Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Advent of a New Tick Borne Illness

    Some time ago, I presented a series here on tickborne illnesses.   The US Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia has just announced the discovery of a new tick borne virus.   Two Missouri farmers developed a viral illness following a tick bite,  which caused a devastating and life threatening drop in their platelet levels. They lived 60 miles from each other and did not share a common area in which they are believed to have become infected. There was a five to seven day interval between the time they were bitten and the onset of the illness itself.   Both of them required inpatient hospital care, of 10 and 12 days each and had severe headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. One remains weak with memory deficits.  The symptoms were similar to another tick borne illness erlichiosis.  Both men were bitten by the Lone Star tick. (Amblyomma Americanum) They were originally thought to have erlichiosis, but they did not respond to antibiotics. Later, a new virus was isolated from the blood of each man.  Weeks of recovery time were required afterward.  The CDC expects more cases and expects this illness to continue to spread.    This virus falls into the family of phlebovirus, but is genetically unique. It is similar to the Chinese phlebovirus SFTSV. These viruses can and do disrupt platelet manufacture, and although hemorrhage was not a feature of the disease in these particular two Missouri farmers, it could certainly be in others who are eventually afflicted.
   The CDC expects more cases and expects this illness to continue to spread at least to the areas in which the Lone Star tick inhabits.  This comprises a completely new zoonotic infection, and could cause death in younger, older, particularly in patients of all ages who have other types of pre-existing medical conditions.

Our other posts which concern Tick Borne Illnesses:


Prior to this, these were the only known tick borne illnesses:


russell1200 said...

Rocky mountain spotted fever, and lyme desease are both baterial infections. Not real thrilled to see a virus from a rather nasty group get involved. For once, North Carolina is not at the epicenter of the infection (yet).

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, they are different types of bacteria one is ricketsial and the other is a spirochete (as is syphilis) Often, viral illnesses can be difficult to diagnose and to treat.
These are the tick borne illnesses in the US other than this new tick borne phelebovirus.

In the United States, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause human disease, including:

Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.

Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis in the United States are caused by Babesia microti. Babesia microti is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and is found primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans by the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found primarily in the southcentral and eastern U.S. (Some spell this Erlichiosis)

Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern U.S. and upper Midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.

Rickettsia parkeri Rickettsiosis is transmitted to humans by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sangunineus) in the U.S. The brown dog tick and other tick species are associated with RMSF in Central and South America.

STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found in the southeastern and eastern U.S.

Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.

Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.

364D Rickettsiosis (Rickettsia phillipi, proposed) is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis ticks). This is a new disease that has been found in California.

Cheery information, isn't it ?

lotta joy said...

I despise ticks beyond reason and am the first person to start getting hysterical, and I'm a rather laid back individual.

I'm not sure about Florida, but during some years we would be inundated with ticks in Indiana.

Which way do YOU recommend removing them? We used to use a match, after blowing out the flame of course. But the tick WOULD voluntarily remove his own head!

JaneofVirginia said...

Hello Lotta Joy,
Your posts always bring me lots of that !

Regarding the removal of ticks, I wrote two prior posts, one of which has a video on what physicians consider the best and safest way to remove ticks.

Generally, using tweezers to remove the tick in the direction he went in, is best. I apply alcohol afterward. If the wound is small, I sometimes circle the area with a normal pen so that I can locate the region again, and make sure that the wound does not infect, become a bulls-eye rash or any other type. Burning, suffocating with nailpolish, etc. is not recommended because it causes sufficient duress in the tick that he may die and release microorganisms into your circulation, that he probably would not, if he were simply removed.
I dispose of ticks by flushing down the toilet, but sometimes, if you have a pet who comes in with a fair number of ticks, you can remove them and throw them into a container filled with alcohol, which closes (screw top is ideal). Then, throw away the container. Always soak your tweezers in alcohol for 5-10 minutes after tick removal, and for others reading, make sure you have a pair of tweezers for human beings and at least one seperate set for animals because Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses could conceivably be transmitted through dirty tweezers, or what are called in the medical world, "needle nosed forceps".