My Turn: Tick-borne diseases in the time of COVID


Published: 8/18/2021

In early July, I was hoping my husband Brian, who was feeling uncharacteristically under the weather, would bounce back to his hardy self soon, so we could rent an AirBnB on a lake or a beach for a few days.

By the end of the month, I just wanted him to get better.

We were increasingly anxious to find out what was causing his pillow-soaking sweats, violent chills, head and neck aches and extreme fatigue as one week, then a second, and half of the third week went by. Despite two visits to an urgent care clinic, a diagnosis of cellulitis and an antibiotic, he was getting worse. An emergency room doctor at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, for whom we are deeply, deeply grateful, eventually identified the culprit. But it was a confounding journey leading up to the revelation. Living in the shadow of COVID, as we all are, didn’t help.

The idea that Brian could be one of the unlucky minority of the fully vaccinated to get a breakthrough infection was always on his mind. He had had three COVID tests which all proved negative — a relief on the one hand, he said, but a little bittersweet, because if he had COVID, at least we would know what was wrong with him. (See link for article)



This article is important for numerous reasons.

  1. Not everything is COVID
  2. I find it interesting that these symptoms all cropped up after he’d been “fully vaccinated” for COVID. Vaccines purposely lower the immune system so that it then mounts an immune response to whatever is injected into the body. This vaccination chain of events has reactivated latent tick-borne infections in people.  
  3. Having swollen and red toes, elevated liver enzymes, and erratic temperature fluctuations are all fairly hallmark symptoms of tick-borne illness.
  4. Cellulitis is a common misdiagnosis.
  5. The doctor thankfully recognized the symptoms and commented that they had seen a lot of tick-borne diseases – not just Lyme at the hospital this summer.
  6. Blood tests revealed the patient had Babesia, Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease. This guy was lucky and won the jack-pot.  Patients are often seronegative due to abysmal testing and never get diagnosed.
  7. This man needs lengthy follow-up as all of these infections are notoriously persistent.
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