The Rip Van Wrinkler, XXV, Issue 4, November 2021

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1. Lyme Disease study.

2. Harnasses, again.

3 WASH their bowls.

Drug treatment for Lyme disease could lead to its eradication.

Cultura Creative RF/Alamy

The discovery that a chemical is deadly to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease but harmless to animals might allow the disease to be eradicated in the wild.

Lyme disease is well-positioned to be eradicated,” says Kim Lewis at Northeastern University in Boston. “We are gearing up, the first field trial will be next summer".

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that lurks in wild mice. Ticks that feed on the mice become infected and can infect other animals, including people.

The disease is a growing problem in North America, Europe and Asia. It initially causes a characteristic “bullseye” rash and a flu-like illness. If untreated, it can lead to serious long-term problems, such as Lyme arthritis.

At present, it is treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline that kill a wide range of bacteria. However, this disrupts the gut microbiome, causing symptoms such as diarrhoea, and can also lead to more antibiotic resistance.

Now, Lewis’s team has found that a compound called hygromycin A is completely harmless to animals and has little effect on most bacteria, but is extremely deadly to spirochaete bacteria such as B. burgdorferi.

Spirochaete bacteria have a corkscrew shape that enables them to burrow into tissues. They also cause diseases such as syphilis, says Lewis. “They are pretty nasty pathogens.”

In animal tests, the team didn’t observe any harmful effects of hygromycin no matter how high the dose. “It is unusually safe,” says Lewis.

A company called FlightPath is now filing in the US for the initial go-ahead
required before the chemical can be tested in people.


If you're going to use a harness -

PLEASE only use a non restrictive harness & realize they are designed for leaning into and pulling without causing harm (think about growth plates in youngsters). They are not meant to replace proper loose leash training.