The opening of summer camps for the first time in two years is good news for children across America. Unfortunately, it’s also good news for deer ticks, which now have a whole new population to prey upon and to potentially spread infectious Lyme disease.
To help camp directors and counselors heighten their awareness of this issue, a public service campaign has been launched by Quidel Corporation, the nation’s leading developer of rapid Lyme disease testing. The campaign includes printed educational materials being sent to camps around the country; information shared on social media platforms; and other components all built around education, prevention and mindfulness of the dangers of Lyme disease.
“Lyme disease is one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the country, affecting as many as 476,000 Americans of all ages annually,” said Judi Tilghman, Ph.D., vice president of technology assessment at Quidel Corporation. “Lyme disease occurs when people are bitten by an infected deer tick. The spirochetes from the bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi have the ability to burrow between bones, cells, joints and a person’s central nervous system and can lead to serious, life-threatening problems if not caught early. That’s why it is so important to take proper precautions, know the warning signs of Lyme disease, and test immediately if Lyme disease is suspected.”
The educational materials produced by Quidel and sent to summer camps remind camp directors that there are a number of things they can do to help protect both staff and campers and minimize the chance of catching Lyme disease. These include:
- “Tick proofing” the campsite by clearing brush and leaves and mowing the lawn regularly.
- Sticking to trails and avoid walking through low bushes or long grass when on hikes or simply out exploring.
- Wearing long pants, shirts, a hat and gloves when in wooded areas.
- Applying lavender oil or insect repellants on legs, arms and any bare skin before heading out.
- Upon returning to the campsite, everyone should check their entire body for ticks, including low-visibility areas such as the groin, underarms and the back of the neck.
- Showering right away using a washcloth to help remove unattached ticks.
- Putting all worn clothes in the dryer.
If a camper or staffer is suspected of having Lyme disease or displaying early symptoms, Quidel advises to get tested right away. As with all afflictions, the key is catching it early so effective treatment can begin as soon as possible. The Sofia® 2 Lyme FIA is the only POC test on the market. It is ideal for campsites because it can be performed right on-site by a nurse and provides indicative results within 15 minutes, as opposed to sending the test sample to an off-site lab and waiting days for results, which has historically been the norm (the longer the wait, the more time organisms have to spread and become systemic). It is also the only test that can get results from a simple finger prick of blood.
“The opening of summer camps is another positive indication of America slowly extricating itself from the coronavirus pandemic, and that’s something worthy of rejoicing,” said Dr. Tilghman. “Everyone wants to get outdoors and never more so than this year when so many of us have spent the past 15 months hunkered down in our own homes. We want all of our outdoor camps to have a wonderful summer this year but also to be smart by taking steps to avoid getting a tick bite in the first place and then testing immediately if there are signs that a camper or counselor may have contracted Lyme.”
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that has been reported in every state in the United States and in over 80 countries. Summer is the height of Lyme disease season and can strike anyone at any age. There are more new cases of Lyme disease in the United States than hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the West Nile virus combined. Unlike a mosquito bite where people know immediately if they have been bitten, one of the challenges with Lyme disease is that symptoms usually will not appear for two to six weeks and may appear in a low-visibility area of the body such as in hair, an underarm or groin. At that point, typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, weakness in the limbs and often a characteristic skin rash with a bull's-eye pattern (only 50% of patients will see a rash).
About Quidel Corporation
Quidel Corporation (Nasdaq: QDEL) is a leading manufacturer of diagnostic solutions at the point of care, delivering a continuum of rapid testing technologies that further improve the quality of health care throughout the globe. An innovator for over 40 years in the medical device industry, Quidel pioneered the first FDA-cleared point-of-care test for influenza in 1999 and was the first to market a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in the U.S. Under trusted brand names, Sofia®, Solana®, Lyra®, Triage® and QuickVue®, Quidel’s comprehensive product portfolio includes tests for a wide range of infectious diseases, cardiac and autoimmune biomarkers, as well as a host of products to detect COVID-19. With products made in America, Quidel’s mission is to provide patients with immediate and frequent access to highly accurate, affordable testing for the good of our families, our communities and the world. For more information about Quidel, visit quidel.com.