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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease was first discovered in 1973. Since then, the number of cases has dramatically increased over the years as well as the geographic distribution. People can become infected by bites from ONLY nymphal and adult deer ticks. There is a wide range of symptoms for Lyme disease, but a red bullseye rash is a dead giveaway that a person could be infected and needs to be tested ASAP. Lyme disease DOES NOT show up on ordinary blood tests. 

Transmitted by:

  • Deer Ticks

Symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms (Common) 
  • Red bullseye rash (Erythema Migrans rash)
  • Spiking fever
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Medical Complications:

  • Additional (EM) rashes
  • Development of long-term arthritis
  • Severe headaches
  • Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Facial Palsy (loss of muscle tone in face)
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in hands/feet
Lyme Disease EM rash
Image provide by Tickencounter.org

Babesiosis

Human Babesiosis is an infection similar to malaria and should be taken seriously since in some cases it has been fatal. It has been experimentally demonstrated that a bite from a single tick can transmit the pathogen. This illness destroys red blood cells and can cause a type of hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia leads to the yellowing of the skin and darkened urine.  

Transmitted by:

  • Deer Ticks

Symptoms:

  • Spiking fever
  • Headache/Body aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea/Loss of appetite
  • Respiratory distress

Medical Complications

  • Low or unstable blood pressure
  • Severe hemolytic anemia
  • Blood clots
  • Malfunction of vital organs (kidneys, lungs, and liver)

Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosis

Anaplasmosis (formerly granulocytic ehrlichiosis) is sometimes fatal if not treated correctly, especially in individuals with compromised immune systems. The severity of this illness is very much dependent on the immune status of the victim. Antibiotics in the early stages will increase the chance for a quick recovery from Anaplasmosis. However, severe cases may require prolonged hospitalization or even intensive care with intravenous antibiotic treatments.

Transmitted by:

  • Lone Star Ticks

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Red eyes

Medical Complications

  • Liver function abnormalities
  • Leukopenia (decrease in white blood cells)
  • Thrombocytopenia (blood clotting problems)

Alpha Gal (Red Meat Allergy)

Alpha-gal (Red Meat Allergy) is a condition discovered in 2006 that has been linked to Lone Star ticks. Alpha-gal is a carbohydrate molecule that can cause an allergic reaction when people consume red meat. The Lone Star tick is not the only cause but accounts for 80% of all cases. The allergic reactions/symptoms can be difficult to link to a meat allergy because it can take 3-5 hours after consuming red meat for the person to develop the life-threatening symptoms such as anaphylaxis. The first-line of treatment for serious allergic reactions is epinephrine which is available on prescription as an auto-injector. 

Transmitted by:

  • Lone Star Ticks

Symptoms:

  • Outbreak of hives
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Nausea
  • Severe headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea

Medical Complications

  • Restriction of breathing (Can be fatal in extreme cases)
  • Asthma
  • Abnormal heart rate

Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Fever)

Infection by any Bartonella species is called Bartonellosis. This species of bacteria are slow growing, come in different shapes, and they can live in isolated locations in the body. The complexity of this bacteria protects it from the immune system and antibiotics. Cat Scratch Fever is the most common form with 20,000 cases reported each year. It gets its name from how 1/3 of domestic cats are infected with these tick-borne microbes and many cases of transmission come from a scratch from an infected cat. The use of antibiotics to shorten the duration of the disease is highly debated, but generally, symptoms will subside over time.

Transmitted by:

  • Scratches from feral and domestic cats
    • Various ticks and fleas infect small mammals such as cats.

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Rash

Medical Complications

  • Enlarged and tender lymph nodes will develop after 1-3 weeks of infection
  • Papule or a pustule at the infection site
  • Encephalitis

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

RMSF is a bacterial disease that can be fatal if not treated early and with the right antibiotic. The most common symptom in people who are infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the rash that develops after infection. The look of the rash varies greatly from red splotches to small pinpoint dots. While nearly all people with RMSF develop a rash, it often does not become visible until the later stages, which makes it difficult to diagnose based on the rash alone.

Transmitted by:

  • Lone Star Ticks
  • American Dog Ticks
  • Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

 

 

Symptoms:

  • Rashes
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain

Medical Complications

  • Damage to blood vessels that can lead to amputation (arms, legs, fingers, or toes)
  • Hearing loss
  • Paralysis
  • Mental disabilities 

Powassan Virus

The Powassan Virus is a tick-borne disease that causes swelling of the brain itself, and the membranes around it. There have only been 100 cases in the last 10 years. However, experts predict that the Powassan virus will spread more quickly due to the virus recently spreading to the deer tick population. This species is significantly more likely to bite humans. In the past, it was only carried by tick species that rarely ever bit humans. There is no specific medical cure. For more information check out Coppe Laboratories' Powasssan Virus guide below:

Transmitted by:

  • Deer Ticks

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Severe headaches 
  • Seizures

Medical Complications

  • Encephalitis (Swelling of the brain)
  • Meningitis (Swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord)
  • Long-term neurologic issues (Memory problems and consistent headaches)