When most people worry about tick-borne diseases, the biggest threat on their radar is typically Lyme disease. However, ticks are the most significant vectors of infectious diseases in the United States, so there are many other tick-borne illnesses that are dangerous to humans. It’s just as important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these diseases so you can spot them and take action in case you, a family member, or friend is infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these are eight of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States. Here’s what you need to know about each of them. Keep in mind that symptoms vary widely from person to person.

ticks

Image credit: H. Teodoro, Los Angeles County West Vector Control District

The 8 Worst Tick-Borne Diseases in America

Anaplasmosis

Transmitted by: blacklegged tick (deer tick) and western blacklegged tick

Geography: Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast

Symptoms: fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches, typically within 1-2 weeks of bite

Treatment: doxycycline

Prevalence: 1761 cases in 2010

Fatality Rate: less than 1%

Babesiosis

Transmitted by: blacklegged tick (deer tick)

Geography: Northeast and upper Midwest

Symptoms: many do not show symptoms, but those who do have nonspecific flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue

Treatment: people without symptoms usually do not need to be treated, talk to your doctor

Ehrlichiosis

Transmitted by: lone star tick

Geography: southeastern and south-central U.S.

Symptoms: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches, usually within 1-2 weeks of bite

Treatment: doxycycline

Prevalence: 740 cases in 2010

Fatality Rate: 1.1%

Lyme Disease

Transmitted by: blacklegged tick (deer tick) and western backlogged tick

Geography: Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast

Symptoms: fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and characteristic rash, 3-30 days after bite

Treatment: antibiotics, length of course varies

Prevalence: nearly 35,000 cases in 2014

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Transmitted by: American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, brown dog tick

Geography: most of the contiguous U.S., particularly common in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri

Symptoms: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle pain, and sometimes a rash, 2-14 days after bite

Treatment: doxycycline, most effective if started before fifth day of symptoms

Prevalence: 1791 cases in 2009

Fatality Rate: less than 0.5%

Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI)

Transmitted by: lone star tick

Geography: southeastern and eastern U.S.

Symptoms: red, expanding “bull’s-eye” rash of 3 inches or more, within 7 days of bite, fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle pain

Treatment: antibiotics

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF)

Transmitted by: soft tick

Geography: western U.S., including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming

Symptoms: recurring episodes of fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and nausea, associated with sleeping in rustic, rodent-infested cabins in mountainous areas

Treatment: tetracycline

Prevalence: 483 cases between 1990-2011

Tularemia

Transmitted by: dog tick, wood tick, and lone star tick

Geography: throughout the U.S.

Symptoms: fever and various symptoms, depending on form of disease

Treatment: antibiotics

Prevalence: 314 cases in 2015

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Contact DC Mosquito Squad today to control ticks in your backyard as you strive to keep your family protected from possible tick-borne disease infections.

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