Even though Lyme disease enjoys the limelight right now, but there are many more reasons to avoid tick bites. A recent research shows the latest in a growing list of tick-borne threats, which is a distant relative of Lyme that can easily be confused with other diseases.
The study suggests that it is a different variety of bacteria with a unwieldy name ‘Borrelia miyamotoi’, which should be on the radar when individuals in areas which are endemic to Lyme get unexplained summertime fevers. It is one of the several recently discovered diseases linked to ticks in different areas in the Nation.
“People need to be aware of what tick-borne diseases are in their area,” says Dr. Peter Krause of Yale University, a specialist who reviewed the research. “And they should know how to avoid ticks.”
The first case in the U.S., reported in 2013 was of an 80-year-old cancer survivor who got confused, had difficulty in walking and lost 30 pounds. The doctors found spiral-shaped bacteria in her spinal fluid which was similar to Lyme but was the source of a relapsing fever which was closely related to some other tick-borne illnesseses.
Some clues can be taken from the study on Monday where researchers with Imugen Inc, which is a Massachusetts testing lab, analyzed blood samples from patients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey whose doctors suspect tick-borne illnesses and used that lab.
The bacterium is carried by deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, which also can spread Lyme and two other illnesses, babesiosis and anaplasmosis.