Tick-borne diseases are diseases or illnesses transmitted byticks. As the incidence of tick-borne illnesses increases and the geographic areas in which they are found expand, it becomes increasingly important that health workers be able to distinguish the diverse, and often overlapping, clinical presentations of these diseases.
Tick-borne illnesses are caused by infection with a variety of pathogens, including rickettsia and other types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Because ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
In general, specific laboratory tests are not available to rapidly diagnose tick-borne diseases. Due to their seriousness, antibiotic treatment is often justified based on clinical presentation alone.
Ticks tend to be more active during warmer months, though this varies by geographic region and climate. Areas with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Those bitten commonly experience symptoms such as body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rashes. People can limit their exposure to tick bites by wearing light-colored clothing (including pants and long sleeves), using insect repellent with 20%–30% DEET, tucking their pant legs into their socks, checking for ticks frequently, and washing and drying their clothing (in a hot dryer). Another natural form of control for ticks is the guineafowl, a bird species which consumes mass quantities of ticks. So good animal husbandry can reduce tick prevalence in a high tick prevalence area.
Organisms: Borrelia species Such as Borrelia hermsii, Borrelia parkeri, Borrelia duttoni, Borrelia miyamotoi
Vector: Ornithodoros species
Regions : Primarily in Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Asia in and certain areas of Canada and the western United States
Symptoms: Relapsing fever typically presents as recurring high fevers, headaches, and muscular pain, with less common symptoms including rigors, joint pain, altered mentation, cough, painful urination, and rash.
Treatment: antibiotics are the treatment for relapsing fever, with doxycycline, tetracycline, or erythromycin being the treatment of choice.
Typhus Several diseases caused by Rickettsia bacteria (below).