Tick-borne diseases, which afflict humans and other animals, are caused by infectious agents transmitted by tick bites. They are caused by infection with a variety of pathogens, including rickettsia and other types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The economic impact of tick-borne diseases is considered to be substantial in humans, and tick-borne diseases are estimated to affect ~80 % of cattle worldwide.
The occurrence of ticks and tick-borne illnesses in humans is increasing. Tick populations are spreading into new areas, in part due to climate change. Tick populations are also affected by changes in the populations of their hosts (e.g. deer, cattle, mice, lizards) and those hosts' predators (e.g. foxes). Diversity and availability of hosts and predators can be affected by deforestation and habitat fragmentation.
Because individual ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment. As the incidence of tick-borne illnesses increases and the geographic areas in which they are found expand, health workers increasingly must be able to distinguish the diverse, and often overlapping, clinical presentations of these diseases.
(As of 2020) 18 tick-borne pathogens have been identified in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and at least 27 are known globally. New tick-borne diseases have been discovered in the 21st century, due in part to the use of molecular assays and next-generation sequencing.
Ticks tend to be more active during warmer months, though this varies by geographic region and climate. Areas with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Those bitten commonly experience symptoms such as body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rashes. People can limit their exposure to tick bites by wearing light-colored clothing (including pants and long sleeves), using insect repellent with 20%–30% N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET), tucking their pants legs into their socks, checking for ticks frequently, and washing and drying their clothing in a hot dryer.
According to the World Health Organization, tick-to-animal transmission is difficult to prevent because animals do not show visible symptoms; the only effective prevention relies on killing ticks on the livestock production facility.
Ticks should be removed as soon as safely possible once discovered. They can be removed either by grasping tweezers as close to the mouth as possible and pulling without rotation; some companies market grooved tools that rotate the hypostome to facilitate removal. Chemical methods to make the tick self-detach, or trying to pull the tick out with one’s fingers, are not efficient methods.
In general, specific laboratory tests are not available for rapid diagnosis of tick-borne diseases. Due to their seriousness, antibiotic treatment is often justified based on clinical presentation alone.
For a person or pet to acquire a tick-borne disease requires that the individual gets bitten by a tick and that the tick feeds for a sufficient period of time. The feeding time required to transmit pathogens differs for different ticks and different pathogens. Transmission of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is well understood to require a substantial feeding period. In general, soft ticks (Argasidae) transmit pathogens within minutes of attachment because they feed more frequently, whereas hard ticks (Ixodidae) take hours or days, but the latter are more common and harder to remove.
For an individual to acquire infection, the feeding tick must also be infected. Not all ticks are infected. In most places in the US, 30-50% of deer ticks will be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (the agent of Lyme disease). Other pathogens are much more rare. Ticks can be tested for infection using a highly specific and sensitive qPCR procedure. Several commercial labs provide this service to individuals for a fee. The Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ), a nonprofit lab at the University of Massachusetts, provides a comprehensive TickReport  for a variety of human pathogens and makes the data available to the public. Those wishing to know the incidence of tick-borne diseases in their town or state can search the LMZ surveillance database.
Major tick-borne diseases include:
- Lyme disease or borreliosis
- Organism: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (bacterium)
- Vector: at least 15 species of ticks in the genus Ixodes, including deer tick (Ixodes scapularis (=I. dammini), I. pacificus, I. ricinus (Europe), I. persulcatus (Asia))
- Endemic to: The Americas and Eurasia
- Symptoms: Fever, arthritis, neuroborreliosis, erythema migrans, cranial nerve palsy, carditis, fatigue, and influenza-like illness
- Treatment: Antibiotics - amoxicillin in pregnant adults and children), (doxycycline in other adults
- Relapsing fever (tick-borne relapsing fever, different from Lyme disease due to different Borrelia species and ticks)
- Organisms: Borrelia species such as B. hermsii, B. parkeri, B. duttoni, B. miyamotoi
- Vector: Ornithodoros species
- Regions : Primarily in Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Asia in and certain areas of Canada and the western United States
- Symptoms: Relapsing fever typically presents as recurring high fevers, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and muscular pain, with less common symptoms including rigors, joint pain, altered mentation, cough, sore throat, painful urination, and rash
- Treatment: Antibiotics are the treatment for relapsing fever, with doxycycline, tetracycline, or erythromycin being the treatment of choice.
- Typhus Several diseases caused by Rickettsia bacteria (below)
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Organism: Rickettsia rickettsii
- Vector: Wood tick (Dermacentor variabilis), D. andersoni
- Region (US): East, Southwest
- Vector: Amblyomma cajennense
- Region (Brazil): São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais.
- Symptoms:Fever, headache, altered mental status, myalgia, and rash
- Treatment: Antibiotic therapy, typically consisting of doxycycline or tetracycline
- Helvetica spotted fever
- Organism: Rickettsia helvetica
- Region(R. helvetica): Confirmed common in ticks in Sweden, Switzerland, France, and Laos
- Vector/region(s)#1: Ixodes ricinus is the main European vector.
- Symptoms: Most often small red spots, other symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and respiratory problems
- Treatment: Broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is needed, phenoxymethylpenicillin likely is sufficient.
- Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (formerly human granulocytic ehrlichiosis or HGE)
- Organism: Anaplasma phagocytophilum (formerly Ehrlichia phagocytophilum or Ehrlichia equi)
- Vector: Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), I. scapularis
- Region (US): South Atlantic, South-central
- Bartonella: Bartonella transmission rates to humans via tick bite are not well established  but Bartonella is common in ticks. For example: 4.76% of 2100 ticks tested in a study in Germany 
- Organism: Francisella tularensis, A. americanum
- Vector: D. variabilis, D. andersoni
- Region (US): Southeast, South-central, West, widespread
- Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
- Powassan virus/deer tick virus
- Colorado tick fever
- Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
- Severe febrile illness
- Severe febrile illness, headaches, coma in 1/3 patients
- Organism: Cytauxzoon felis
- Vector: Amblyomma americanum (Lone star tick)
- Region (US): South, Southeast
- Tick paralysis
- Alpha-gal allergy - Alpha-gal syndrome is likely caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to the Alpha-gal (Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose) sugar molecule introduced by ticks while feeding on a human host. The immune reaction can leave people with an allergy to red meat and other mammalian derived products.
- List of diseases spread by invertebrates
- List of insect-borne diseases
- Mosquito-borne disease
- Ticks of domestic animals
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- Tick-Borne Diseases: Recommendations for Workers and Employers—National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- Tickborne Diseases—National Center for Infectious Diseases (CDC)
- Tickborne Disease Website—Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- Ixodes Scapularis—3D animation of Deer or Blacklegged Tick from US Army site
- Parasitic Insects, Mites and Ticks: Genera of Medical and Veterinary Importance Wikibooks
Original source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick-borne disease. Read more