
As part of a study of the extent of pesticide contamination of private wells, the Westport Weston Health District, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, is offering to collect and have tested 10 homes in Westport and 10 homes in Weston, free of charge.
Homes selected for the study should have been built before 1980 and may have undergone pesticide applications to control termites, according to an announcement on the Town of Westport website.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is conducting similar sampling of private wells in other municipalities throughout Connecticut, an announcement said.
Test results will be provided to each participating homeowner with a letter explaining the meaning of the results with suggestions as to how to correct any problems identified.
A medical care facility, Westport Urgent Care, a division of MedExcel, opens on Monday at 1045 Post Road East, according to Linda DiLorenzo, executive director. She said the walk-in facility is not an emergency room but will treat any nonlife threatening condition including performing physicals, administering vaccines and tending to acute health conditions. Its three physicians include Deborah Mogelof, Scott Herman, and Tabitha Fortt. Office manager Jackie Demeter has been associated with Westport Family Health for 14 years. Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the office can be reached at (203)557-8200. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
About 75 persons tonight attended a Westport Public Library screening of the film “Head Games” that describes the increasing awareness of the concussion crisis in American sports. Westporter Ann Sherwood, whose child suffered a concussion, gets a show of hands after asking the audience, “How many of you here tonight are parents?” Pippa Bell Ader, an organizer of the evening’s event, said her 16-year-old son, a high school sophomore, suffered a concussion playing touch football. She said the purpose of the screening was “to improve concussion awareness, to understand the dangers of repetitive concussions and the need for safety practices.” Ader said the film can be acquired on iTunes for $6.99. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thanks to the hard work of several parents, Westport tonight will be one of the first communities to view “Head Games,” which organizers describe as a “revealing documentary about the silent concussion crisis in American sports.” It will be shown at 7 p.m at the McManus Room of the Westport Public Library.
It is directed by Steve James, an Academy Award-nominee for “Hoop Dreams” and “The Interrupters.”
In the film, athletes from the professional to the youth levels share their personal struggles in dealing with the devastating and long-term effects of concussions, an epidemic fueled by the “leave everything on the field” culture so prominent in American sports, a news release said.
Released on Sept. 21, the film is currently showing in select major cities across the country. It lasts 90 minutes and there will be a short discussion following.
UPDATE A medical care facility, Westport Urgent Care run by MedExcel, will open at 1045 Post Road East, between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1, a company spokeswoman said today. She said the facility is not an emergency room but will treat any nonlife threatening condition including performing physicals, administering vaccines and tending to acute health conditions. The hours will be Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Privately-owned MedExcel was founded by Dr. Anthony Ruvo who “hand-selected Westport as the first MedExcel Urgent Care location in Connecticut,” the spokeswoman said. The company currently has urgent care facilities in New York and New Jersey. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), said today “it was only a matter of time” before mosquitoes trapped in Westport tested positive for the West Nile virus, and he urged residents to take a series of precautions.
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced that mosquitoes tested positive in 32 towns including Westport. (See WestportNow Aug. 7, 2012)
“With the frequent rains and hot temperatures, there are perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and West Nile Virus to amplify within the mosquito population,” Cooper said. “This is something that happens every year.”
To prevent mosquito bites, Cooper suggested residents wear clothing that covers skin surfaces, use mosquito repellents and “eliminate any pool of water that mosquitoes can lay their eggs in around their home or business.”