Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tick Blog

I've been neglecting this blog lately. Actually I've been feeling a teeny tiny bit better for the last couple of weeks, and with that little bit of extra energy to use beyond eating and showering, I've been collecting info for... hm... my new Tick Blog. Hopefully I won't get in trouble for the liberty with which I've taken very large quotes out of government publications. I haven't quite gotten to finding data on ticks for all of California yet... but most of the Bay Area.

Because, do you hear doctors (and other people) say that you can't get Lyme disease in California, and here in the Bay Area? I think about 19 of 20 doctors I've seen said so. Only one of them actually had looked up the facts.

"Where does she live?... here in the Bay Area? Then it shouldn't be Lyme disease."

"Have you been to the East Coast, New York, Massachusetts, etc.?"


Wonder, where do doctors (or other so-called experts on any topic) get their information from? Have they even bothered to look up any data or information before spewing their expert "knowledge"? Did they get their information from overhearing some other uninformed doctor say the same thing, and thus continue spreading the myth? Does "can't happen here" just mean the doctor or whoever just doesn't know any information on the topic and hasn't bothered to find out that it can happen here?

So anyways, almost every Bay Area county has been for many years conducting tick surveys with regard to infection with Lyme disease bacteria, and publishes the data on the Web. (Wow, where a doctor could just look it up with a few clicks if he or she bothered to know something before talking?!)

The average tick infection rate for the Bay Area is 2-3%, with data ranging up to 14% (that I've seen so far). The chances of being bitten by a tick, multiplied by 2-3%, is at least greater than the chances of winning the lotto jackpot. But even winning the lotto is possible in California! And if you have already been bitten by a tick, your chances are higher than getting E. coli from a bag of spinach. Some people I know pick up several ticks each when they go hiking.

A lot of the data is collected from big parks, but really, does a tick or the deer, mice, and lizards that they feed on care if a blade of grass is in an open space preserve or in your backyard? Some counties did collect data from smaller parks and roadsides in the middle of suburbia.

So if this is doctors' attitudes on Lyme disease and tick infection rates, sometimes you have to wonder if doctors know what they're talking about with regard to any other medical issue. Having 90-something percent of doctors think it is okay to BS and not be aware that they are BS-ing from a void of knowledge, is pretty scary.


Lady M said...

I'm surprised that the doctors are so unbelieving. I guess they're right that we have to own healthcare knowledge ourselves and not rely on doctor to know it all.