Named after the town in Connecticut in which it was first found, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States, being diagnosed in all states except Hawaii. There are nearly 30,000 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control each year. If caught early, Lyme disease responds well to a variety of antibiotics. Unfortunately, Lyme is not an easy disease to diagnose. The telltale bull’s eye rash is only one of the many symptoms of Lyme, which also includes fever, fatigue and joint pain.
Although it does affect humans, ehrlichiosis is most commonly found in deer and dogs. The bacteria kills white blood cells causing headaches, fatigue and aches. Luckily, ehrlichiosis is treated with a series of antibiotics.
Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare, but often serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected ticks. POW virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick but is not transmitted directly from person-to-person. Approximately 100 cases of the virus were reported in the United States over the past 10 years. POW virus is one of a group of arthropod-borne viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). There is no specific medicine to cure or treat POW virus disease. Treatment for severe illnesses may include hospitalization, respiratory support, and intravenous fluids.
Additional Pathogens Spread by Ticks
In the United States, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause diseases including: Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia miyamotoi, Bourbon virus, Colorado tick fever, Heartland virus, Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness), Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF), Tularemia and 364D rickettsiosis.