Lyme Disease is not the only infection that is passed by a tick bite. These other diseases have become known as “co-infections.” They are a mix of infections, viruses and parasites.
Here is a chart that shows which ticks pass which infections. Below the chart are the symptoms for each co infection.
Babesia is a protozoan spread by ticks, blood transfusion, and in utero. There are 13 known forms but our current blood testing only looks for two of them.
- Air hunger
- Shaking chills
- Night Sweats
- stretch mark-like rash
- Bartonella Rash
- abnormal liver enzymes
- flu-like malaise
- hemolysis with anemia
- high fever
- immune deficiency
- papular or angiomatous rash
- sore throat
- weakened immune response
So far B. mayonii has been found in the upper Midwestern United States in ticks. It has been identified in deer ticks collected in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- spotty rashes
- higher concentration of bacteria in the blood
What is Borrelia miyamotoi?
Borrelia miyamotoi is a species of spiral-shaped bacteria that is closely related to the bacteria that cause tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF). It is related to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. First identified in 1995 in ticks from Japan, B. miyamotoi has since been detected in two species of North American ticks, deer tick and the western black-legged tick.
- body and joint pain
- rarely a rash
- elevated aminotransferase levels
Bourbon virus belongs to a group of viruses called thogotoviruses. So far research has shown it is transmitted through tick and other insect bites. Most of the cases of Bourbon Virus have been in the Midwest. Ticks spread and with global warming and their travel on birds and rodents will continue to spread. So far there have been cases in Missouri and Kansas.
- body aches
- low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding
Ehrlichiosis is an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of a tick. It is caused by bacteria that belong to the family called Rickettsiae.
- elevated liver enzymes
- ongoing fatigue
- persistent leukopenia
Heartland virus belongs to a family of viruses called Phleboviruses.
Most phleboviruses that cause people to become sick are passed through the bite of a mosquito, tick, or sandfly. Lone Star ticks are thought to be the main vector.
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- stomach ache
- low numbers of cells that fight infection and that help blood clot
( leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and mildly to moderately elevated liver transaminases)
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium is spread to humans through the bite of infected ticks, and so the disease is most common in months where ticks are active, such as summer. Rocky Mountains occurs throughout most of the U.S. Most cases require hospitalization, and severe cases require intensive care. The disease is diagnosed by finding high titers of antibodies in the blood or by seeing the organism under a microscope in specially stained skin biopsies. The treatment of choice is the antibiotic doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox). Prompt treatment improves survival and reduces complications.
- high fever
- severe headache
- chills fatigue and muscle pain/achiness
- myalgias nausea
- loss of appetite
- gastrointestinal problems (10% will produce stools positive for occult blood)
- light intolerance
The most common of the Lyme Co-infection is Mycoplasma Fermentans. It is the smallest of bacteria’s and has the ability to enter any cell and alter itself, changing its cellular makeup with every cell division. It invades all systems of the human body.
- flu-like aches and pains
- cramps and spasms night sweats
- intermittent fevers
- memory loss
- loss of concentration
Mycoplasmas are a heterogeneous group of the smallest organisms capable of self-replication. They can cause a wide variety of diseases in animals. Some mycoplasmas cause respiratory or urogenital diseases in humans. Mycoplasmas often chronically colonize our respiratory and urogenital tracts without apparent clinical significance.
To read more about Mycoplasma please visit:
- Learn More about Mycoplasma Here
Tick paralysis is the only tick-borne disease that is not caused by an infectious organism. The illness is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the tick’s salivary gland. The tick incoculates the host with a toxin from tick salivary glands during a blood meal. The toxin causes symptoms within a week beginning with weakness in both legs that progresses to paralysis. The paralysis ascends to the trunk, arms, and head within hours and may lead to respiratory failure and death. The disease can present as acute ataxia without muscle weakness.
Removal of the embedded tick usually results in resolution of symptoms within several hours to days. If the tick is not removed, the toxin can be fatal.
Please be aware that you dog can get this too. http://www.nutrecareblog.com/2011/05/tick-paralysis
Colorado tick fever is an acute viral infection spread by the bite of the Dermacentor andersoni wood tick.
- light sensitivity
- pneumonitis myocarditis
- Complement fixation antibody test
- Immunofluorescence antibody test
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Creatine kinase.
- Liver function tests
Q fever is a bacterial infection that can affect the lungs, liver, heart, and other parts of the body. People usually get infected with Q fever by breathing in contaminated droplets released by infected animals. Drinking raw milk has also caused infection in rare cases. Chronic Q fever requires long-term treatment with antibiotics.
- High fever
- Sore throat
- Clay-colored stools
- Chest pain
Q fever is found around the world and is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. The bacteria affects sheep, goats, cattle, dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and ticks, as well as some other animals. Infected animals shed this bacteria in:
- Birth products
Powassan (POW) virus is related to some mosquito-borne viruses, including West Nile virus. The virus is named after Powassan, Ontario, where it was first discovered in 1958. Two types of Powassan virus have been found in North America.
There are two types:
One type of POW virus is carried by Ixodes scapularis (deer tick).
The second type of POW virus is carried by Ixodes cookei, a related tick species that usually feeds on woodchucks or other medium-sized mammals instead of humans. I. cookei has also been found in wooded areas in Minnesota.
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
- loss of coordination
- speech difficulties
- memory loss
Tickborne Relapsing Fever
Relapsing fever is an infection caused by the bites of lice or soft-bodied ticks. Tick-borne relapsing fever is found primarily in Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Asia, and certain areas in the Western U.S. and Canada. Most people who are infected get sick around within a couple weeks of the bite.
Symptoms may include a sudden fever, chills, headaches, and muscle or joint aches, and nausea; a rash may also occur. These symptoms continue for 2-9 days, then disappear. This cycle may continue for several weeks if the person is not treated.
Relapsing Fever is easily treated with 1-2 weeks of antibiotics. Most people improve within 24 hours of starting antibiotics.
Tularemia is an infection common in wild rodents and can be passed to humans through contact with infected animal tissues or by ticks, biting flies, and mosquitoes. Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. F. tularensis tularensis which is found in lagomorphs in North America, is highly virulent in humans and domestic rabbits.
Humans can get the disease through:
- A bite from an infected tick, horsefly, or mosquito
- Breathing in infected dirt or plant material
- Direct contact, through a break in the skin, with an infected animal or its dead body (most often a rabbit, muskrat, beaver, or squirrel)
- Eating infected meat (rare)
- high fever
- swollen glands
- chills, headache
- extreme fatigue
- muscle aches
- joint pain
- dry cough
- progressive weakness
- weight loss
- nausea, vomiting. diarrhea
- abdominal pain
- intestinal ulcerations
- inflamed eyes often with a discharge
- sore throat, mouth sores
The drug of choice is streptomycin. Tularemia may also be treated with gentamicin for ten days, tetracycline-class drugs such as doxycycline for two to three weeks.
STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness)
Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), also known as Masters disease, occurs after the bite of the lone star tick. The disease is thought to be caused by the bacterium Borrelia lonestari.Early STARI symptoms are similar to symptoms of early Lyme disease. A skin lesion that looks like a Lyme disease bull’s eye rash appears at the site of the tick bite. Treatment with an antibiotic regimen similar to that used for LD helps resolve STARI.Symtpoms Fever Headache Lesion at bite site
Parts of this list were taken from Short Co-Infection Symptoms List
To learn more about co-infections go to: Lyme Disease Co-infections