Diseases Transmitted by Ticks

Several illnesses are caused by the genus Borrelia. All borreliae are transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods. All known species of Borrelia are transmitted by ticks, with the exception of one species , which is transmitted by the human body louse. Tick-borne diseases are maintained in nature by cycling through wild animals and the ticks that feed on them. Individual species of Borrelia differ in the arthropod vectors by which they are transmitted, their reservoir hosts, the diversity of species that they can infect, and the diseases they cause. These bacteria can be pathogenic for humans, domestic animals, rodents and birds.

About two-thirds of the currently recognized species of Borrelia are transmitted by “soft” ticks of the family Argasidae. This group includes those ticks responsible for tick-borne relapsing fever in humans as well as illness associated with cattle and fowl. The remaining known species of Borrelia are transmitted by various species of “hard” ticks of the family Ixodidae. This includes the causative agent of Lyme disease and related disorders.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease occurs in Europe, the USA and most continents of the world, It is named after the town in Connecticut, USA where the first cases were recognized in 1975. The natural cycle of infection takes place in many warm blooded animals such as birds, mice and deer in whom it is transmitted by hard ticks. In the tick, the bacteria are transmitted from generation to generation, from adult to eggs, which helps maintain the cycle of Lyme disease. Human infection follows the bite of an infected tick (larval, nymph or adult form). In Europe and the USA, infection is more common in summer months when recreational exposure to infected ticks is more likely. Person to person transmission does not occur.

The bacteria multiply locally in your body. After an incubation period of about one to six weeks to as much as several months, fever, headache, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, and a characteristic lesion at the site of the tick bite may develop. Not all people develop the rash. The skin lesion, or rash, is called “erythema chronicum migrans” or the much publicized “bullseye” rash, its name describing its main features. It begins as a macule and enlarges over the next few weeks, remaining red and flat, but with the center clearing, until it is several inches in diameter. In 50% of patients, lesions appear on the skin elsewhere in the body.

In 75% of untreated patients, despite immune response, additional later manifestations of disease occur. These may be seen from one week to more than two years after the onset of illness. The first of these manifestation to appear are neurologic and cardiologic. The second of these manifestations to appear are arthralgia and arthritis, which may persist for months or years. In late manifestations the Borrelia are rarely detectable at this stage.

Importance of Tick Testing

Often, doctors will not treat a patient or an animal until symptoms of Lyme disease have developed, leading to even more severe symptoms. Testing your tick for Lyme disease can help you and your doctor make timely treatment decisions, before symptoms arise. Today, there are new methods for tick testing, so you don’t have to wait for weeks to get the results back, but only several days. And the effectiveness of these new tests is far greater than the old ones. Blumed laboratory is using the latest technology for tick testing. You can visit their website to learn more about the testing process and ile kosztuje badanie kleszcza.

In other cases, doctors prescribe unnecessary medications to patients before testing, which can also lead to dangerous adverse reactions in some patients.

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