Not all ticks carry diseases, but some do and it is worth knowing what they could be and how they should be treated, if transmitted. There are over 880 species of tick worldwide and as they have the ability to carry pathogens, the infections and diseases that they are able to carry could be in the hundreds. Five of the diseases that are more familiar within the US and Europe are noted below (however there are many more). Ticks can contain more than one pathogen so they are able to carry multiple bacteria and viruses. Because of this, it can cause difficulties for doctors diagnosing exactly what has been caught.
Ticks and Lyme disease (also known as Lyme Borreliosis) can be transmitted by ticks that carry the bacteria Borrelia. The bacteria can cause rashes, headaches, fevers, fatigue, chills and joint pain (similar to the flu) in humans and the symptoms can develop within weeks of a tick bite. A rash shaped like a circle with a clearing at the centre could appear and develop all over the body. If treatment isnít sought soon enough Lyme disease can cause serious problems such as meningitis, facial paralysis and problems with the heart. The disease is linked with deer ticks (also know as black legged ticks) in North America and Europe. (Please see our articles to the right for more details.)
Ehrlichiosis (also known as HGE) is another bacteria transmitted to humans by certain ticks. This has been linked to the lone star tick in the South of the US and in Europe. Ehrlichiosis targets the white blood cells and causes similar symptoms to Borrelia (rashes, headaches, fevers, fatigue, and joint pain). If diagnosis and treatment isnít quick then it could also lead to problems with the kidneys. No matter how serious the infection, it is apparently difficult to diagnose.
Babesiosis on the other hand attacks red blood cells in the body, due to a Babesia parasite (similar to Malaria). This has been linked also with the black legged tick/deer tick and the disease is found in the Eastern part of the US. Headaches, fevers, fatigue, loss of appetite and joint pain can all be symptoms of Babesiosis and can lead to a very low red blood cell count, which can further down the line cause problems with the liver and kidneys. These symptoms can appear as late as several months after the infection.
Rocky Mountain Spotted fever (also know as Tick Typhus) is noted as one of the most lethal in the US and is found all over the country. Dog ticks (American and Brown) and rocky mountain wood ticks are linked with transmitting this disease. Female ticks are able to pass this on in their eggs, so larvae and nymphs can carry the disease. Symptoms such as rashes, fevers, headaches and muscle pain are connected with typhus and without quick treatment it could be fatal. The disease is also quite apparent in parts of Brazil. (Please see our articles to the right for more details.)
Tick Borne Relapsing fever is an infection that is passed to humans via the bite of infected soft ticks. It is not linked with any specific specie of tick in the US or Europe but is linked with the African tick inÖ. Africa. The fever has been registered all over the US and is commonly linked with cabins and holiday homes. Symptoms of the fever can cause headaches, fatigue, joint pain and rashes. These can appear in a number of days.
You should seek professional medical treatment for tick diseases from your doctor if you show any of the symptoms above after being bitten by a tick. If a diagnosis is made quickly and antibiotics are prescribed, it should help with recovery. Your doctor will be able to give you more advice and suggest the appropriate treatment. To avoid ticks and bites in the first place, it is wise to use suitable repellents and to wear protective clothing if you are out hiking or hunting.
Ticks and Diseases
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Article about the ticks as vectors and tic diseases
Protect you, your family and your pets from diseased parasites
Get rid of tics by removing them correctly. Seek professional medical advice and support to ensure that any tick embedded in the skin is removed safely and completely to avoid sickness