Archive for the ‘Borrelia Miyamotoi (Relapsing Fever Group)’ Category

Updates and News From Russell Labs – Wisconsin


August, 2018: Nymphal deer ticks are less abundant but still active in Wisconsin right now. About 20-25% of nymphs are infected with the Lyme spirochete. Overall, 2018 has been normal in terms of tick numbers.

Live in Wisconsin and want your tick identified?


Take a picture of ticks on your phone and go here:

Wisconsin ticks:

Go to link for pictures and information on each.  There are 4 ticks listed including the Lone Star Tick, which was until recently considered a Southern tick but is here as well.  Wisconsin had its first RMSF death, transmitted by the Lone Star Tick, recently:

There is also a tab titled “Tick-Borne Diseases.”  Go to link to read about them.  They give WI stats as well.  Please remember ALL the numbers are low as many go unreported:

  • Lyme (Bb or Bm)
  • Borrelia miyamotoi (relapsing fever)
  • Anasplasmosis
  • Ehrlichia muris eauclairensis (EML)
  • Babesiosis
  • Powassan virus/deertick virus
  • Ehrlichia chaffeensis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


A few points stick out to me:

  1. Please take pictures of these ticks & send them in so we finally have an accurate record.  They are asking us for help so let’s give it.  It will only help us in the end.  Flood them with ticks!
  2. Baronella didn’t make the list, yet nearly everyone I work with has it.  WHY?  Because while Bart has been found in ticks, it hasn’t been proven conclusively they transmit.  Bart is a nasty, nasty bug and alone can kill you.  Coupled with Lyme it can make you want to die.
  3. For viruses, they only list Powassan when many more are on record including Heartland and Bourbon (unfortunately they aren’t mandatory to report).  They know Heartland is transmitted by the Lone Star tick but I couldn’t even find the tick supposedly responsible for Bourbon, although it’s a killer:
  4. The lack of data is glaring.  Seriously.  Glaring.  Zika makes front page news here and our mosquitoes can’t even carry it.  There were only 46 cases of Zika in the U.S. in 2018 – ALL due to travelers returning from affected areas.The CDC “estimates” that there are 300,000 NEW Lyme Disease cases annually in the U.S.  Anyone see a disparity here between Zika and Lyme?  (Other tick-borne diseases aren’t even on the radar yet)









Relapsing Fever Borrelia in California: a Pilot Serological Study

Relapsing fever Borrelia in California: a pilot serological study

Middelveen MJ, Shah JS, Fesler MC, Stricker RB.

International Journal of General Medicine 2018 Sep 21;11:373-382. eCollection 2018.



Borrelia spirochetes are tick-borne Gram-negative bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals. Although many studies have focused on Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the agent of Lyme disease, recent studies have examined the role of Relapsing Fever Borrelia (RFB) in human disease. In this pilot study, we have evaluated serological reactivity against Bb and RFB in patients residing in California.


Serological testing for reactivity to Bb and RFB antigens was performed in 543 patients with suspected tick-borne illness using a Western blot technique. Further evaluation of a subset of 321 patients residing in California was obtained. Serum samples were tested for IgM and IgG antibodies reactive with Bb and RFB, and samples were classified by county of residence according to Bb reactivity alone, RFB reactivity alone, and dual reactivity against Bb and RFB. Seroreactivity was ranked in counties with the highest absolute number and the highest prevalence of positive samples.


Of the 543 total serum samples, 32% were positive for Bb, 22% were positive for RFB, and 7% were positive for both Bb and RFB. Of the 321 serum samples from patients residing in California, 33% were positive for Bb, 27% were positive for RFB, and 11% were positive for both Bb and RFB. In the California cohort, the highest rates of positive serological testing for Bb were found in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, while the highest rates of positive serological testing for RFB were found in Santa Clara, Alameda, Marin, and San Francisco counties. The highest rates of dual reactivity against Bb and RFB were found in Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Francisco counties. Among the 24 counties with patients who were tested, Bb seropositivity alone was found in four counties, RFB seropositivity alone was found in two counties, and seropositivity for both Bb and RFB was found in 14 counties.


Results of this pilot study suggest that seroreactivity against Bb and RFB is widespread in California, and dual exposure to Bb and RFB may complicate the diagnosis of tick-borne disease. Greater awareness of RFB and broader screening for this tick-borne infection is warranted.



Recently it was discovered that that new relapsing fever like genomes have links to the Lyme disease borrelia.  Guess patients haven’t been making this up after all:

California patients, similarly to Southern patients, have been told for decades they can’t have Lyme, because it doesn’t exist in their neck of the woods.

That was baloney then and it’s baloney now.
Time to start listening to patients who have far better things to do than fake illness.  (Video abstract of research article in link)  This article states that Relapsing Fever Borrelia (RFB) was thought to only be in Europe and the East Coast of the U.S.  This again demonstrates patients who are complaining of “Lyme-like” symptoms are truly infected with tick borne pathogens of one sort or another.  The one-drug, one-pathogen paradigm does not work with these patients.  Approved FDA testing BTW, doesn’t even exist for RFB.

“A negative Lyme test does not rule out the possibility of infection with Relapsing Fever Borrelia, and clinicians should be familiar with disease presentation and available diagnostic tests.”  Melissa Fesler, nurse practitioner

Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is the next wave of Lyme disease,” says Stricker. “It’s not just a simple disease anymore.”

This again, demonstrates the importance of being educated on ALL TBI’s, and understanding that ALL TBI diagnosis is clinical.  Testing is abysmal.

For more on California and tick borne illness:

For interested practitioners on HOW to become educated:


Increase of Infected Ticks Means Higher Risk of Tick Bites  (Please see comment at end of article)

LYMESCI: Increase of infected ticks means higher risk of tick bites

by Lonnie Marcum

More ticks in more places means more tick bites.
More tick bites resulting in more sick people.

That’s the result the Entomological Society of America (ESA) was trying to avoid, when in 2015, it published a “Position Statement on Tick-Borne Diseases.”

The article describes a multitude of factors that have created a near “perfect storm,” leading to more infected ticks in more places throughout the United States.

Along with other steps, the ESA recommended engaging the help of citizen-scientists. In 2016, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation (BALF) decided to do just that. The results of this groundbreaking nationwide project have recently been published—and the news is NOT GOOD!

Among many disturbing facts, the new study found blacklegged ticks —carriers of 7 of 18 US tick-borne diseases—in 83 counties where they had never previously been recorded.

More tick bites = more sick people

Ticks have undergone a population explosion over the past two decades, with Ixodes ticks, the primary source of Lyme disease, now found in nearly 50% more U.S. counties than in 1996.

“Since the late 1990s, the number of counties in the northeastern United States that are considered high-risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 320%,” says Rebecca Eisen from the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the CDC. “The tick is now established in areas where it was absent 20 years ago,” she adds.

The reasons for the explosion of tick populations involves complex human and environmental factors and varies by geographic region. Experts feel the major contributing factors are:

  • Warming winter temperatures
  • Migratory bird patterns
  • Changes in landscape, land use and fragmented forests
  • Abundance of vertebrate hosts (mice, deer, squirrels, etc)
  • Reduction in natural predators (foxes, bobcats, etc.)
  • Invasive and non-native plant species
  • Accidental transport by humans (pets, livestock)

With the increase in ticks, we’ve seen a sharp rise in tick bites and tick-borne diseases, with reports of Lyme disease now coming from all 50 states, costing upwards of $75 billion per year.

What’s being done?

While the CDC lists Lyme disease as a nationally notifiable disease, the responsibility for reporting falls to each state’s health departments. The fact is, many states do not (or can’t) enforce these reporting requirements.

In addition to Lyme disease, the CDC lists six other tick-borne diseases as reportable—anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain spotted fever), and tularemia. Again, many states don’t put resources in tracking these illnesses.

The lack of accurate disease reporting leads to a reduction in public health awareness and medical education in areas where it’s needed. This then hinders a patient’s access to timely and accurate diagnosis and early treatment—which are absolutely critical to a good prognosis.

Citizen scientists collect ticks

BALF’s recently published tick study invited citizens from all over the US to send ticks to Northern Arizona University (NAU) for free testing, with the goal of mapping ticks and the diseases they carry.

Many Lyme advocacy groups helped spread the word. For instance, there were more than 16,000 website hits on’s announcement about the project.

Researchers had expected that maybe 2,400 ticks would be sent in. To their astonishment, they received over 16,000 ticks collected from 49 states and Puerto Rico. No ticks were received from Alaska.

As lead author Nate Nieto, PhD, associate professor in NAU’s Department of Biological Sciences, explains,

“This study offers a unique and valuable perspective because it looks at risk to humans that goes beyond the physician-reported infection rates and involves ticks that were found on or near people.”

This represents the first nationwide tick study with the goal of mapping the prevalence of disease-carrying ticks throughout the United States. During the period from January 2016 through August 2017, people could send ticks to NAU, free of charge, for testing of the most common tick-borne infections:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease,
  • Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), a Lyme-like illness,
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the cause of granulocytic anaplasmosis, and
  • Babesia microti, the protozoan parasite that causes Babesiosis.
The Findings
  • Over 70% of submissions were the result of human tick bites.
  • Blacklegged ticks were found in 83 counties (in 24 states) where they had not previously been recorded.
  • All four pathogens tested for (Anaplasma, Babesia, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi) were found in all three of the most commonly encountered hard-ticks species collected (deer tick, American dog tick, lone star tick).
  • Some ticks tested positive for up to three pathogens (no ticks contained all four).
  • All life stages of these three hard-tick species, including some larvae, were found to be infected with both Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia miyamotoi.
  • On the East Coast, B. burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease, was predominantly detected in adult Ixodes scapularis (deer tick).
  • On the West Coast, B. burgdorferi was highest in larval Ixodes pacificus (western blacklegged tick).
  • The highest prevalence of Borrelia miyamotoi (a relapsing fever species Borrelia that causes Lyme-like illness) was found in larval ticks in the western US.
  • Babesia was found in lone star ticks in 26 counties (in 10 states) where public health departments do not require reporting.
  • Several Amblyomma americanum, commonly known as the lone star tick and capable of carrying bacteria that cause disease in humans, were found in Northern California, the first known report of this tick in the state.


Tick bite map of US

Limits of the Study

While the study was hugely successful, it did have some limits. For one, the sample of ticks was limited to only those areas where citizens were participating, therefore the maps may not show all areas with ticks.

In addition, the researchers only tested for four of the many pathogens known to cause illness in humans.

Pathogens not tested for include: Multiple species of Borrelia including Mayonii, and Bisettii, which also cause Lyme-like illness; Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the cause of human monocytic erhlichiosis; Francisella tularensis, the cause of tularemia; Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacterial agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever; multiple species of the protozoan pathogen Babesia, including duncani and divergens; and several viruses known to be transmitted by ticks including Bourbon virus, Colorado tick fever virus, Heartland virus, and Powassan virus.

Lack of funding for more studies

Lack of funding poses the biggest challenge to fully understanding the risks that ticks pose to the US population.

When asked, the CDC’s Ben Beard stated

“We’ve got national maps, but we don’t have detailed local information about where the worst areas for ticks are located.…The reason for that is there has never been public funding to support systematic tick surveillance efforts.”

It’s no secret that within weeks of the first Zika infection in 2016, Congress authorized $1.7 billion in funding, of which $397 million was made immediately available to rapidly develop an accurate test and begin work on a vaccine.

That same year, the federal budget allotted only $28 million for Lyme disease—the most common vector-borne disease in the US. (Note: while the CDC can study and report on diseases, it is not allowed to lobby Congress for funding.)

What did we learn?

The big take-away from the NAU study is that ticks are everywhere, and they are full of dangerous pathogens—not just Lyme disease. This study demonstrates that ticks are spreading in range, and they are carrying more pathogens than ever before.

Until we find better ways for the CDC to report illnesses, these type of risk maps, that are generated from the pathogens the ticks are carrying, will be the best predictor of disease.

Finally, we all need to get out there and tell our representatives the dangers that lurk in our backyards. Call them. Ask to meet with them. Bring them a copy of this report. Let them know we need an dramatic increase in funding for Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Click here for more information about ticks:

LymeSci is written by Lonnie Marcum, a Licensed Physical Therapist and mother of a daughter with Lyme. Follow her on Twitter: @LonnieRhea Email her at: .


  1. Using citizen science to describe the prevalence and distribution of tick bite and exposure to tick-borne diseases in the United States, PLOSone, July 2018,
  2. County-Scale Distribution of Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Continental United States , Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1 March 2016, Pages 349–386,
  3. Entomological Society of America Position Statement on Tick-Borne Diseases Approved on July 29, 2015, Valid through July 29, 2019
  4. Report of the Disease Vectors, Surveillance, and Prevention Subcommittee to the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group



Canadian independent tick researcher, John Scott, stands in opposition to the climate change model affecting tick movement:  A recent study shows that warm winters are lethal to I. scapularis (black-legged) ticks. In fact, overwinter survival dropped to 33% when the snow melted. This has been substantiated by other researchers as well. Scott & Scott, 2018, ticks and climate change, JVSM

Also, illogically, people on one hand admit that ticks are now “everywhere” but keep pushing the importance of geographical maps.  Why?  These maps are worthless & constantly changing.  Migratory birds are transiting ticks worldwide along with the fox, coyote, lizard, mouse, and 1,000 other carriers including humans traveling everywhere.

Why do we continue to push and believe in maps that have kept people from diagnosis and treatment for decades?

I’ll tell you why – it’s lining pockets with money.

Authorities look at the inaccurate and constantly changing maps and announce,
“You can’t have ______________, it doesn’t exist here.”

More data that actually hurts patients.

This tick border thing is a man-made constructed paradigm that has never been accurate, but it fits the CDC/NIH/IDSA narrative. (go to page 6 and read about Speilman’s maps which are faulty but have ruled like the Iron Curtain, and have been used to keep folks from being diagnosed and treated)

Dr. Masters fought this tooth and nail for his suffering patients in the South:  Even though Fier found borrelia in 2% of sampled lone star ticks and subsequently supported Masters’ Missouri Lyme, the CDC insisted that the EM rash was NOT diagnostic for LD for Missouri patients due to the fact that neither Ixodes dammini nor Ixodes pacificus were found there.  

Maps are continually used against patients and have ALWAYS been faulty: (nothing’s changed)








Tickology Video Series – Everything You Want to Know About Ticks & Prevention

Entomologist Larry Dapsis, Deer Tick Project Coordinator, of Cape Cod Cooperative Extension presents information about numerous types of ticks and the diseases they carry in the following Tickology video series.


 Approx. 9 Min

Tick Identification & Ecology

Take aways:

  1. Female American Dog Tick is easy to spot as she has a creamy white wide spot up by the head.
  2. Female Lone Star tick has a bright white spot in the center of her back.
  3. Female Deer Tick has a bright red abdomen.
  4. A lot of this info is shared again in part 3 below where I have more notes.

 Approx. 12:30 Min.

Tick Borne Diseases

Take aways:

  1. He considers the American Dog Tick more of a nuisance than a threat.  I disagree.  Just ask anyone who’s ever had RMSF or Tularemia, both of which can kill you.
  2. The Deer Tick (Black legged tick) is endemic in 80 countries and has been here for thousands of years.
  3. Lyme is found in 49 out of 50 states in the U.S. (absent only in Hawaii)
  4. In 2016 the CDC adjusted Lyme prevalence to 300,000 new cases of Lyme a year.
  5. Martha’s Vineyard has more cases than anywhere in the universe.
  6. Risk of infection is year round.
  7. Largest risk is from the nymph as they are smaller and the bite is difficult to detect.   He is finding about 25% to be infected with Lyme.  50% of adults are infected.
  8. In Massachusetts, children ages 5-9 have the highest rates of infection.  Adults aged 50-70 has a surge of infection as well.
  9. Babesiosis, similar to Malaria, can be passed via blood transfusion with 50% of Massachusetts cases found in the south eastern part of the state and virtually found in some degree in every county in the state.
  10. Anaplasmosis (HGA) can look similar to Lyme and is more broadly distributed in Mass.
  11. All these diseases are steadily increasing.  95% of cases are aged 65 and older.
  12. Borrelia miyamotoi, related to Lyme, is a relapsing fever.  3% of Cape Cod ticks have it but is expected to increase.
  13. Powassan can put you in the hospital with brain swelling.  They did surveillance and found Powassan in 4 out of 6 site sites with infection rates as high as 10% in the tick population.  In reading the literature, he feels it has been on Cape Cod for thousands of years but it hasn’t been on medical radar.

  Approx. 8 Min.

Lone Star Tick – The New Tick in Town

Part 3 of the Tickology video project.

Take aways:

  1. The Lone Star Tick, normally considered a Southern tick, is in Cape Cod, and has moved North, and yes, is in Wisconsin.
  2. The adult female has a white dot on her back
  3. These ticks can run and are aggressive, fast & will actually chase you.  
  4. While he mentions a warming climate, independent Canadian tick researcher, John Scott, states emphatically temperature has nothing to do with tick expansion:
  5. He claims Lone Star ticks have been established in Sandy Neck Beach Park and Shining Sea Bike Trail for a long time – it’s just nobody was looking for them.  I suspect this to be true for many other areas as well.
  6. He claims these areas are “perfect flyways” for migratory birds for transporting ticks.
  7. Lone Star ticks prefer intermediate size hosts.  He put out video surveillance and picked up wild turkeys in areas where these ticks were established.  Rabbits & coyotes are good hosts as well
  8. The adult female lays a cluster of 4,000-5,000 eggs,  which leaves a high concentration of larvae in late summer.  He claims when you find one, it could be a matter of minutes and you could have 200-300 bites.
  9. He claims Lone Star tick larvae do not transmit pathogens.
  10. The adults; however, can transmit Erlichiosis, STARI, Tularemia and Alpha Gal or meat allergy (all animal products).
  11. He claims you will not find deer ticks in an open lawn.  I was told otherwise by Susan Paskewitz, chair of the Department of Entomology at UW–Madison, whose crew is finding them in fields where kids are playing sports, and it’s here as well:
  12. He is finding Lone Star ticks in open spaces.  They don’t mind the heat.  Deer ticks will seek out leaf litter and/or snow when conditions are harsh.

 Approx. 13:22 Min

Permethrin Treated Clothing & Footwear

Take aways:

  1. Natural Pyrethrum is from the Aster Family, & is an extract from a type of chrysanthemum.  It has quick knockdown against insects but no residual control.  Breaks down in sunlight quickly.
  2. They manipulated it so now it has 4 weeks of residual control.
  3. You only use it on clothing and footwear.  He feels treating footwear to be crucial.  If a tick is on a treated surface with permethrin for 60 seconds it will die.  He feels strongly that using this product will reduce your exposure tick bites by upwards of 90%.  It is active thru 6 washings or 45 days which ever comes first.
  4. Pre-treated tick repellent clothing is also available.  EPA testing has shown it is active through 70 washings.  You can also send your clothing to “Insect Shield,” and they will treat your clothing and send it back with the 70 washing claim.  He says it’s about $10 per clothing item.
  5. It’s not the molecule that makes the poison, it’s the dosage.  As far as permethrin goes, there is low mammal toxicity except for cats.  It is 2,250 times more toxic to ticks than to humans.  According to the EPA, permethrin-treated clothing poses no harm to infants, children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
  6. Permethrin has low skin absorption and is metabolized quickly.
  7. National Research Council looked at long term exposure on the military wearing permethrin saturated clothing from head to foot for 18 hours a day for 10 years and found no reason for an adverse effect.
  8. The active ingredient is the same ingredient used for treating scabies and head lice and parents smear it on their kids from head to toe.
  9. He demonstrates how to apply it onto clothing and footwear.  Scroll to 10:00.  Make sure to wash these treated cloths away from other clothes.  Remember sunlight breaks it down so it lasts through 6 washings for 45 days, which ever comes first.
  10. He sprays the inside of the legs in case a tick gets underneath.  I tuck my pants into my white sprayed socks so ticks can not get inside.

 Approx. 6 Min

Skin Repellents

Take aways:

  1. The big distinction between repellents is the EPA registration.  Deet, Picaridan, IR 3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus have EPA registration with data on file for any claim being made.
  2. Go here for the EPA selection guide:  (Fill in the questionnaire)
  3. Go to for pesticide information.
  4. Go to for short factual answers on products.
  5. Naturals are not EPA registered so there is no data proving effectiveness.  Not all repel ticks.  Buyer beware.


For more on tick prevention:  “All tested tick species and life stages experienced the ‘hot-foot’ effect after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,” Eisen said.  Study found a 78-98% reduction in ticks. These data indicate that regular prescribed burning is an effective tool for reducing tick populations and ultimately may reduce risk of tick-borne disease.



Study Shows Cases of Conventionally Recognized Nonhuman feeders Parasitizing Humans

Human-Biting Ixodes Ticks and Pathogen Prevalence from California, Oregon, and Washington

Published Online:


From July 2006 through August 2017, a passive surveillance study of Ixodes ticks submitted from California, Oregon, and Washington was conducted by the TickReport program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In total, 549 human-biting Ixodes ticks were submitted comprising both endemic and nonendemic species. We found that 430 endemic ticks were from 3 Ixodes species: Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes spinipalpis, and Ixodes angustus, whereas Ixodes scapularis (n = 111) was the most common species among the 119 nonendemic ticks. The submission peak for nymphal I. pacificus and I. spinipalpis was June, while submission peak for adult I. pacificus and nymphal I. angustus was April and September, respectively.

Endemic ticks commonly attached to the lower extremities of their victims, and individuals younger than 9 years old were frequently bitten. The infection prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in I. pacificus ticks was 1.31%, 1.05%, and 0.52%, respectively, and the prevalence of B. burgdorferi s. l. and A. phagocytophilum in I. spinipalpis ticks was 14.29% and 10.71%, respectively.

Furthermore, two species within the B. burgdorferi s. l. complex were detected in West Coast ticks: B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and Borrelia lanei. I. spinipalpis had the highest Borrelia prevalence among endemic ticks, and it was caused exclusively by B. lanei. Borrelia mayonii, Babesia microti, and Ehrlichia muris-like agent were not detected in these endemic ticks. In this study, we show that many nonendemic Ixodes ticks (119/549) are most likely acquired from travel to a different geographic region.

We report cases of conventionally recognized nonhuman feeders (I. spinipalpis and I. angustus) parasitizing humans.

The highest pathogen prevalence in I. spinipalpis may indicate a larger public health threat than previously thought, and the enzootic life cycle and pathogenicity of B. lanei warrant further study.



OOPS!  “We report cases of conventionally recognized nonhuman feeders (I. spinipalpis and I. angustus) parasitizing humans.”

Now just how did that happen?

As we have feared all along, the barrel full of monkeys keeps rolling out of Pandora’s box.  There are far more players in the game than is being let on.  

Stay tuned.  It’s going to get uglier and uglier.

Tick Infestations of Wildlife & Companion Animals in Ontario, Canada, With Detection of Human Pathogens in Ixodes Scapularis Ticks

Tick infestations of wildlife and companion animals in Ontario, Canada, with detection of human pathogens in Ixodes scapularis ticks.

Smith KA, et al. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018.


The growing risk of transmission of tick-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans in Ontario, Canada, warrants investigations into regional tick distribution, tick burdens of local peridomestic animals, and prevalence of tick-borne pathogens. The objectives of this study were to investigate the geographic distribution and magnitude of tick infestations in opportunistically sampled mammalian wildlife and companion animals (i.e., dogs) in southern Ontario and to test these ticks for evidence of zoonotic tick-borne pathogens. Ticks collected from wildlife carcasses, live-trapped wildlife and companion animals (2015-2016), as well as wildlife diagnostic cases (2011-2013), were identified to species and life stage.

Ixodes scapularis ticks were tested by real-time PCR for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.). Amblyomma americanum ticks were tested for Ehrlichia chaffeensis. A total of 1687 ticks of six species were collected from 334 animals, including 224 raccoons (n = 1381 ticks) and 50 dogs (n = 67 ticks).

The most common tick species collected from parasitized raccoons were Ixodes texanus (n = 666 ticks) and Dermacentor variabilis (n = 600 ticks), which were removed from 58.5% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-36) and 49.1% (median: 2 ticks; range: 1-64) of raccoons, respectively. Of I. scapularis tested, 9.3% (4/43) were positive for Bo. burgdorferi s.s. and 2.3% (1/43) for A. phagocytophilum. These results reveal that numerous tick species parasitize common, peridomestic wildlife and that at least two zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens circulate in southern Ontario. Host-tick vector-pathogen dynamics should continue to be monitored in the face of global climate change, landscape alterations and expanding human populations.



This researcher obviously hasn’t read his own countryman’s work:   Another problem with the climate change models is they overlook the fact that deer ticks were established in northwestern Ontario, southern Manitoba and were already in central Canada prior to 1970. What they predict to happen in the future has already happened in Canada. Their oversight caused a skewed rate of tick expansion and a miscalculation of northward projected movement.

“For blacklegged ticks, climate change is an apocryphal issue.” -John Scott

adj. Of questionable authorship or authenticity
adj. Erroneous; fictitious

PCR Assays for Borrelia Hermsii (Tick-borne Relapsing Fever Species)

Novel real-time PCR assays for genomic group identification of tick-borne relapsing fever species Borrelia hermsii.

Modarelli JJ, et al. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2018.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 8. pii: S0732-8893(18)30257-8. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2018.08.001. [Epub ahead of print]


Borrelia hermsii is a non-Lyme borreliosis pathogen that is responsible for causing tick-borne relapsing fever in humans and animals in the western United States. B. hermsii has been described to encompass two divergent genomic groups, GGI and GGII, which have been suggested to maintain a unique geographical distribution and potential range of pathogenicity. Though the genomic groups have been extensively documented in the literature, a real-time PCR tool for identifying these genomic groups is lacking. This study describes the development and validation of two flaB-based quantitative real-time PCR assays for differentiating between the two genomic groups of B. hermsii while also maintaining specificity against other closely related Borrelia species. The diagnostic specificity of the assays were evaluated using a large panel of various Borrelia species, including a collection of 22 B. hermsii culture isolates purified from various hosts. The high sensitivity and specificity of the assays provide a useful tool for supporting future studies aimed at evaluating the geographical distribution as well as potential intraspecies pathogenicity within arthropod vectors and mammalian hosts.



While the study outcome was to determine geographical distribution and potential intraspecies pathogenicity, I for one would like to see a switch in thinking to less concern for geography and more concern for accurate testing for patient diagnosis.  The geographical emphasis has worked against patients for over 40 years and according to everything coming across this desk, I think we need to embrace this pandemic for what it is – a pandemic that knows no borders.

The sooner we quit looking at maps the sooner patients are going to be believed, validated, and actually helped.

Go here for more on Tick-relapsing fever:  Please notice Dr. Cameron’s comment about another relapsing fever caused by Bm:  “You might assume a patient infected with Borrelia miyamotoi, a relapsing fever spirochete, to present with a relapsing fever. However, your assumption would be wrong 48 out of 50 times, according to a case series published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. [1] The authors found that only 2 out of 50 patients infected with the relapsing spirochete B. miyamotoi actually presented with a relapsing fever. [1]….The individuals exhibited symptoms similar to those found in other tick-borne illnesses.

So while researchers are trying to separate out all the various strains and the particular geography, clinicians are struggling with the fact that although many of the strains are supposed to be “relapsing fever” they actually present clinically like other TBI’s such as Lyme and cause a clinical picture quite different from relapsing fever.  This is paramount for clinicians to understand as the patients showing up in their offices have symptoms quite different from what the researchers are stating.

Be your own advocate and learn as much as you can.  Chances are you will be educating your practitioner.