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Diseases Spread by Ticks

Information about various tick-related diseases in the Northeast

Overview

Tick-borne illnesses have affected more people than before in recent years. It is important to visit a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms described below.

Ticks can carry more than one disease, patients can be infected with more than one illness. This is when diagnoses and treatments become difficult.

Common diseases

Some of the more common tick-borne diseases in the Northeast include:

Lyme is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged (deer) ticks. Typical symptoms include

  • fever
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • a characteristic skin rash.

Not all affected people get a rash. However, if left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. 

Antibiotics can cure most causes of Lyme disease within a few weeks.

Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged (deer) tick. Typical symptoms include

  • fever
  • headache
  • chills 
  • muscle aches

Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks of a tick bite.

Babesiosis is a malaria-like disease transmitted by the black-legged deer tick. Although many people who are infected with Babesia do not have symptoms, for those who do effective treatment is available. Typical symptoms include

  • fever/ chills
  • headache
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine


Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans by the lone star tick found primarily in the South-Central and Eastern U.S. Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. Typical symptoms include

  • fever
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches

Symptoms normally show up 1-2 weeks after a bite.

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