As spring awakens here in UConn country, so do the ticks. UConn veterinarian, researcher, and tick-borne disease expert Dr. Sandra Bushmich recently answered questions about ticks and the diseases they carry in this area, especially some lesser known and emerging diseases.
Can you tell us about Borrelia miyamotoi, the ‘new’ tick-borne disease?
Borrelia miyamotoi is an emerging tick-borne disease which is caused by a different Borrelia than the one that causes Lyme disease. It was discovered more than 20 years ago in Japan and was originally thought not to cause disease. However a few years ago, a Russian physician found that it was indeed causing disease in some patients. The first diagnosed case was reported here in the U.S. in 2013. Some people become infected without showing symptoms at all, while others can have mild to severe symptoms. Some of the symptoms are different from those of Lyme disease. Borrelia miyamotoi infections usually have no rash, but the patient may have a fever, severe headache, arthralgia (achy joints), chills, fatigue, low blood platelets, and low white blood cell count. The symptoms are actually closer to those of anaplasmosis, another tick-borne disease.
What can you tell us about diagnosis?