Tick-borne diseases are diseases or illnesses transmitted by ticks. As the incidence of tick-borne illnesses increases and the geographic areas in which they are found expand, it becomes increasingly important that health professionals be able to distinguish the diverse, and often overlapping, clinical presentations of these diseases.
Adult Female Deer Tick
Deer ticks are responsible for causing Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis (formerly human granulocytic ehrlichiosis
Adult Female Dog Tick
Dog ticks are responsible for causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever and certain types of tularemia.
.Tick-borne illnesses are caused by infection with a variety of pathogens, including rickettsia and other types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Because ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
In general, specific laboratory tests are not available to rapidly diagnose tick-borne diseases. Due to their seriousness, antibiotic treatment is often justified based on clinical presentation alone.
Major tick-borne diseases include:
Organism: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (bacterium)
Vector: deer tick (Ixodes scapularis (=I. dammini), I. pacificus, I. ricinus (Europe), I. persulcatus (Asia))
Endemic to: North America and Eurasia
Organism: TBEV aka FSME virus, a flavivirus
Vector: deer tick (Ixodes scapularis)
Endemic to: Europe and Northern Asia
Organism: Rickettsia rickettsii
Vector: Dermacentor variabilis, D. andersoni
Region (US): East, South West
Vector: Amblyomma cajennense
Region (Brazil): SÃ£o Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais.
Organism: Babesia microti, B. equi
Vector: I. scapularis, I. pacificus
Region (US): Northeast West Coast
Organism: Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E. equi (renamed to Anaplasma phagocytophilum)
Vector: Amblyomma americanum, I. scapularis
Region (US): South-Atlantic South-Central
Organism: Borrelia species
Vector: Ornithodoros species
Region (US): West
Vector: D. andersoni
Region (US): West
Organism: Francisella tularensis, A. americanum
Organism: D. andersoni, D. variabilis
Region (US): Southeast, South-Central, West, Widespread
Vector: D. andersoni, D. variabilis West
Region (US): East
Organism: C. felis
Vector: D. variabilis (American Dog Tick)
Region (US): South, Southeast