Super Awesome Science Show: Ticked off by Lyme

On this week’s Super Awesome Science Show, we’re talking about Lyme disease. It’s caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia and it can have some pretty nasty symptoms, including fever, fatigue, and joint pain. Worse, it may have the ability to stick around and cause people years of pain ranging from arthritis to neurological discomfort and even heart problems.

As for how it’s spread, Lyme disease comes from the bite of a tick. There’s been an explosion of cases over the last decade, and in some areas of the country, ticks have replaced mosquitoes as public health enemy No. 1.


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We’ll take a closer look at the bacterium behind the disease and how to help you stay safe. Our first guest is George Chaconas, a professor at the University of Calgary and an expert on the bacterium behind this disease. For years, he was a Canada Research Chair on the condition formally known as Lyme Borreliosis. We explore how the infection progresses in the body and manages to escape our immune system. We also get into the potential for resistance and long-term effects on the body.

WATCH: Ticks are spreading across Canada. Here are their new homes

The bacterium is known as a spirochete, which means it looks like a corkscrew. This is similar to another bacterium that causes a more known illness, syphilis. We talk with Chaconas about the similarities between the two and how this may help us understand how to diagnose and possibly treat Lyme disease more effectively.


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In our SASS Class, we find out how to avoid Lyme disease through prevention. We talk with Katie Clow, a veterinarian and assistant professor at the University of Guelph. She’s been studying how humans and pets can avoid getting bitten by a tick and shares her knowledge with us. Her tips will help you to stay safe when you’re out enjoying grassy and wooded areas.

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Contact:

Twitter: @JATetro
Email: thegermguy@gmail.com

Guests:

George Chaconas
Web: https://www.ucalgary.ca/bprg/chaconas

Katie Clow
Web: https://katieclow.com/
Twitter: @KatieClow1

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  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

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