Common tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, relapsing fever, and babesiosis.
Lyme disease is an infection spread by the bite of ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Symptoms include fatigue, headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle or joint pain, swelling, and sometimes an expanding red rash.
If a rash develops, it may look like a target or bull’s-eye in some people.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to many other conditions and tests do not always detect the bacteria.
It is usually effectively treated with a short course of antibiotics. If not treated properly, it can lead to complications involving the heart, nervous system, joints, and skin within weeks, months, or even years later.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, also called tick fever, spotted fever, or tick typhus, is a bacterial infection passed to humans by wood ticks and dog ticks.
It can lead to life-threatening complications such as shock and kidney failure if not treated promptly.
Initial symptoms usually start an average of seven days after the tick bite and include a sudden fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, distinct rash, nausea, and vomiting.
The rash typically is made up of many tiny, flat, purple, or red spots. It usually starts on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and then spreads to the arms, legs, and the rest of the body.
Tularemia, also called deerfly fever or rabbit fever, is a disease that usually occurs in animals, but the disease can be transmitted to humans through an infected tick.
Symptoms usually start within 21 days, but average one to 10 days, after the tick bite.
Symptoms of tularemia include chills, sudden high fever, headache, an open crater-like sore at the site of the bite, swollen glands near the site of the bite, nausea, and vomiting.
Prescription medicine is used to treat tularemia.
Ehrlichiosis is an infectious disease that can be passed to humans by ticks.
It causes fever, chills, headache, general ill feeling, nausea, vomiting, and a purple or red rash. Symptoms usually start from one to 21 days (average of seven days) after the tick bite. Prescription medicine is used to treat ehrlichiosis.
Relapsing fever is an infectious disease that can be passed to humans by ticks.
It is most common in the western United States.
Symptoms usually start three to 11 days (average of six days) after the tick bite. They may last for several days, go away, and then return several days later.
Symptoms include sudden high fever, headache, rapid heart rate, muscle aches, abdominal pain, general feeling of illness, and a rash in up to 50 percent of cases.
Prescription medicine is used to treat relapsing fever.
Babesiosis is a rare parasitic disease that can be passed to humans by deer ticks.
It may not always cause symptoms. When present, symptoms usually start one to four weeks after the tick bite. Symptoms of babesiosis include a general feeling of illness, decreased appetite, tiredness, fever, chills, recurring sweats, and muscle aches.
Babesiosis is treated with antibiotic medicines.
When returning home after spending time in areas where ticks may live, always carefully check for ticks on the skin and scalp. A little time spent conducting a tick check may prevent days, weeks or months of illness.
Be TickSmart™ Stay TickSafe!
Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on tick-borne diseases.
I tried real hard to play golf, and I was so bad at it they would have to check me for ticks at the end of the round because I’d spent about half the day in the woods.