Tick-borne infectious diseases in Australia
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (7): 320-324. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00090
- Tick bites in Australia can lead to a variety of illnesses in patients. These include infection, allergies, paralysis, autoimmune disease, post-infection fatigue and Australian multisystem disorder.
- Rickettsial (Rickettsia spp.) infections (Queensland tick typhus, Flinders Island spotted fever and Australian spotted fever) and Q fever (Coxiella burnetii) are the only systemic bacterial infections that are known to be transmitted by tick bites in Australia.
- Three species of local ticks transmit bacterial infection following a tick bite:
- the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is endemic on the east coast of Australia and causes Queensland tick typhus due to R. australis and Q fever due to C. burnetii;
- the ornate kangaroo tick (Amblyomma triguttatum) occurs throughout much of northern, central and western Australia and causes Q fever; and
- the southern reptile tick (Bothriocroton hydrosauri) is found mainly in south-eastern Australia and causes Flinders Island spotted fever due to R. honei.
- Much about Australian ticks and the medical outcomes following tick bites remains unknown. Further research is required to increase understanding of these areas.
The key phrase: Much remains unknown. Truer words were never spoken.