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Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

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Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby Martian » Thu 26 Jun 2008 0:17

On the Dutch Lymeforum a man tells that his 9 months old baby has been chewing on an engorged female Ixodes Ricinus tick. The tick was 1 cm and probably engorged with blood from their cat.

The questions that arise are: is transmission of pathogens possible this way? What to do in such a case?

The only action I could come up with was that he could test the tick (or what is left of the tick.. :shock: ).

Have such kind of transmissions ever been studied?
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Re: Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby Claudia » Thu 26 Jun 2008 0:48

Martian,

What a disturbing situation. Here's what I found quickly, I'll keep searching, but I think the answer will be yes, it is possible:

For pathogens transmitted by biting vectors, one of the fundamental assumptions is often that vector bites are the sole or main route of host infection. Here, we demonstrate experimentally a transmission route whereby hosts (red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus) became infected with a member of the tick-borne encephalitis virus complex, louping ill virus, after eating the infected tick vector. Furthermore, we estimated from field observations that this mode of infection could account for 73-98% of all virus infections in wild red grouse in their first season. This has potential implications for the understanding of other biting vector-borne pathogens where hosts may ingest vectors through foraging or grooming.


http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articl ... id=1810039



American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH) is a tick-borne disease that is spreading in the southeastern and south-central United States. Characterized by marked leukocytosis and periosteal bone proliferation, ACH is very debilitating and often fatal. Dogs acquire infection by ingesting nymphal or adult Gulf Coast ticks (Amblyomma maculatum) that, in a previous life stage, ingested the parasite in a blood meal taken from some vertebrate intermediate host.

http://cmr.asm.org/cgi/content/full/16/4/688
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Re: Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby LymeEnigma » Thu 26 Jun 2008 1:19

DO NOT use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin, e.g. Close to the fingernail.
http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/ticks.htm

I have heard of more than one tick-borne illness being transmittable through the skin via the blood and other fluids of a crushed tick. How scary to find a baby eating an engorged female! They should get the tick tested, if they can, because I'd say the baby is at risk for whatever that little bugger may have been carrying....
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Re: Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby Cobwebby » Thu 26 Jun 2008 3:16

Oral health: A window to your overall health
Gum disease can let bacteria enter your bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere in your body. Or sometimes, signs of a disease may first show up in your mouth.
While the eyes may be the window to the soul, your mouth is a window to your body's health. The state of your oral health can offer lots of clues about your overall health. Oral health and overall health are more connected than you might realize.

Your oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond your mouth. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in your mouth. In other cases, infections in your mouth, such as gum disease, can cause problems in other areas of your body. Learn more about this intimate connection between oral health and overall health.

The connection between oral health and overall health
Your mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. Usually you can keep these bacteria under control with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing. Saliva is also a key defense against bacteria and viruses. It contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways. But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection.

When your gums are healthy, bacteria in your mouth usually don't enter your bloodstream. However, gum disease may provide bacteria a port of entry into your bloodstream. Sometimes invasive dental treatments can also allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. And medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth may also lead to oral changes, making it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Some researchers believe that these bacteria and inflammation from your mouth are linked to other health problems in the rest of your body.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001
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Re: Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby Cobwebby » Thu 26 Jun 2008 3:27

I just know from personal experience if something I think is particularly germy gets in my mouth I gargle right away with Listerine -for as long as I can stand it.
The greater part of our happiness or misery
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and not on our circumstances.
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Re: Can eating or chewing on a tick infect one with pathogens?

Postby cave76 » Thu 26 Jun 2008 15:13

I must have the same disease as cobby---I 'posted' last night, but evidently wasn't logged on. Or something.

*****Have such kind of transmissions ever been studied?*****

PubMed has an abstract about infection through the conjunctiva.

If there's one abstract there's probably more.

Dr Katzel (in CA) used to get on my case (nicely but firmly) when he found out I was removing ticks from dogs/horses with bare hands. (Before I knew all the possible ways to get infected.)

Since the baby is so young, I wouldn't know if treating with abx preemptively is safe. (Third Man should be satisfied with that! :D)

I hope the parents can find someone to help. Testing the tick would possibly help, but I can't say that any test is that good.

Keep us up to date. How awful for the child and the parents!!!!!
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