In the 1970s, a strange outbreak of joint pain occurred in LYME County in the United States. The suddenness of the epidemic and its relative geographical proximity to an army laboratory gave rise to a form of suspicion.
The issue has been around for many years and has recently returned to the forefront.
An amendment was tabled this summer before the US House of Representatives, it caused the opening of an investigation on the subject. The objective of elected officials is to know whether YES or NO the Pentagon has carried out experiments on ticks – between the 50s and 70s – in order to make them biological weapons and if some of these small animals escaped laboratories. In the viewfinder of the representatives, Lyme disease, a bacterial infection precisely transmitted by tick bites. Its growing spread in recent years worries the population across the Atlantic.
At present, at least three hundred thousand people have the disease in the United States.
In the 1970s, a strange outbreak of joint pain occurred in LYME County in the United States. The large number of cases – very localized – will give scientists the opportunity to better understand the link between symptoms and tick bites. And for the first time, they manage to precisely define an illness that they will name LYME.
But the suddenness of the epidemic and its relative geographical proximity to an army laboratory have from the beginning given rise to a form of suspicion. A suspicion regularly maintained by social networks and the publication of books on this theory.
Total fantasy or truth?
Maybe yes, the US military has been interested in these little beasts and we’ll see what the Pentagon will happen to reveal, but, in any case, it will not be necessary to mix this military information with biological and natural history of the disease.
It is enough to observe closer at its history to find that lyme disease has, in fact, always been present. Even OTZI, was already carrying the bacteria responsible for the disease. And in the history of medicine we find traces of the first precise descriptions of certain symptoms from the end of the nineteenth century. In 1922, two French doctors -Garin and Bujadoux- published a description of cases of paralysis more or less serious following the bite of a tick.
So the Lyme County epidemic – in the seventies – did not reveal an unknown disease at all: it simply made it easier to know and rename it.
But that does not explain why more and more people are affected?
It’s a fact: the number of cases has exploded in recent years. We went from 47,000 to 67,000 cases in France alone in one year. But no need to call the Men in Black so far.
In fact, the explosion of cases finds explanation from three main reasons:
-the first is mechanical: as we know the disease better, we diagnose it better and the reported cases increase.
-The second reason is related to climate change: we can even say that LYME disease is a perfect example of the consequences of the disruption of climate on our health. With warmer temperatures, humans are creating a kind of little paradise for ticks in North America and Europe. So that all goes well for them, temperatures should not go below ten degrees Celcius. Result; their period of activity now extends almost all year round. Whereas previously between November and March, doctors never or almost never saw any infection.
-Finally, the last reason is also linked to the action of man on the environment: by modifying the equilibrium between species, it has allowed the multiplication of animals that serve as tick vectors. As for example small rodents that swarm in some forests, lack of predators to chew. Which is a blessing for the spread of the disease: because who says more rodents, says more ticks in good shape and therefore more potential bites for walkers.
Humans who walk around in the open air also contribute to the multiplication of cases. So, if you intend to enjoy the latest beauty in the forest: forget shorts and short sleeves that are a real call to tick bite!
And remember, plants have ears, so make sure you ask them not to drop a tick on you during your next walk in the forest!