(Tracey Watson) Let’s be blunt: Western medicine will never really cure Lyme disease because the focus (like everything they do) is on symptoms, not the underlying cause. In fact, sadly, if you’ve been suffering with Lyme disease for some time, you’ve probably been labeled with a mental illness and largely ignored by conventionally-trained physicians. Related Antibiotics: […]
When you go outdoors this spring or summer, make sure you cover up and do what is necessary to repel insects. A report released last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that in the U.S., diseases spread by tick, flea, and mosquito bites more than tripled from 2004 to 2016. During that period, more than 640,000 cases of vector-borne diseases were reported. So, you should probably be careful this year, too. 
Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC, warned:
“People really do need to take this seriously.”
It was the first time the CDC has collectively examined the trends for diseases that are spread by insects. According to Petersen, the goal of the study was to gain a better understanding of growing burden of illnesses such as Zika, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus in the U.S.
The report, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows that the number of reported cases of vector-borne diseases increased from 27,388 cases in 2004 to more than 96,000 cases in 2016. Experts say that number might actually be much higher, partly because many infections go unreported and unrecognized. 
The increase in vector-borne diseases can largely be attributed to ticks and mosquitoes, the authors state in the report, with ticks being responsible for 77% of all reports. In fact, diseases caused by tick bites doubled during the time period, with Lyme disease accounting for 82% of all tick-borne disease reports. Fleas can spread disease, too, including the plague, but those numbers are considerably lower.
From 2004 to 2016, there were 9 insect-spread diseases reported in the U.S. and U.S. territories, including Zika, chikungunya, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus, and others.
“The data show that we’re seeing a steady increase and spread of tick-borne diseases, and an accelerating trend of mosquito-borne diseases introduced from other parts of the world. We need to support state and local health agencies responsible for detecting and responding to these diseases and controlling the mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas that spread them.”
The Rise in Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
Humans haven’t suddenly become more tasty to mosquitoes. The increase in mosquito-borne diseases is largely due to the fact that people are traveling and accessing different parts of the world on a growing scale, and diseases “hitch a ride” with them back to the U.S.
“All someone needs to do is pick up one of these viruses and fly back to the United States. If a local mosquito bites them, it can cause an outbreak. That’s what happened with Zika.”
Outbreaks of other diseases like West Nile virus tend to be triggered by climate and weather, with warmer weather coinciding with outbreaks.
Petersen explained that warmer temperatures can make mosquitoes get infected faster, and also make them more infectious. 
“The amount of virus in the mosquito increases, and when it bites you, more virus gets into you and the chances of you getting infected and becoming sick goes up.”
Wearing long sleeves and pants can prevent mosquito bites, but that’s not always feasible when it’s 95 degrees outside. Other methods of preventing mosquito bites include using an air-conditioner whenever possible, and patching holes in window and door screens. 
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, make sure there are no areas of stagnant, standing water near your home.
Increases in Tick-Borne Illnesses
More people are living in wooded areas these days, which could help explain the increase in tick-borne illnesses. There are more deer in the woods, and deer are a popular host for ticks. However, as wooded and rural areas are replaced with suburban neighborhoods, tick bites are becoming increasingly common.
The changing climate is also said to play a role in the increase in tick-borne diseases and the spread of the insects’ geographic range, which has steadily grown in the past 20 years.  
As temperatures have increased, ticks have been able to spread further north, putting more people at risk. Petersen said that “when the tick season is longer, people are exposed over longer periods.” 
“We desperately need to find new ways to deal with ticks and mosquitoes. We need better ways of controlling them and better diagnostic tools.” 
He added that the CDC is helping to provide funding for states to increase their ability to respond to emerging vector-borne diseases. Recently, the agency’s funding was increased to $8.3 billion for 2018.
Cover your ankles by wearing long pants and tucking them into your socks when you’re outdoors.
Do tick checks. You can’t always feel a tick bite, so it’s important to give yourself a once-over to make sure you don’t have a tick embedded in your skin or the tell-tale bullseye rash that comes with a tick bite.
Check your pets. Ticks can sicken your pets, too, and they can bring them into the house.
Ticks like long grass, so keep your grass mowed; create barriers between your yard and wooded areas with wood chips, mulch, or gravel; and remove wood piles, and stones where mice, chipmunks, and squirrels like to hide.
When hiking, stay on the center of the trail and avoid contact with vegetation.
There are commercial bug repellents on the market that can protect you from mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects as well – just know they are loaded with questionable chemicals.
Stevia, a highly-popular natural sugar substitute, may be good for more than just sweetening your coffee. Tests conducted by a Connecticut professor and her students showed that Stevia effectively treated Lyme disease. 
Professor Eva Sapi, chairwoman of University of New Haven’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science, and her students found that the liquid, whole-leaf Stevia extract prevented the tick-borne bacteria better than other antibiotics, including doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin.
Sapi’s original research was published in 2015 in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology, but Stevia as a defense against Lyme disease continues to impress.
“We believe that nature put Borrelia (the bacterial species which causes Lyme disease) on this planet and nature will provide a solution for it, too.”
“It was just after I got my first full-time position teaching and doing research at the University of New Haven, and I started experiencing dizziness, nausea and fatigue. I even started having some memory issues and some problems talking.” 
She went on to say:
“I was terrified to learn that not much is known about what is really working for this disease. That was my goal, I was on a mission, I mean when I recovered I promised myself that we find something.
Just because it works in a test tube doesn’t mean it’s going to work in a human body so we didn’t stop.” 
If not caught and treated in a timely manner, the effects of Lyme disease can be devastating, as they are often life-long. The disease can cause fatigue, headaches, high body temperature, other flu-like symptoms, and more. 
Fortunately, Sapi is in remission, and claims to have been treated by a variety of things, including a compound anti-microbiotic medicine, infrared sauna use, and an overall lifestyle change.
The study abstract actually concluded with:
“When Stevia and the three antibiotics were tested against attached biofilms, Stevia significantly reduced B. burgdorferi forms. Results from this study suggest that a natural product such as Stevia leaf extract could be considered as an effective agent against B. burgdorferi.”
Stevia is Being Studied for its Anti-Lyme Properties
Clinical trials of Stevia in human patients are currently being conducted in patients of Dr. Richard Horowitz, a doctor in Hyde Park, New York, who specializes in Lyme disease.
“They’re going well as far as I’m aware. I got an e-mail from one of Dr. Horowitz’s patients, who said it appears to be working.”
Horowitz confirmed that the trials are going well.
“My research is looking at a pool of 200 people with the disease, and based on what we’ve seen so far all symptoms seem to have significantly improved in the patients.”
Fascinatingly, other studies have shown that sugar “wakes up” dormant bacteria, called persisters. This was also part of Sapi’s inspiration for the experiment. Her research found that these persisters are protected by a biofilm, which allows it to lay dormant and keeps antibiotics from killing it.
“They are called sleepers and persisters because no combination of antibiotics were working, and there was no way to wake them up so they could be killed.”
The professor and her students then learned that Stevia has been used in Japan for centuries as a microbiotic agent.
“And every time we’ve tested it so far it’s worked, we just need to see the results from the chemical trials.”
Tens of thousands of people are stricken with Lyme disease every year, the majority of them in the northeast. In 2015, 95% of Lyme disease cases were documented in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics, but if clinical trial results further prove that Stevia is effective against the condition, it will mean patients have a better shot at being cured without the side effects and risks of antibiotics.