Archive for the ‘History of Lyme Disease’ Category

Elet Hall’s Further Success on American Ninja Warrior After a Long Battle with Lyme Disease

September 14, 2014

Congratulations to Smithsburg local Elet Hall, who has been recovering from chronic Lyme disease for several years. He was one of only two contestants to finish Stage 2 in the Las Vegas Finals shown on NBD on September 8, 2014. Even with Lyme disease causing him to be not 100% (according to his Facebook page), he finished the seemingly impossible Stage 2 course faster than the other finalist, Joe Moravsky. It is amazing to think that Elet Hall has been able to compete at all when you read about how this disease has impacted him in his daily life. According to an August 12, 2014 post on his Facebook page, he reports:

“While stretching one night I rested my neck on my foam roller and under light pressure I was able to feel a tingle in my face! It could move ever so slightly. After nearly 2 months I could finally get a tiny response. Over the next 2 weeks use of the left half of my face slowly returned to about 80%.

This was last year and I wish the overt symptoms were the worst I experienced. My memory is shot, I lack energy, and I walk around in a fog. My endurance and muscular recovery, which at this point in my training should not plague me, are regularly an issue. It often takes me 3 days to recover from 1 day of training, both mentally and physically. If I have a particularly exciting day I can expect to feel beat down, depressed and uncoordinated the next, a challenging outlook for an athlete.”

When we hear about the paralysis and other symptoms he describes, we are reminded why we are so passionate about killing the deer ticks that spread it. It’s one of the reasons we wanted to get into the outdoor pest control business in the first place. We wanted to help spare people from the horrors he describes. Oddly, everybody’s symptoms can be different. Some doctors have reportedly told people they had Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when it was really Lyme. We can’t even imagine attempting that Stage 2 course with any of those conditions. Some same champions compete even when injured. Elet Hall has shown he has the heart of a champion.

If you watched the finals you may have noticed that Brian Arnold, the American who has gone the furthest on Stage 3 of the finals course leading to Mount Midoriyama, purposefully waited until the last second to push the buzzer when he finished Stage 1. Arnold’s strategy was to complete Stage 2 early enough to allow his body to rest before attempting Stage 3. Meanwhile, Elet Hall ran through Stage 1 seconds faster than everybody else. The result: Arnold was second to run in Stage 2. Arnold admitted that was a mistake as it did not give him time to study other contestants’ difficulty with the dangling ropes obstacle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Elet Hall was the final contestant to run Stage 2. Then, surprisingly, Elet Hall had to go first on Stage 3, giving him no time to rest after he had just completed the grueling Stage 2. Meanwhile, Joe Moravsky was closer to the middle of the pack and had more time to rest before Stage 3. Moravsky made it further on Stage 3 than Hall. Perhaps if Elet Hall had not been battling Lyme over the past few years he would have completed Stage 2 in prior years and picked a strategy closer to the Moravsky strategy; give yourself time to watch others attempt the course and to rest after you finish Stage 2.

If you visit Elet Hall’s Facebook Page, he also offers his tips for managing his chronic Lyme disease.

“My essentials for continuing to progress as an Lyme athlete:
1. Proper hydration to stave off muscle cramps and numbness/tingling in my fingers and toes when I become acutely dehydrated. I drink a gallon of water a day.
2. Eating clean. I don’t follow a specific diet plan but in order to reduce inflammation it’s important to keep track of what foods help you manage it. I eat mostly fruits and veggies, rice and beans, chicken, and eggs. Dairy doesn’t affect my inflammation but refined sugar and red meat do.
3. Sleep! Get enough! how much is up to you (sic). If at all possible I try to take a quick nap before 1 pm. I feel almost like my old self in the few hours following this. It’s so important to get enough sleep to help our overtaxed CNS to recover.
4. Supplementation- I use a lot of supplements and to what Ive (sic) found is a good effect. I’ve looked over the studies regarding most of them and experimented personally to find what does and doesn’t work for me.”

Elet would often practice in Frederick, Maryland’s Baker Park. Congratulations again Elet, and we hope to see you training in Baker Park and the gorgeous mountain ranges near your home.


Tufts University Scientists Warn of a “Tick Boom” This Summer

July 3, 2014

nymph tick in frederick marylandWSET news published on June 23, 2014 an article discussing a stern warning from Tufts University scientists about the potential for a “tick boom” this summer. The jump in the tick population is attributed to abundant snow and a wet spring, which created ideal conditions for this tick boom. According to Tuft’s Professor Sam Telford, “the large amounts of snow this winter acts like a blanket to protect ticks. Plus the wet spring kept ticks from drying out.” The most concerning aspect of the impending tick boom is that it especially applies to the type of ticks that carry Lyme Disease.

frederick maryland tick controlAccording to another article, “June and July are the peak season for the tiny, hard to see nymph ticks which are believed to be the main vector for transmitting Lyme Disease”. The larger issue with the nymph tick is the size of the bug itself. The nymph tick can be especially hard to locate and it is possible to have a nymph tick on your body the size of a comma and, therefore, overlooked as being a freckle, or speck of dirt. Because of this, it is very important to check your body daily. With the expected explosion in the tick population imminent, protecting yourself from ticks should be the primary concern.

There’s nothing like a tick boom to inevitably lead to an uptick in Lyme disease. Adding to the difficulty on reporting the statistical analysis of Lyme Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that “only 10% of the people infected with Lyme disease are accurately diagnosed”. In Maryland in 2013 there were 1,194 cases of Lyme Disease reported, however, the CDC estimates actual cases in Maryland were approximately 11,000. The need for tick control is higher now more than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control homeowners should “Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home” to protect from ticks in your yard. If you have any questions or concerns related to tick control and how to protect you and your family from ticks, give Mosquito Squad of Frederick a call at (301) 263-7220 or email us at

Role Birds Play in Transmitting Lyme Disease

February 27, 2012

In a previous post, we mentioned that Maryland is one of the states where residents are at a high risk of getting Lyme Disease.  A 2009 study done at Yale University and reported by concludes that birds help to spread the Lyme Disease bacteria.  How does this happen?  Ticks infected with Lyme Disease–Yale concludes that at least 20% of all deer ticks carry the Lyme Disease bacteria–feed on birds that walk on the ground. As the birds scavage for food, ticks crawl on and bite them.  The birds then migrate to other areas of the country where the tick falls off ready to spread the disease to other mammals. reports:  “The researchers found that I. scapularis (black-legged ticks) most consistently parasitizes bird species such as thrushes, brown thrashers, wrens and wood warblers….

Lyme disease can cause severe health problems, including arthritis, nervous system abnormalities and irregular heart rhythm. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with the number of reported human infections doubling between 1992 and 2006.”

The Yale 2009 findings corroborate findings made in 1989 by other researchers in a published article entitled Lyme Disease and Migrating Birds  in the Saint Croix River Valley, Weisbrod and Johnson, Appl. Environ. Microbiology, 1989, 55(8) 1921-1924. In that study the authors contend that 22.4% of the deer ticks they encountered were infected with Borrelia Burgdorferia, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.  They conclude their article by saying “Our data corroborate previous observations that migratory birds are important agents in the dispersal of tick-borne diseases (13, 14, 24) and support the suggestion (2, 7) that the widespread distribution of B. burgdo.feri is a function of dispersal by tick-infested birds.” points out that deer play a role in keeping the tick population alive, but not in spreading the disease.  Most people do not know that White-tailed deer have blood that is immune to the Lyme Disease bacteria.  That means deer do not spread the  disease, but they do provide a blood meal for deer ticks and help their population grow.

In short, we need to be aware that Lyme Disease can be easily found anywhere where birds, deer, or other wildlife can be found.

History of Lyme Disease

July 13, 2010

I recently read this article about Lyme Disease.  It chronicles one woman’s journey after discovering she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease.  The article is in Yankee Magazine.  To read the article, click here.   I think this article is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the disease.  It presents a theory about the origin of Lyme in the United States that differs from some other theories I have heard.  In this article, the author talks about Lyme being traced, allegedly, to a US biological factory near Long Island, NY.  The article suggests that Lyme originated there and was spread through the Atlantic Flyway by birds to areas like Lyme, Connecticut, the town the disease is named after.  In other sources, I have read that Lyme disease is believed to have existed prior to its approxiamtely 1975 discovery date in Lyme.  To learn about that theory, I would suggest watching a movie called Under Our Skin.   The article does a good job of explaining the political controversy around this disease.  Many doctors are afraid to diagnose the disease, but one thing is clear deer ticks are responsible for transmitting the corkscrew shaped bacteria to humans. 

One thing is clear, you want to stay away from this disease.   The article suggests that an island in New England reduced its Lyme disease by completely eliminating its deer population.  This would make it clear that if you live near deer, you are at risk of being infected.