I’ve always heard folks say that they hope for a cold winter so that there aren’t so many ticks the following summer. It sounded logical, and yet…never seems to work that way. Some of my older friends tell me that it actually did work that way, once upon a time!
So, in an example of mutualistic symbiosis (two species helping each other to survive) there is a tickborne infection called Anaplasma phagocytophilum which is increasing in incidence. Just like I wrote in The Symbiont Factor, bacteria seem to actively work at finding ways to exploit nature and survive better. In this case, it helps its host, the tick, to survive.
Researchers have found that ticks harboring A. phagocytophilum are less prone to freezing. The bacteria causes the tick to produce higher levels of a glycoprotein, IAFGP, which prevents freezing just like the etheylene glycol antifreeze in your car or truck.
Yes, the bacteria makes the tick produce ANTI-FREEZE…
This allows the tick to survive the winter, and also allows Anaplasma phagocytophilum to survive with it. It’s not good news for us humans, as it means that we now know one good reason why the tick population and rate of coinfections just keeps growing! It is, however, a great example of mutualism at work. It’s also an amazing example of how life adapts to the environment and finds a way to survive.
If you’d like to know what test can detect this organism, yes it’s one of the tests that I offer. Just three days ago I diagnosed someone having this infection! It requires very sensitive testing.
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Here’s a link to the test: https://www.neurodoc4u.com/product-page/lyme-tbrf-and-coinfections-all-in-one-test
And, here is a link to the study referenced above: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929727/