Ticks have dirty mouths! A single tick bite can transmit other diseases besides Lyme, often referred to as co-infections. Understanding the possibility of these other infections and knowing their symptoms will help you get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Some of the most common tick-borne diseases include:
- Borrelia burgorferi (Lyme)
- Borrelia miyamotoi *
- Borrelia mayonii*
- Colorado tick fever
- Rickettsia helvetica*
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI)
- Tick Paralysis
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
* Recently identified pathogens
Tick Species and Diseases They Carry
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a 2017 report, “Tickborne Diseases of the United States” summarizing geographic presence, signs and symptoms of the diseases and the ticks that carry them.
There is much more to learn and better data is emerging on these and other diseases not included in this chart. For example:
- A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that Borrelia miyamotoi, a form of bacteria that is genetically related to the Lyme-causing species Borrelia burgdorferi, may cause relapsing fever and other Lyme-like symptoms. It has been detected in all tick species that carry Lyme disease and discovered recently throughout the San Francsico Bay Area (see Bay Area Tick Study).
- We are also tracking new studies about Bartonella, another disease that may be transmitted to humans by ticks. Read more about new research we are doing in Lyme Ecology to better understand local ticks and the infections they carry.
- The CDC and NIH have also documented and are actively researching other novel tick-borne diseases such as Powassan and Heartland virus (see New & Emerging Tick-Borne Diseases: Agents, Clinical Features, and Surveillance Information)
For a full list of tick species with photos, visit the CDC website.