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Listen: Tick Bites and Avoidance

If you spend time outdoors or have pets that go outdoors; you need to be aware of ticks and tick bites. Dr. Doug MacQueen, infectious disease specialist,  discusses steps to avoid tick bites.

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Mild winter raises risk of Lyme disease infections

By Doug MacQueen, MD

The relatively mild winter of 2016-17 will mean our region will have more deer ticks spreading Lyme disease early this spring and throughout the summer and fall months. Sampling by the Tompkins County Health Department has shown about 20 percent of local deer ticks are infected with Lyme disease, a rate similar to areas of New York with high levels of Lyme infections. Cases of Lyme disease in county residents have grown steadily from seven in 2007 to 103 in 2014, the most current year available in a statewide study.

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Zika Virus Update

By Douglas MacQueen, MD

The Zika virus has been making national headlines and the World Health Organization has recently declared it to be an international public health emergency. There is no reason for residents living in upstate New York to fear an outbreak here. However, women who are pregnant or are in the process of trying to start a family should take certain travel precautions.

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West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease

By Douglas MacQueen, MD

There are currently two zoonotic diseases making the news, West Nile virus and Lyme disease. A zoonotic disease is one that can be passed from animals to humans.

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Using Antibiotics Responsibly

By Douglas MacQueen, MD

In the era of modern medicine, people are often surprised to learn that we have a limited number of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. The more often bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the more likely they are to become resistant to them, which renders them ineffective. There are ways of using antibiotics that decrease the risk of bacteria becoming resistant to them. It is important to consider these principles, both in coping with illness and in purchasing food for your table.

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Major Breakthrough in Treating Hepatitis C Virus

By Steven Rogers, MD

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved an extremely promising new treatment for hepatitis C virus. This new medication, sofosbuvir, marketed under the name Sovaldi, is considered a major breakthrough for two reasons: it is much more easily tolerated by patients than previous treatment protocols, and it has proven to be 80-90 percent effective in curing hepatitis C, representing a significant increase over previous approaches to treatment. Sofosbuvir, which works by blocking the ability of the hepatitis C virus to replicate, is a pill that is taken once a day. It received final approval in December 2013 and is available now locally.

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Lyme Disease Update

By Douglas MacQueen, MD

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to people by the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks obtain the bacteria after feeding on the blood of a small mammal or bird that is infected. An infected deer tick must be attached to you long enough to be full of blood to transmit Lyme disease.

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Zika Virus Update

By Douglas MacQueen, MD

The Zika virus has been making national headlines and the World Health Organization has recently declared it to be an international public health emergency. There is no reason for residents living in upstate New York to fear an outbreak here. However, women who are pregnant or are in the process of trying to start a family should take certain travel precautions.

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It’s Not Too Early to Prepare for Lyme Disease

By Doug MacQueen, MD

The most common infection carried by the deer tick in this region is Lyme disease. Winter weather is usually cold and snowy enough for a long enough period of time to keep deer ticks inactive. However this particular winter has been mild so we can expect to see cases of Lyme disease earlier in the spring and throughout the summer and fall months. Ticks are active any time the temperature is above 40 degrees and there is not dense snow cover.

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It’s Time to Get Your Flu Shot

by Douglas MacQueen, MD

The flu season typically arrives between October and May each year. It can take two to three weeks after you receive your vaccination for it to become effective so now is a good time to get your flu shot.

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