ME/CFS in the Department of Medicine

Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick Borne Diseases

What are tick-borne diseases?

Tick-borne diseases are illnesses transmitted by ticks. Ticks can carry many different pathogens. The tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness. Other tick-borne bacteria such as Rickettsia, Bartonella, other Borrelia species, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis can cause similar diseases. Ticks can also carry viruses and protozoa, such as Babesia microti, which causes Babesiosis. Following a tick bite, many people experience body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rashes. It is important to note that for a tick to actively transmit an infectious agent, it usually needs to have a period of attachment to the patient’s skin of 24 hours or longer (as is the case in Lyme disease). Antibiotics commonly treat tick bites, but some people still experience chronic symptoms such as fatigue and muscle and joint pain months after the tick bite.


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Only a physician familiar with a patient's individual medical history can make medical judgments and give that patient specific medical advice.

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