Ticks Serve as Vectors for a Wide Array of Diseases

FAIRFAX, Va. (September 25, 2014) – Though Lyme Disease is by far the best-known illness that some ticks can carry, it is far from the only disease for which ticks serve as potential vectors. Ticks can harbor multiple pathogens at the same time, meaning a single tick bite could impart a variety of infections that are not always picked up during Lyme Disease testing. Additionally, Lyme Disease treatments are not always effective at treating other tick-borne infections.

Other illnesses carried by ticks include:

  • Red meat allergy - A Lone Star tick bite can trigger an immune response that renders victims severely allergic to red meat. Researchers believe the allergy is an antibody response to the tick's saliva.
  • Heartland Virus - Also transmitted by the Lone Star Tick, the Heartland Virus can cause fever, appetite loss, muscle and joint pain and nausea and lowered white blood cell count. Symptoms are often so severe they require hospitalization.
  • Babesiosis - The deer tick is able to carry this disease, which can cause organ failure and even death in those with compromised immune systems.
  • Powassan virus-Scientists have seen a stark increase in black-legged deer ticks carrying this virus causing symptoms from mild muscle pain to encephalitis or meningitis.