This is your Town Manager Alex Torpey with a community spotlight episode. In this episode we talk to Dr. Kailtyn Morse the Founder and Executive Director of BeBop Labs.
Lyme disease impacts somewhere between 300,000 - 400,000 people annually in the US alone, and itself is only one of several tick-borne diseases that many believe may be on the rise, but whose pathology is not very well understood, and creates many challenges for individuals and our healthcare system.
In New England, this is especially relevant, especially those who spend any amount of time outside. So I wanted to bring together some information for the community in time for Lyme awareness month which was May. I'm a little delayed in getting this episode out, and originally had intended on doing a series of conversations together, but schedules were hard to pin down. I may do some more episodes in the future, because this is such an important and wide ranging topic, but I wanted to release this really great conversation with Kaitlyn who has a wealth of knowledge, data, and resources through BeBop Labs.
In our chat over Zoom, Kailtyn and I talk about how BeBop Labs, an Upper valley nonprofit, has been tracking tick-borne illness data, relying on folks sending in ticks (which you can learn how to do in the show notes), and what they have been learning from a truly incredible amount of data collection. We talk about what trends Kaitlyn and others have been seeing and general tick safety with some tips that are good to know for anyone living in New England, especially if you spend time outside or have pets, including basic things you can do when hiking or even in your garden to reduce potential tick exposure. BeBop labs is doing important and complex work, and they have a truly astonishing amount of information on their website, which you can find various links to below
Now in this episode we talk more ticks than Lyme disease itself, but what I might say normally if discussing something that touches on a medical issue on the podcast, which is some sort of disclaimer to talk to your doctor or primary care physician, and that this isn't meant to be medical advice. However, as someone who has struggled with Lyme and related issues for years, and is first hand aware of how Lyme is treated by most medical practitioners, which is to say, it's not well understood, and most practitioners are not up to date on the latest research happening right now, you should not only speak to a medical professional, but you'll likely need to do your own research and be your own advocate as well. Ideally, if you or someone you know might be struggling with issues related to Lyme, or struggling with issues that you don't know what the cause is but haven't been tested for Lyme, you should consider finding an MD who has a demonstrated practice or expertise with Lyme or tick-borne illnesses, and that, combined with your own research and advocacy, would likely be your best bet to finding resources and support that might help you. Of course prevention practices are valuable as well, and those practices are relatively well understood and you can learn more below about that in this episode and the links below.
- Send ticks into BeBop labs for analysis: https://www.beboplabs.org/send-ticks/
- Learn how to protect yourself and your property: https://www.beboplabs.org/prevention/
- Tick ID: https://www.beboplabs.org/tick-identification/
- Lyme summary information from Johns Hopkins
- Lyme detailed information from Lymedisease.org