While Lyme disease is the most common disease that ticks carry, ticks may carry other diseases along with Lyme disease. All tick-borne disorders tend to include flu-like symptoms of fever, malaise, headache, and joint/muscle aches and pain. These are most common tick-borne diseases:
ANAPLASMOSIS - Caused by the the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilium, previously known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and more recently called human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). Symptons include fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches.
BABESIOSIS - Protozoan infection of red blood cells. Symptoms can be mild to life threatening, with a high fever and fatigue. More severe in people who have had their spleen removed. Strains include:
- Babesia divergens
- B. bovis
- Other species are possible
BARTONELLA HENSELAE - CAT-SCRATCH DISEASE - Bacterial disease starting with a red mark that can become swollen and discolored. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes (especially under ears) with conjunctivitis, heart or spleen problems, bone lesions, hepatitis, eye problems and encephalitis (causing seizures and coma). There is indirect clinical evidence that there are a group of "Bartonella-like organisms" that can co-infect a Lyme patient. Identification of these organisms awaits further scientific study.
COLORADO TICK FEVER - Viral disease characterized by a high fever and sometimes a faint rash. After a 2-3 day remission, symptoms recur, accompanied by a drop in white blood cells. Complications may include encephalitis, heart problems and severe bleeding.
EHRLICHIOSIS - Rickettsial infections (HME and HGE forms) of white blood cells. A rash may occur. Severe illness may have neurologic complications. Delayed treatment can result in death.
LYME (MASTERS') DISEASE - Multisystem bacterial infection that can start with an enlarging rash. Brain, joint, heart, eye, spleen, kidney and other organs can be affected. Lyme disease has been reported worldwide, in every continent except Antarctica. It is well known that migrating birds can distribute ticks long distances, which may be one reason for Lyme's presence all over the globe.
POWASSAN ENCEPHALITIS - Viral brain infection causing seizures, aphasia, muscle weakness, dementia and death.
QUERY (Q) FEVER - Rickettsial infection causing high fever, pneumonia and damage to the liver, heart, or brain. Potential bioterrorism agent because it can become airborne.
RELAPSING FEVER - Multisystem bacterial infection with symptoms similar to Lyme Disease. Characterized by repeating bouts of fever lasting 2-9 days, alternating with periods of no fever. Potential bioterrorism agent.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER - Rickettsial infection causing a reddish-to-black rash resembling measles. Diagnosis and treatment must be made immediately or death can occur.
TICK PARALYSIS - Loss of motor function and increasing paralysis caused by a reaction to a female tick's neurotoxins.
TULAREMIA - Bacterial infection causing repeated fever spikes. Swollen lymph nodes develop into skin ulcers, conjunctivitis, and pneumonia. Potential bioterrorism agent.