Diseases That Can Be Transmitted By Ticks!

Ticks are capable of transmitting over 20 pathogens that can make humans, pets and wildlife sick from just one little bite. Tick-borne illnesses are caused by infection with a variety of pathogens, that includes rickettsia and other types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Due to the fact that individual ticks can carry more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, making it difficult to diagnosis.

With tick-borne diseases patients typically start to experience symptoms with mild to severe flu-like symptoms which can also include headache, sweats, muscle and joint pain, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, chills, fever, vomiting and rashes. Because symptoms may vary by patient, diagnosis can sometimes be difficult that’s why familiarizing ourselves with ticks along with the diseases they may carry can help to catch the illness early. The earlier that diseases are diagnosed the sooner treatment can began which can lead to a better the outcome.

1. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), is one of the deadliest tick-borne diseases in the world, killing as many as 10% of those infected. RMSF is a bacterial infection that is spread by a bite from an infected tick. If not properly treated RMSF may cause serious damage to organs and possibly even death. RMSF is more commonly found in the southeastern United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.

What causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

RMSF is caused by a bite from a tick that is infected with the Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria or being exposed to material from a crushed tick. Once introduced to the body the bacterium spreads through your blood stream or lymphatic vessels and starts reproducing and causing damage inside living cells.

There are three known types of ticks that commonly carry Rickettsia rickettsii are.
American Dog Tick (Dermacentar variablis)

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni)

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

One of the classic symptoms of RMSF is a distinctive rash that typically occurs after the fever, but 10-15% of patients do not develop a rash at all making diagnosing the infection more difficult.

Symptoms of RMSF typically start to appear between 2-14 days after being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Rash
  • Chills
  • Joint pains

Is there testing and treatments available?

Yes, your doctor can order laboratory test to check for evidence of Rickettsia rickettsii. If Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is strongly suspected doctors will go ahead and begin antibiotic before waiting for the results to come in.

RMSF is typically treated for 14-21 days with doxycycline but may require longer treatment.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Lone Star tick can carry a bacterium called Rickettsia amblyommi. This bacterium may cause a milder illness than RMSF. Blood test for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever may come out positive if the test also identifies Rickettsia amblyommi leading to a misdiagnoses of RMSF but this information should not change treatment plans.

Because ticks can transmit multiple infections doctor’s should also check for other Tick-borne illnesses and co-infections such as:

Alpha-Gal Syndrome

Can there be long term effects?

If Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever isn’t properly treated, it can cause damage to the lining of your blood vessels, tissues and organs. Other complications may include:

  • Inflammation of the brain that can lead to seizures and coma.
  • Inflammation of the heart.
  • Inflammation of the lungs.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Gangrene in the fingers or toes.
  • Enlarged liver or spleen.
  • Nerve Damage
  • Patients who have a severe case of RMSF may experience long-term health problems, such as:
  • Deafness or hearing loss
  • Partial paralysis
  • Neurological deficits
  • Muscle weakness

Some patients may develop a condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

2. Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United and Europe and is spreading at an alarming rate. It is an acute and chronic infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdoferi and is usually transmitted to humans by the bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. Once inside the blood stream the Borrelia can travel to different parts of the body causing a mutiltued of different symptoms and because of its corkscrew shape it can bore deeply down into tissues and even has the ability to live inside of cells thus leading it to being protected from antibiotic therapy. Lyme disease can affect the skin, nervous system, joints and multiple organ systems leading it to often being misdiagnosed as another autoimmune disorder such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, ALS and dementia. Most of the time most patients are not aware they have even been bitten by a tick thus making diagnosing that much more difficult.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

One of the most noted early signs of Lyme disease is a bulls eye rash that may appear anytime from days to weeks after being bitten by a tick but this rash may only occur in 10% of people who have presence of Borrelia in their blood.

Other acute symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Neck stiffness
  • Cardiac symptoms such as shortness of breath, faintness and chest pain which can be indications of Lyme carditis and should be taken very seriously.

Symptoms of Chronic Lyme disease may include:

  • Brain fog, poor memory and inablity to concentrate
  • Chronic pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Bells palsy
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal or digestive disfunction
  • Unstable bladder
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Burning and or tingling in hands and feet
  • Tremors
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Muscle twitching
  • Eye discomfort and floaters in vision
  • Visual changes or blurry vision
  • Mood and Sleeping disorders
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Joint pain or migrating arthritis
  • Heightened sensitivity to noise and sound
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Tooth pains
  • Neuropathy
  • Depression
  • Inflammation of the heart or brain

The severity will depend upon each patient and how far along the disease has progressed.

Just like any tick-borne disease you have the risk of contracting a co-infection with that said your doctor should look into these possibilities as well.

  • Bartonella
  • Mycoplasma
  • Babesia
  • Ehrlichia
  • Anaplasama

These parasites must have a host to survive, having a co-infections maybe more common than not and can cause intensity of symptoms depending upon the persons immune system.

Some patients with Lyme disease have also went on to develop a condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

Are there treatment options available?

Yes, there are both antibiotic and herbal treatment options available.

For acute lyme doctors may recommend 100mg of doxycycline twice a day for 2-3 weeks and Metronidazole 500mg twice a day for possible co-infections but antibiotic therapy may not eliminate all of the microbes. Some patients may also go onto develop migrating arthritis and fatigue weeks to months after completing their antibiotic therapy.

For chronic Lyme doctors may choose to go with herbal therapy as there is no evidence that prolonged antibiotic therapy offers any long term benefits. There are some patients that may improve while on antibiotics (many people actually become worse) but patients will typically relapse when the antibiotic therapy has stopped.

According to Dr. Rawls,

“Antibiotics depend on rapidly growing microbes in high concentrations. Borrelia and other opportunists grow very slowly, occur in very low concentrations in the body, and penetrate into tissues where antibiotics do not reach. Used long term (months), antibiotics kill friendly flora and allow more aggressive opportunists to become antibiotic resistant and thrive. The end result is further disruption of the immune function and ultimately worsening of the host’s illness.”

“The Pitfalls of Long-Term Antibiotic Use for Chronic Lyme

  • Borrelia and other stealth microbes typically have slow growth rates and respond less well to conventional antibiotics than more virulent microbes.
  • Borrelia exists in low concentrations deep in tissues where antibiotics do not penetrate well.
  • Borrelia’s corkscrew shape allows it to quickly bore deeply into cartilage and tissues. Borrelia can also form dormant cysts that make it completely resistant to antibiotics; the harder you hit it, the more resistant it becomes.
  • Lyme disease coinfections have the ability to hide and thrive inside cells, thus gaining protection from antibiotics.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs at a high rate with these types of stealth microbes. Long-term use of antibiotics destroys the normal flora (friendly bacteria) in the gut and skin. This contributes to chronic immune dysfunction. You cannot get well without a healthy immune system.
  • Possibly the most compelling suggestion that antibiotic therapy has significant limitations is this: If antibiotics really worked, people would not be searching for other solutions. But people are scouring the Internet by the thousands every day for alternatives to conventional antibiotic therapy.” – Dr. Rawls M.D

Here is what Dr. Rawls had to say about herbal therapy.

“Is Lyme disease curable? Realistically, this war is won slowly and incrementally. It is not a battle with specific microbes as much as it is an imbalance within the entire microbiome of the body (which has shifted toward opportunistic pathogens).

The underlying cause is disruption of immune function caused by the microbes, as well as other factors such as poor diet, toxins, and chronic stress.

As such, the solution is breaking the vicious cycle of chronic immune dysfunction and creating a healing environment within the body. This is done by taking pressure off the healing systems of the body by reducing stress factors.

Herbal therapy is ideal for restoring wellness because herbs empower the body to get well. Comprehensive herbal therapy enhances immune function, reduces inflammatory cytokines, and supports healing of tissues.

Herbs do not function like antibiotics. Herbs suppress opportunistic pathogens, but without destroying non-harmful flora. This rebalances the microbiome and restores wellness to the body.” –Dr. Rawls M.D.

You can learn more about Dr. Rawls Herbal Protocol by visiting Rawlsmd.com

Is there testing available for Lyme disease?

Yes, there are lab test available that your doctor can order but you cannot solely rely on lab test: symptoms are often a better guide than lab test. Most doctors will order the Elisa or Western Blot but we encourage you to talk with your doctor about having your Lyme test done through a company called Igenex as they test for more bands then the standard Western Blot or Elisa giving your more accurate results but please note that lab test can be used to help confirm diagnoses but they are also known for producing false negatives. Over half of the population that suffer from symptoms of Lyme disease may never met the qualifications for a positive lab test.

3. Anaplasmosis

Annual reported incidence (per million population) for anaplasmosis – United States, 2018. (NN= Not notifiable)

The bacterium called Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an illness that is spread by ticks such as the deer tick and western black-legged tick but may also be transmittable through blood donation or organ transplant.

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Cough

Symptoms may occur a week or two after being bitten but some people who are infected my show little to no symptoms at all but older people and those with weak immune systems are more likely to experience severe symptoms.

How is Anaplasmosis diagnosed?

Your doctor may order your white blood cells to be examined under a microscope as the bacteria can often be seen inside of white blood cells. An Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a antibody test may also be ordered. The (PCR) is a newer method that multiplies pieces of bacteria and detects them chemically which is more sensitive then looking through a microscope. The antibody test may not show anything until days or weeks after contraction the infection.

How is Anaplasmosis treated?

Typically, your doctor will start treatment as soon as Anaplasmosis is suspected. Your doctor may prescribe Doxycycline before diagnoses is confirmed by lab testing to further prevent severe complications. If your illness is severe your doctor may order antibiotics through an I.V.

Are there any possible complications of Anaplasmosis?

In rare instances, Anaplasmosis may cause serious complications such as:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Heart failure
  • Breathing failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Septic shock
  • Excess bleeding

While these symptoms are rare they maybe more common in those with weak immune systems.

4. Colorado Tick Fever

What is Colorado Tick fever?

Colorado Tick Fever is a viral infection that can be transmitted by the Dermacentor andersoni wood tick also referred to as the Rocky Mountain wood tick.

Symptoms of Colorado Tick fever may start within 3-6 days after the tick bite occurred and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Light sensitivity
  • Muscle aches
  • Skin tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Faint rash
  • Abdominal pain

Once symptoms have started they typically will go away within 10 days and treatment is rarely needed.

How is Colorado Tick fever diagnosed?

Your doctor may order

  • Complement Fixation Antibody test- This will test to see if Colorado tick fever antibodies are in the blood.
  • Complete blood count- This test measures the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in the blood.
  • Liver functions test- This test measures how well the liver is working, Colorado tick fever can affect the liver.

5. Bartonellosis

Bartonellosis is actually a group of diseases that are caused by the species of the genus, Bartonella. It is typically associated with lice and fleas but some studies have found that certain species of Bartonella are also carried by the same ticks that carry Lyme disease and are most likely the source of human bartonellosis infections. The Bartonella bacteria lives primarily inside of the lining of blood vessels, it can infect humans as well as a large variety of animals resulting in what is call bartonellosis. A recent study seemed to suggest that bartonella maybe passed from mother to her unborn child.

Symptoms of Bartonellosis and severity may vary among patients but may include:

  • Fever
  • A streaked rash that resembles stretch marks from pregnancy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Balance problems
  • Tremors
  • Joint aches and swelling
  • Cardiovascular signs
  • Neurovascular inflammation
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns

How is bartonellosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based off of a combination of symptoms, physical and lab test findings. Bartonella bacteria can be hard to detect as the bacteria is immune einvasive, there are IFA serology test are available but only for a few species of Bartonella. A combination of culture and PCR detection methods maybe the most effective way of diagnosing an active infection.

Treatment with antibiotics is typically not necessary but in some instances if the bartonella infection infects the central nervous system antibiotic treatment is warranted.

6. Borrelia Mayonii

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Borrelia mayonii is a type of bacteria that was recently discovered in North America. This bacteria can cause Lyme disease and the illness caused by B. mayonii is very similar to that caused by B. burgdorferi. B. mayonii has been found in blacklegged ticks which can also transmit B. burgdorferi (common cause of Lyme disease in the United States) as well as babesiosis, Powassan virus and anaplasmosis.

Symptoms of B. mayonii may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea and vomiting

How is B. mayonii treated?

Borrelia mayonii is typically treated with a 4 week course of doxycycline but other antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease can also be used.

7. Bourbon Virus

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Bourbon virus is a RNA virus that was recently discovered, it is carried by the Lone Star tick and can cause serious illness in humans. There isn’t much known about the virus but symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • A pale pink rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Body aches
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Low platelet count
  • Elevation of liver enzyme test

PCR techniques are used in testing for the genetic material of the bourdon virus, there is currently no antiviral treatment for this illness as antibiotics and not useful at treating viruses.

8. Powassan Disease

What is Powassan disease?

The Powassan virus is a tickborne flavivirus that is also related to some mosquito borne viruses like the West Nile virus and is carried by the blacklegged tick also known as the deer tick.

What are the symptoms of Powassan Disease?

Some symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Meningitis (swelling of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain)
  • Seizures
  • Encephalitis (which is swelling of the brain)
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

Some patients infected with Powassan virus may have little to no symptoms at all.

There is no medication to treat Powassan virus at this time.

9. Rickettsia Parkeri Rickettsiosis

FIGUREFemale (A) and male (C) Gulf Coast ticks (Amblyomma maculatum); (B) necrotic, ulcerated or scabbed lesion at the tick bite site, known as an inoculation eschar; and (D) immunohistochemical stain indicating the presence of a spotted fever group Rickettsia species in the tissue. (CDC)

What is Rickettsia Parkeri Rickettsiosis?

Rickettsia Parkeri Rickettsiosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by the Gulf Coast tick and can cause a mild spotted fever in humans but is less serious than Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

What are the symptoms of R. Parkeri?

Symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Eschar(s) at the site of the bite
  • A variable rash

R. Parkeri can be diagnosed through PCR testing and Doxycycline is typically used for treatment.

10. Alpha-gal Syndrome

What is Alpha-Gal Syndrome?

Alpha-gal syndrome is a recently identified type of food allergy to mammalian meat and by-products. In the United States, the condition most often begins when a Lone Star tick bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the body. In some people, this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions when they eat or come in contact with any mammalian meat, milk and by-products.

The alpha-gal molecule is found in all mammals apart from humans, old world monkeys and apes. Anti-gal is a human natural antibody that interacts specifically with the mammalian carbohydrate structure gal alpha- 1-3Gal beta 1-4Glcnac-R, termed, the alpha-galactosyl epitope. Where alpha-gal is absent from humans, apes and old world monkeys, it is abundant in the New World monkeys, prosimians, and nonprimate mammals.

“The Lone Star tick is found predominantly in the southeastern United States, and most cases of alpha-gal syndrome occur in this region. The condition appears to be spreading farther north and west, however, as deer carry the Lone Star tick to new parts of the United States. Alpha-gal syndrome also has been diagnosed in Europe, Australia, and Asia, where other types of ticks carry alpha-gal molecules.

Researchers now believe that some people who have frequent, unexplained anaphylactic reactions — and who test negative for other food allergies — may be affected by alpha-gal syndrome.” –Mayo Clinic

There’s no treatment other than avoiding mammalian meat and by-products.

“Avoiding tick bites is the key to prevention. Protect against tick bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using insect repellents when you’re in wooded, grassy areas. Do a thorough, full-body tick check after spending time outside.” – Mayo Clinic

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of an alpha-gal allergic reaction are often delayed compared with other food allergies. Most reactions to common food allergens — peanuts or shellfish, for example — happen within minutes of exposure. In alpha-gal syndrome, signs and symptoms typically don’t appear for three to six hours after eating mammalian meat or by-products. Patients can experience allergic reactions to a variety of mammalian products: dairy products, gelatin, lanolin (which can be found in cosmetics and personal care products), magnesium stearate, and certain vaccines and medications can pose a serious problem.

Alpha-Gal Syndrome patients may also need to be careful with breathing in vapors or smoke from any mammalian meat or by-products as some patients will experience allergic reactions after inhaling the fumes. Patients with Alpha-Gal Syndrome may experience an allergic response to pet dander.

Signs and symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome may include:

  • Hives, itching, or itchy, scaly skin (eczema)
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other body parts
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • A runny nose
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially deadly allergic reaction that restricts breathing

We have seen a rise in patient’s with Alpha-Gal Syndrome going onto develop a condition call Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.


Causes

Most people who develop alpha-gal syndrome in the U.S. develop the condition when a Lone Star tick bites them. Bites from other types of ticks can lead to the condition in Europe, Australia and Asia.

Alpha-gal is present in the anticancer drug cetuximab, as well as the intravenous fluid replacements Gelofusine and Haemaccel. Blood thinners derived from porcine intestine and replacement heart valves derived from porcine tissue may also contain alpha-gal.

At least one instance of a man with an alpha-gal allergy going into anaphylaxis after receiving a heart valve transplant has been reported.[ Some researchers have suggested that the alpha-gal in pig’s tissue that surgeons use for xenografts might contribute to organ rejection.

Tick bites

Ticks that cause alpha-gal syndrome (the Lone Star Tick
in the United States, the European castor bean tick, the paralysis tick in Australia and a currently unknown tick in South Africa) are believed to carry alpha-gal molecules from the blood of the animals they commonly bite, such as cows and sheep. When a carrier tick bites a human, the tick injects alpha-gal into the person’s body.

For unknown reasons, some people have such a strong immune response to these molecules that they can no longer eat red meat without a mild to severe allergic reaction. People who are exposed to many tick bites over time may develop more-severe symptoms.

Testing

Due to lack of knowledge, labs have been known to order the incorrect “Galactose” test resulting in a false negative readings for Alpha-Gal Syndrome. It is very important that your doctor orders the correct testing.

403196P – Alpha Gal Panel – Viracor viracor-eurofins.com
LabCorp Alpha-Gal panel code is 807003
Quest Lab Alpha-Gal panel code is 95241

To learn more about Alpha-Gal Syndrome (Click Here)

11. Tularemia

What is Tularemia?

Tularemia is an infectious disease that is contacted by coming in contact with an infected animal, tick, mosquito or bites from a deer fly.

What are the symptoms of Tularemia?

Symptoms of Tularemia can vary depending on where the bacteria enter the body. Symptoms can vary from asymptomatic to life threatening and can appear within 3-5 days of being infected.

Symptoms may include:

Infection transmitted through the skin

  • Skin ulcer
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills

Transmitted through inhalation symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulty

Transmitted through infection of the eye symptoms may include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Swollen lymph nodes behind ear
  • Eye Swelling
  • Sore inside of the eyelid
  • Eye pain
  • Discharge and redness

Transmitted through ingestion symptoms may include:

  • A sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in neck

The rarest form of the disease typhoidal tularemia symptoms may include:

  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme fatigue

Typhoidal tularemia can also lead to an enlarges spleen, liver and pneumonia.

If left untreated tularemia symptoms may include:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Meningitis
  • Death

How is Tularemia diagnosed and treated?

Tularemia can be challenging to diagnose since it is a rare disease and the symptoms can often be mistaken for a more common type of illness but blood test and cultures can help confirm diagnosis. Tularemia is typically treated with antibiotics including doxycycline, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin and streptomycin for 10-21 days depending upon the medication used and the severity of the illness.

12. Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever

IGeneX has found TBRF in 47 of 50 states. NY recently approved the tests. Therefore, no NY data available at present. Image Credit Igenex.

What is Tick Born Relapsing Fever?

Tick Born Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is a bacterial infection that is characterized by recurrent fever that may last for days then goes for a week and then comes back again. It is often carried by “soft” ticks that carry the Borrelia bacteria (B. hermsii, B. parkeri, B. turicatae). Soft ticks act differently than hard ticks, their bite typically last less than thirty minutes unlike hard ticks whos bite can last for several day and they do not search out prey like hard ticks, soft ticks usually live in the nest of small rodents and animals.

Other symptoms of (TBRF) may include:

  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Neck pain
  • Eye pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Dry Cough

In some instances some patients may experience a “crisis” stage that may consist of:

  • Falling body temperature
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shaking chills
  • Intense sweating

How is Tick Borne Relapsing Fever diagnosed and treated?

Tick Borne Relapsing Fever can be diagnosed through a blood sample, the smear will be examined under the microscope in a lab to look for the corkscrew shaped borrelia bacteria. (TBFR) is typically treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria, the most common antibiotics used to treat (TBRF) is tetracycline and doxycycline. Pregnant women and children maybe prescribed erythromycin.

Patients with Tick Borne Relapsing Fever may have false-positive test for Lyme disease due to the similarity of the proteins between the causative organisms.

13. Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI)

What is Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness?

The Southern Tick Borne Rash (STARI) also known as Masters disease occurs after being bitten by an infected Lone Star tick. Southern Tick Borne Rash Illness is thought to be caused by the bacterium Borrelia lonestari. Symptoms of (STARI) can be very similar to that of Lyme disease and a skin lesion or rash that resembles Lyme disease erythema migrans may appear at the site of the bite.

What are the symptoms of (STARI)?

Symptoms may include:

  • Skin lesion at bite site
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain

How is (STARI) treated?

Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness of typically treated with an antibiotic regimen that is similar to that of Lyme disease, in some cases (STARI) may resolve on its own without antibiotic treatments.

14. Babesiosis

Image credit: Igenex

What is Babesiosis?

Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that invade red blood cells and can occurs at the same time as Lyme disease as it is transmitted by the Black-legged tick also known as the Deer tick. It may also be transmitted by an organ transplant.

What are the symptoms of Babesiosis?

Symptoms may include:

  • High fever
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Skin bruising
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Mood changes

You may also experience:

  • Chest and hip pain
  • Sweats
  • Shortness of breath

As the illness progresses but it is also possible to contract this illness and have little to no symptoms.

Complications could include:

  • Heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney failure

How is Babesiosis diagnosed and treated?

A diagnosis for babesiosis can be made by examining a blood smear for the parasite inside of red blood cells, the patients history such as a recent tick bite and clinical symptoms. In some patients babesiosis will typically resolve on its own but patients with an impaired immune system may require antiparasitic or antibiotic drugs. The most common used drugs to treat patients with severe symptoms of babesiosis is Quinine and Clindamycin, patients have also been treated with Atovaquone and Azithromycin in cases where Quinine and Clindamycin were ineffective.

15. Q Fever

Bacteria Coxiella burnetii (small green) inside human cell, 3D illustration. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock

What is Q Fever?

Q Fever also known as query fever is caused by the bacterial pathogen Coxiella burnetti and is transmitted by the Lone Star tick and the Rocky Mountain Wood tick but it can also be transmitted by inhaling Coxiella burnetti containing dust such as from cattle, goats, sheep, unpasteurized milk and human to human transmission.

What are the symptoms of Q fever?

Q Fever is usually a mild illness and some patients will have little to no symptoms at all but this infection has been seen to resurface in a small number of patients years later.
Q Fever can cause acute or chronic illness, around half of the patients infected will get sick.

Symptoms may vary in severity but may include:

  • Fever
  • Hepatitis
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Malaise
  • Sweats
  • Myalgia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Non-productive cough
  • Splenomegaly
  • Myocarditis

Acute symptoms may include:

  • Chronic endocarditis
  • Pneumonia
  • Hepatitis

How is Q Fever diagnosed and treated?

Q Fever can be diagnosed through IFA titers, clinical presentation and patient history. Patients suffering from acute Q Fever may recover without any antibiotic treatment but for those that may require treatment doxycycline is typically prescribed. Patients suffering from chronic Q Fever may require several months of treatment in the event of a severe infection your doctor may prescribe a combination of antibiotics such as doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine. In patients that may have an allergy to doxcycyline antibiotic such as clarithromycin, moxifloxacin, rifampin maybe used.

16. Borrelia Miyamotoi

Borrelia miyamotoi in cerebrospinal fluid. ResarchGate (LSM Exciter 5, Zeiss, Germany). 

What is Borrelia Miyamotoi?

Borrelia miyamotoi is an infection that has recently been described as a tick-borne illness that is similar to Lyme disease. Borrelia miyamotoi is a spiral shaped bacteria that is related to the bacteria that causes Tick-borne Relapsing Fever and is carried by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) which can transmit several illnesses including anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. The Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands reported that in the United States up to 15% of blacklegged ticks were found to be infected with B. miyamotoi.

What are the symptoms of Borrelia miyamotoi?

Symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body and joint pain
  • Fatigue

although uncommon symptoms may include:

  • Rash
  • Dizziness, confusion, vertigo
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How is Boreelia Miyamotoi Treated?

Patients are typically treated with the same antibiotics and dosage as used for Lyme disease

17. Ehrlichiosis

Image Credit: CDC

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection that is most often transmitted by the Lone Star tick but can also be transmitted by dog or wood ticks. Ehrlichiosis may cause flu like symptoms and it can become very serious if left untreated.

What are symptoms of Ehrlichiosis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • General malaise

A small portion of patients may experience:

  • Petechial rash
  • Red flat rash

Symptoms can be similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted fever as well as other tick-borne illnesses. If left untreated Ehrlichiosis may cause

  • Organ failure
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory failure.

How is ehrlichiosis treated?

Ehrlichiosis is typically treated with Doxycycline for 14 days, Rifadin maybe prescribed if you’re pregnant.

18. 364D Rickettsiosis

Pacific Coast tick

What is 364D Rickettsiosis?

364D Rickettsiosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by the bacteria Rickettsia philippi and is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick and is most commonly found in California.

What are symptoms of 364D Rickettsiosis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Eschar(s) are the bite site
  • Malaise
  • Fever

How is 364D Rickettsiosis treated?

More research is needed as there is not that much information on 364D Rickettsiosis yet but treatment with Doxycycline has proven effective for Rickettsial infections.

19. Heartland Virus

Image Credit: CDC

What is the Heartland Virus?

The Heartland virus is a RNA viral infection that is believed to be transmitted from the bite of an infected Lone Star tick.

What are the symptoms of the Heartland virus?

Symptoms may include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Low white blood cells
  • Low platelet count

How is the Heartland virus treated?

There are currently no treatment options available as antibiotics are not used to treat viruses.

20. Rickettsia Amblyommi

What is Rickettsia Amblyommi?

Rickettsia Amblyommi is a bacterium carried by the Lone Star tick and may cause a milder illness than Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Blood test for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever may come out as positive if the test also identifies Rickettsia amblyommi leading to a misdiagnoses of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever but this information should not change treatment plans.

What are the symptoms of Rickettsia Amblyommi?

Some symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Myalgia
  • Rash
  • Eschar
  • Low platelet level
  • Anemia

How is Rickettsia Amblyommi treated?

Rickettsia amblyommi is typically treated with Doxycycline.

21. Tick Paralysis

What is Tick Paralysis?

Tick paralysis is a disease that can cause tingling, weakness and numbness throughout the body. There are 40 types of ticks that can cause tick paralysis but the most common are the American dog tick, Dermacentor ticks and the Rocky Mountain Wood tick. Tick paralysis is caused by a tick releasing neurotoxins through its saliva.

What are the symptoms of Tick Paralysis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle pain
  • Tired
  • In some cases, trouble walking

How is Tick Paralysis treated?

Tick Paralysis is simple to treat, you just need to locate the tick and gentle remove it and its head and you should start feeling better soon.

Looking for a support group?

Check out Mast Cell & Tick Borne Disease Awareness Group on Facebook.

Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Ticked Off Mast Cells nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information of educational content on this site.

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