New type of disease found in ticks – and it’s growing

According to a recent report by Connecticut tick-borne disease expert Dr. Sandra Bushmich, data indicates that a new form of tick-borne illness, Borrelia miyamotoi, is growing.

Unlike Lyme disease, which is picked up by each tick along the way, the Borrelia infection is passed directly from the mother tick to her eggs, which are born with the infection, so it has a great potential to grow exponentially each year.

"We are worried that the newest discovered tick virus will rear its ugly head this year in a big way," said Dr. Julia Greenspan, ND, a tick-borne disease expert who has been diagnosing and treating tick-associated diseases for years with IV antibiotics at her clinic in Amherst, Greenhouse Naturopathic Medicine. "Unlike Lyme disease, this infection is passed from mommy tick to baby tick. We need to be extra vigilant this year. … The newly discovered infection Borrelia miyamotoi is growing."

The state primarily tracks four tick-borne infections: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus. Information about these is available at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme.

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.

This a good time to treat yards to help control the tick population all year. Treat your yard around areas that ticks like, such as perimeters near the woods or rock walls. Keep your grass short, dehydrating ticks. Consider a small yard application of permethrin as a control measure.

Other safety measures include:

? Wear long pants and socks.

? Use Deet, a tick-repellent that can be applied to the skin.

? Wear tick-repellent socks with tight weave so ticks can’t bite through the fabric.

? Check yourself regularly for ticks, especially near the neck and head, which are their favorite areas to feed. Make it a nightly routine to do a tick check.

? Check your pets and treat with tick-preventive collars or monthly topical treatments for ticks.