I said in Monday’s post (about the CDC changing its estimate of Lyme disease diagnoses in the US, raising it 10-fold from 30,000 new cases per year to 300,000) that there has been a run of recent news about other tickborne diseases. If you are someone who loves the outdoors — or even, you know, your back garden — it’s important to pay attention to such research, because these diseases are just becoming known and thus are often not recognized by physicians. Which means, of course, that someone who has the misfortune to contract one might be misdiagnosed, might be given antibiotics that won’t work against the organism, or might even be dismissed as malingering.
The most recent and saddest piece of news: Joseph Osumbe Elone, a 17-year-old high school student from Poughkeepsie, NY, died earlier this month from what is believed to have been an infection with Powassan virus, one of these lesser-known tickborne diseases. According to his family, he had been mildly ill for several weeks, with a cough but no striking symptoms, and collapsed and died Aug. 4.