A New Tick Disease Discovered


If it wasn't bad enough that ticks transmit Lyme disease, encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia and other illnesses, on April 24, 2015, CBS News reported that a new tick virus has been found. J. Stephen Dumler, MD, a professor of pathology at the University of Maryland has helped to discover and identify a never-before-seen disease that can be transmitted by ticks.

In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet Infectious Disease, researchers looked at 477 people in northeastern China who had been bitten by ticks in the spring of 2014. Of this group, 6% were found to be infected with a bacteria that causes fever, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and muscle aches. Normally found in goats, this bacteria has been able to leap to humans, thanks to the taiga tick, a close relative of the deer tick. This makes it a likely threat to Europe and the Americas, where this tick is common.

So, how does this affect U.S. residents? "This is an entirely new species of bacteria," said Dumler. "We still have a lot to learn about this species, but it may be that this bacteria is infecting humans over a wide area." He points out that because no one knew the bacteria existed, no one was looking for it. This means it is impossible to know how far it has spread.

The conclusion CBS News makes is that we should continue to take the same precautions we've been taking. This new bacteria is just one more reason to follow the CDC checklist for tick bite prevention.

  • Wear protective clothing like long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas.
  • Stay in the center of trails.
  • Wear a hat or cap.
  • Wear lighter clothing so ticks are easier to see.
  • Put on some tick repellant.
  • Do a tick check when you return from spending time in nature.

Dumler also warns to take precautions with your pets. Ticks can make them sick as well. Plus, pets can carry ticks into your home and present a danger for your family. This makes tick prevention in your backyard a must as well. Ticks are not an insect you can live with. Follow these tips and stay protected.

For information on ticks in Massachusetts and how American Pest Solutions can help you get rid of these biting pests, give us a call today!