Lyme disease was first identified in 1975, and since then the disease has continued to increase, both in the number of people afflicted and in the geographic distribution. National surveillance for Lyme disease began in 1982, when 491 cases were reported. In 2004, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 19,804 human cases verified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 60,000 cases are reported each year in Europe.
Lyme disease is caused by infection with a spirochete (a type of bacteria) which can be transmitted to people by bites from nymphal and adult Blacklegged ticks. American dog ticks are NOT able to transmit Lyme disease spirochetes. Larval and nymphal Blacklegged ticks can become infected when they take a blood meal from infected rodents and birds. Deer do NOT pass the infection to ticks.
CDC page : http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/
Human babesiosis, a malaria-like infection that is sometimes fatal, was first convincingly diagnosed in the United States on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in 1970s. In the Northeast, the blacklegged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the principal vector transmitting the etiologic agent, Babesia microti. This tick is also the primary vector of Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia bugdorferi. Natural maintenance of both infections in the Northeast appears to mainly involve interactions between Peromyscus leucopus and the blacklegged tick. In areas where these diseases are endemic, concurrent infections by both pathogens in P. leucopus and in I. scapularis are common. It has been experimentally demonstrated that a single tick bite can transmit either one of the pathogens alone or both together during a blood meal. Therefore, the potential for simultaneous acquisition of two infections through the bite of an infective tick seems similar.
CDC page : http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/babesiosis/
During the past 10 years, two tick-borne diseases caused by Ehrlichia spp. have been recognized in the United States. Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME) was first described in 1986. It is caused by E. chaffeensis, which was only discovered in 1991. Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE), an alternative form of HME, was recognized as a new disease in 1993. Its causative agent is still uncertain; however, it is similar to another Ehrlichia equi described from horses.
Both types of ehrlichiosis have similar clinical symptoms, ranging from a mild illness to a severe, life-threatening disease. Typically, infected individuals have fever, headache, malaise, chills, sweating, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. Also, either disease may cause leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, and liver function abnormalities. Treatment with anitbiotics is effective when initiated early in the course of infection.
CDC page : http://www.cdc.gov/ehrlichiosis/
Fever and chills, muscle and joint aches, headaches, exhaustion! If that is how you feel, and you live or play in rural, suburban and even peri-urban parts of the northeastern United States, then one or more tick-transmitted infections should, at least, be considered as a possible cause. Tick bites can result in transmission of bacteria, protozoans, rickettsias and even viruses. In the northeastern United States, tick-transmitted pathogens can cause (common to rare) :
Although each of these diseases also have their own unique diagnostic symptoms, and can be detected using appropriate blood tests, acute disease often is described as a summer-time flu.