DPH: Other Tick-borne Diseases

Other Tick-borne Diseases

{Tick on grass.}
 
 
Ticks found in Connecticut carry a variety of disease causing agents including, rickettsia, bacteria, and protozoa. People can become infected with more than one disease with one tick bite. When multi-infection transmission occurs, diagnosis and treatment can be difficult. Symptoms and treatment for each condition may vary.
 
Besides Lyme disease, ticks in Connecticut can also transmit the following reportable diseases:
  • Babesiosis
  • Human granulocytic anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis (HGA/HGE)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
There are two primary tick species in Connecticut that transmit these diseases:
  • Ixodes scapularis (deer tick); transmits babesiosis, HGA/HGE, and Lyme disease
  • Dermacentor variabilis (dog tick); transmits RMSF
Babesiosis
 
This infection is caused by a protozoan called Babesia microti. This parasite invades and lives within red blood cells. Symptoms are mostly nonspecific, and the illness can range from very mild to very severe; although most people will not have symptoms. People who become sick may get symptoms within 1-4 weeks after the tick bite. Symptoms may include:
  • Fever
  • Drenching sweats
  • Muscle or joint aches or pains
  • A blood test may find a breakdown of the red blood cells called hemolytic anemia 
Less frequent symptoms may include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache 
  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Skin rash
As would be expected, people who spend time outdoors in tick infested areas are at an increased risk of getting babesiosis. The disease is more severe in the elderly and in people who have weakened immune systems, especially those who have had their spleen removed.
 
For those with symptoms, treatment with a combination of quinine and clindamycin or a combination of atovaquone and azithromycin may be used.
 
HGA/HGE
 
This infection is caused by a bacterium. This bacteria invades and lives within white blood cells called granulocytes. Much like babesiosis, symptoms are mostly nonspecific, and the illness can range from very mild to very severe; although most people will not have symptoms. People who become sick may get symptoms within 7-21 days after the tick bite. Most patients will experience the following symptoms:
  • Rapid onset of fever
  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Severe headache
Less frequent symptoms may include:
  • Malaise
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acute weight loss
  • Skin rash
Diagnosis can be made through blood tests. One test will be done when you first get sick, and the second in about 4-6 weeks. Again, people who spend time outdoors and expose themselves to ticks in infested areas are at an increased risk of becoming infected.
 
HGA/HGE can be effectively treated with antibiotics like doxycycline.
 
RMSF
 
This infection is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and is not very common in Connecticut. Most patients will experience symptoms within 2 weeks of a tick bite and include:
  • Sudden onset of moderate to high fever (which can last for 2 or 3 weeks)
  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue
  • Deep muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Rash, which begins on the legs or arms, may include the soles of the feet or palms of the hands and may spread rapidly to the trunk or rest of the body.
Diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test. Treatment includes antibiotics like tetracycline or chloramphenicol.
 
 
Seek medical attention if you become ill after a tick bite.






To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.
 




Content Last Modified on 7/12/2016 3:24:03 PM