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List of TBI's (Tick Borne Illnesses)

In Canada, some tick carry pathogens that can cause human disease, including:

Lyme disease is acknowledged to be transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus), howeverTen (10) other tick species in Canada have been found to carry Lyme disease.  Other species know to transmit are;   Ixodes angustus, Ixodes banksi, Ixodes cookei (groundhog tick), Ixodes gregsoni, Ixodes muris (mouse tick), Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick), Ixodes spinipalpis( no common name)Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (rabbit tick), Amblyomma americanum (Lone star tick) and Dermacentor albipictus (winter tick) and the Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick). 

Bartonella is a Gram-negative bacteria which currently comprises approximately two dozen identified species, about half of which are known to infect humans. The bacteria Bartonella represents an important area of medical research in emerging and re-emerging infectious disease.


Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis are caused by Babesia microti. Babesia microti is acknowledged to be transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sangunineus).

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans and pets by a variety of tick species.

Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans and animals by tick bites, primarily from the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Other tick species are suspect to transmitting this as well.

Powassan disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei).

Alpha Gal Bites from the lone star tick have been shown to cause alpha-gal allergies. Some research argues that ticks are the only real cause of this sort of allergy.

Mycoplasmosis Mycoplasma species can infect an Ixodes tick on its own but is most commonly seen as a co-infection with Borrelia species, like those that cause Lyme

Q Fever Acute Q fever is often asymptomatic; in other patients, it begins abruptly with influenza-like symptoms: fever, severe headache, chills, severe malaise, myalgia, anorexia, and sweats. Ticks that transmit Q fever include Amblyomma americanum(lone star tick) and Dermacentor andersoni (Rocky Mountain wood tick). 


STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum).

Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).

364D rickettsiosis (Rickettsia phillipi, proposed) is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis ticks). This is a new disease.

Bourbon virus infection has been identified in a limited number patients in the Midwest and southern United States. At this time, researchers do not know if the virus might be found in other areas.

Relapsing Fever Tick Fever; (Recurrent Fever; Famine Fever)

Relapsing fever is a recurring febrile disease caused by several species of the spirochete Borrelia and transmitted by lice or ticks.

Colorado tick fever is caused by a virus transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni).

Heartland virus, studies suggest that Lone Star ticks can transmit the virus.

Borrelia miyamotoi infection has recently been described as a cause of illness in Canada. It is acknowledged to be transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and has a range similar to that of Lyme disease.


Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis is transmitted to humans by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).

Borrelia mayonii infection has recently been described as a cause of illness in Canada. It has been found in blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis). Borrelia mayonii is a new species and is the only species besides B. burgdorferi known to cause Lyme disease in North America.

A Handbook to the  ticks of Canada

Lyme Disease Bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi Sensu Lato, Detected in Multiple Tick Species at Kenora, Ontario, Canada

Diseases You can get from Wildlife Field Guide


Heartland virus

Most patients have fever, fatigue (feeling tired), decreased appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain.

Patients often have lower than normal counts of white blood cells (cells that help fight infections) and lower than normal counts of platelets (which help clot blood). Sometimes tests to check how well the liver is working (liver function tests) can show increased levels of liver enzymes.

Symptoms and signs of Heartland virus disease (Heartland) are often similar to those of other tickborne illnesses, such as ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis.

The incubation period (time from tick bite to feeling sick) is not known, but most patients reported a tick bite in the 2 weeks before they felt sick.

Almost all patients with Heartland have been hospitalized. Although most patients fully recovered, a few patients died.


There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat infection with Heartland virus. Antibiotics do not treat viruses.

Healthcare providers might be able to provide medications and other care to help treat symptoms. Some patients may need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids and treatment for pain, fever, or other related problems.

If you think you or a family member might have Heartland, see your healthcare provider.


multiply at the site of arthropod attachment and often produce a local lesion (eschar). They penetrate the skin or mucous membranes; some (R. rickettsii) multiply in the endothelial cells of small blood vessels, causing vasculitis, and others replicate in WBCs (Ehrlichia sp in monocytes, Anaplasma sp in granulocytes).

Regional lymphadenopathy is common with infection by Orientia sp or members of the spotted fever group (except for R. rickettsii).

The endovasculitis of R. rickettsii causes a petechial rash (due to focal areas of hemorrhage), encephalitic signs, and gangrene of skin and tissues.

Patients seriously ill with a rickettsial disease of the typhus or spotted fever group may have ecchymotic skin necrosis, edema (due to increased vascular permeability), digital gangrene, circulatory collapse, shock, oliguria, anuria, azotemia, anemia, hyponatremia, hypochloremia, delirium, and coma

Acute hepatic involvement, occurring in some patients, resembles viral hepatitis, with fever, malaise, hepatomegaly with right upper abdominal pain, and possibly jaundice. Headache and respiratory signs are frequently absent.

Colorado tick fever

CTF is a rare viral disease spread by infected Rocky Mountain wood ticks in the western United States and western Canada

The incubation period (time from tick bite to onset of illness) ranges from about 1 to 14 days.

The most common symptoms of Colorado tick fever (CTF) are fever, chills, headache, body aches, and feeling tired. Some patients have sore throat, vomiting, abdominal pain, or skin rash.

About half of patients have a “biphasic” fever. This means they have several days of fever, feel better for several days, and then have a second short period of fever and illness.

Most people who become ill have mild disease and recover completely. However, weakness and fatigue may last several weeks.

In rare cases, some patients may develop more severe illness that affects the central nervous system with symptoms that include stiff neck and confusion.

Life-threatening illnesses or deaths due to CTF virus are rare.

Because there have been few cases identified thus far, scientists are still learning about possible symptoms caused by this new virus. People diagnosed with Bourbon virus disease had symptoms including fever, tiredness, rash, headache, other body aches, nausea, and vomiting. They also had low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding.

There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat Bourbon virus disease. Therefore, preventing bites from ticks and other insects may be the best way to prevent infection.

Borrelia mayonii

 Limited information from the first six patients suggests that illness caused by B. mayonii is similar to that caused by B. burgdorferi, but with a few possible differences. Like B. burgdorferi, B. mayoniicauses fever, headache, rash, and neck pain in the early stages of infection (days after exposure) and arthritis in later stages of infection (weeks after exposure). Unlike B. burgdorferi however, B. mayonii appears to be associated with nausea and vomiting, diffuse rashes, and a higher concentration of bacteria in the blood.


relapsing fever

Relapsing Fever

(Tick Fever; Recurrent Fever; Famine Fever)

Relapsing fever is a recurring febrile disease caused by several species of the spirochete Borrelia and transmitted by lice or ticks. Symptoms are recurrent febrile episodes with headache, myalgia, and vomiting lasting 3 to 5 days, separated by intervals of apparent recovery. Diagnosis is clinical, confirmed by staining of peripheral blood smears. Treatment is with a tetracycline, doxycycline, or erythromycin.

Spirochetes are distinguished by the helical shape of the bacteria. Pathogenic spirochetes include Treponema, Leptospira, and Borrelia. Both Treponema and Leptospira are too thin to be seen using brightfield microscopy but are clearly seen using darkfield or phase microscopy. Borrelia are thicker and can also be stained and seen using brightfield microscopy.

The insect vector may be soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros or the human body louse, depending on geographic location.

Louse-borne relapsing fever is rare in the US; it is endemic only in northeast Africa (Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia) and was recently diagnosed in Europe in refugees from these African countries. Louse-borne relapsing fever tends to occur in epidemics, particularly in regions affected by war, and in refugee camps. The louse is infected by feeding on a febrile patient; humans are the only reservoir. If the louse is crushed on a new host, Borrelia recurrentis is released and can enter abraded skin or bites. B. recurrentis also is able to penetrate intact mucosa and skin. Intact lice do not transmit disease.

Tick-borne relapsing fever is endemic in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the US, the disease is generally confined to the western states, where occurrence is highest between May and September. Ticks acquire the spirochetes from rodent reservoirs. Humans are infected when spirochetes in the tick’s saliva or excreta enter the skin rapidly as the tick bites. Infection is more likely to be acquired by people sleeping in rodent-infested cabins in the mountains and has also been associated with spelunking.

Congenital infection with Borrelia has also been reported. Borrelia has also been rarely transmitted by blood transfusion.

Because the tick feeds transiently and painlessly at night and does not remain attached for a long time, most patients do not report a history of tick bite but may report an overnight exposure to caves or rustic dwellings.

When present, louse infestation is usually obvious.

The incubation period ranges from 3 to 11 days (median, 6 days).

The clinical manifestations of tick-borne and louse-borne relapsing fever are very similar. Symptoms correspond to the level of bacteremia and, after several days, resolve when Borrelia are cleared from the blood. Bacteremia and symptoms then return after a 1-week afebrile period. Symptoms are less severe with each subsequent return. A single relapse characterizes louse-borne relapsing fever, and up to 10 relapses may occur in tick-borne relapsing fever.

Sudden chills mark the onset, followed by high fever, tachycardia, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and often delirium. An eschar may be present at the site of the tick bite. An erythematous macular or purpuric rash may appear early over the trunk and extremities. Conjunctival, subcutaneous, or submucous hemorrhages may be present. Fever remains high for 3 to 5 days, then clears abruptly, indicating a turning point in the disease. The duration of illness ranges from 1 to 54 days (median, 18 days). Later in the several weeks’ course of the disease, jaundice, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, myocarditis, and heart failure may occur, especially in louse-borne disease.

Other symptoms may include ophthalmitis, iridocyclitis, exacerbation of asthma, and erythema multiforme. Neurologic complications (eg, meningitis, meningoencephalitis, radiculomyelitis) may occur; they are more common in tick-borne relapsing fever. Spontaneous abortion can occur.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever in British Columbia, Canada: First Isolation of Borrelia hermsii


Diversity and Distribution of Borrelia hermsii

Borrelia miyamotoi

is a species of spiral-shaped bacteria that is closely related to the bacteria that cause tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF). It is more distantly related to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. First identified in 1995 in ticks from Japan, B. miyamotoi has since been detected in two species of North American ticks, the black-legged or “deer” tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). These ticks are already known to transmit several diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.

Patients with this infection are most likely to have fever, chills, and headache. Other common symptoms included body and joint pain and fatigue. Unlike Lyme disease, rash was uncommon, presenting in only 4 out of 51 patients.

The prevalence of Borrelia miyamotoi infection, and co-infections with other Borrelia spp. in Ixodes scapularis ticks collected in Canada

As temperatures increase in Canada, the environment becomes more suitable for ticks and the season suitable for tick activity lengthens, so tick-borne diseases are likely to become more common in Canada. In addition to Lyme disease, four other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) have started to emerge and are likely to increase: Anaplasmosis; Babesiosis; Powassan virus; and Borrelia miyamotoi disease.

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