Human tick-borne diseases are found in almost every state. The national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that tick-borne
disease is on the rise in the U.S., believes that available statistical
data vastly underestimate the true incidence of tick-borne disease
because only a small fraction of cases are seen or recognized by
medical professionals. Blood testing is necessary to accurately
diagnose all tick-borne diseases.
The bacteria that cause Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Ehrilichioisis
and Babesiosis can all be carried by the deer tick. This means that
a single bite by this species can potentially transmit more then
one of the diseases.
- The best known, Lyme
Disease, is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an
infected deer tick. Taking its name from the town of Lyme, Conn.,
the disease is a chronic debilitating condition that may cause musculo-skeletal,
cardiac and central nervous system disorders. A circular rash or
skin lesion may be the first sign. The red blotch or circular "bull's
eye" pattern may show at three to thirty days after a bite by an
infected tick. The rash does not always occur at the bite site and
may show at the armpit, groin or back of the knee. Other symptoms
include fatigue, neck stiffness, muscle aches and flu-like symptoms
such as headaches, chills, fever, dizziness, sore throat, cough
and hoarseness. Later stage symptoms may not appear until weeks,
months or years after a tick bite and can include memory loss, difficulty
concentrating, and changes in mood and sleeping habits.
For more information about Lyme Disease visit the American
Lyme Disease Foundation.
Rapid reforestation in northeastern states is the main factor
in the surge in Lyme Disease over the last 17 years, according to
the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF). Travel may be the reason
that the disease is now reported in almost every state, ALDF suggests.
Lyme Disease continues to be a rapidly emerging infectious disease,
accounting for more than 90% of all vector-borne illness reported
to the U.S. by the CDC. In 1996, the CDC reported 16,455 cases in
the U.S. and between 1982 and 1996, more than 99,000 cases.
Treatment is easy and effective if detected early. Antibiotics
are administered under a physician's supervision. If undetected,
however, a serious long-term disability can result.
Human Granulocytic Ehrilichiosis, a particularly severe disease
transmitted by the deer tick in the same regions as Lyme Disease,
have been reported primarily in the South Central and South Atlantic
states- particularly in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia. Since 1986
to 1996, the CDC recorded 320 cases.
Symptoms are similar to those of Lyme Disease and include rash,
fatigue, neck stiffness, muscle aches and flu-like symptoms such
as headaches, chills, fever, dizziness, sore throat, cough, hoarseness
and sleep disturbances. Symptoms show about a week after a tick
Treatment generally requires hospitalization and antibiotics administered
by a physician to cure the disease and prevent serious complications.
Without treatment, it can cause overwhelming infection, toxic shock
and death. Death occurs in 5% of cases.
- An emerging disease
in the U.S. that is often mistaken for malaria, Babesiosis is transmitted
by the deer tick. It can cause serious, even life-threatening illness,
and is occasionally fatal.
Most cases occur in New England and New York, but since 1990,
cases have been reported in Wisconsin and Minnesota. From 1967 to
1996, the CDC recorded about 450 cases, mostly among older individuals.
Symptoms, which may appear one to three weeks after a bite, include
flu-like fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, drenching sweats, general
achiness and headache. Illness can range from mild infection to
severe hemolytic anemia, renal failure and severe hypertension.
Treatment is with antibiotics under a physician's supervision.
Rocky Mountain Spotted fever
– Transmitted by many species of ticks, including dog ticks,
brown dog ticks and wood ticks (all larger than the deer tick and
easier to spot) Rocky Mountain spotted fever is now a misnomer since
it occurs in almost every state in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central
and South America.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever was first reconfirmed in 1896 in the
Snake River Valley of Idaho and was originally called “black
measles” because of the characteristic rash. By the early
1900s, the disease spread to parts of the United States as far north
as Washington and Montana and as far south as California, Arizona,
and New Mexico.
The highest incidence of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is among
children five to nine years old. In 1997, 831 cases over all ages
were reported to the CDC. In the last three decades, more than 22,000
cases have been recorded.
Symptoms typically include headache, fever, restlessness and loss
of appetite. After the third day of infections, a skin rash may
show and may spread over the entire body. Some cases may involve
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Undiagnosed, Rocky
Mountain spotted fever can cause central nervous system disorders,
respiratory, kidney, or liver failure and in some cases, death.
Treatment includes antibiotics under a physician’s supervision.
For more information about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, please
for Disease Control (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever).
- Caused by the bacteria
Francisella tularensis, Tularemia is normally transmitted to humans
by contact with animals (particularly game animals), and by the
bites of flies and ticks. If the bacteria enter through a wound
on the skin, a skin eruption will slightly appear at the sight of
entry. Symptoms most likely include swollen lymph nodes, fever,
chills and headache. Pneumonia may also develop.
Tick bites and blood feeding annoy and harm animals, and can even
cause them debilitating or fatal illnesses. The tick is the number-one
cause of infectious disease in animals.
Anaplasmosis is a blood parasite that invades red blood cells
of infected animals. The animal's immune system then begins to attack
the red blood cells and the animal eventually suffers acute anemia.
It is a disease that, at times, has been disastrous to the cattle
industry. Transmission among animals is generally by ticks (Dermacentor
andersoni in western North America), but transmission by biting
flies, mosquitoes, hypodermic needles, dehorning, castrating and
ear tagging can occur. The disease does not affect humans.