Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks are capable of harboring bacteria that are transmitted to other organisms via tick bite. Ticks are known for being vectors of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, tularemia and ehrlichiosis, among other diseases.

Lyme disease is a disease caused by a bacterium carried primarily by the deer tick species. Lyme disease is characterized by symptoms such as a circular rash surrounding the bitten area, joint pain, muscle pain, stiffness and general bodily pain.

Deer ticks also transmit babesiosis. Some cases exhibit symptoms such as jaundice and high body temperature. As such, they may be misdiagnosed with malaria. People experiencing this illness are also prone to anemia, as the responsible parasite inhabits and damages red blood cells.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted by dog ticks and wood ticks. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include strong fevers, severe headaches, soreness of muscles and rashes. Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, results in swollen lymph nodes, sore throat and vomiting. Ehrlichiosis can be contracted through wood tick, deer tick and lone star tick bites. This disease poses a threat to white blood cells and typically results in vomiting and loss of appetite.

While some tick-borne diseases can prove fatal if left untreated, most are curable when dealt with in a timely manner. It is best to seek medical treatment immediately following a suspected tick bite or at the first sign of tick-borne illness.