Archive for the ‘Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever’ Category

Lone Star Ticks Have Swarmed Aquinnah, Biologist Says

Tick biologist Richard Johnson said the best way to reduce the tick population is to reduce the deer population.  Credit: Tim Johnson

Lone Star Ticks Have Swarmed Aquinnah, Biologist Says

Aaron Wilson

Lone star ticks – and thousands of their larvae — have overrun the town of Aquinnah, biologist and tick expert Richard Johnson told Aquinnah selectmen at their meeting Wednesday, following reports that showed a high incidence of tick-borne disease in the town this year.

In a letter that went out last week, the town board of health reported 13 new cases of tick-borne illnesses since April of this year, including cases of Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babeosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. At the meeting, Mr. Johnson said he was in Aquinnah on Tuesday surveying yards for ticks and found lone star larvae in every location he visited.

(See link for article)



OK – this here should alarm us – an entomologist getting a daily call from folks discovering clusters of lone star ticks.

Although not known to carry Lyme, they can cause ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as a red meat and or dairy allergy.

“I hope this isn’t the new normal but I fear that they’re exploding in numbers.”  Richard Johnson

Johnson also points out that unlike deer ticks, lone star larvae stay in groups of 2,000-8,000 until they are nymphs which means those who brush up  against a cluster could have hundreds to thousands attaching simultaneously.

The article mentions controlled burns for changing the habitat which could eradicate the ticks.  Please see:  Burning works but it must be done repeatedly.

The article mentions using various birds to eat them, but the ticks also travel and feed on birds.

Johnson stated that the number one thing they can do is reduce the deer population.

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Identified in Rhode Island & First Case of Parasitic Soft Ticks Reported in New Jersey

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Have Just Been Identified in Rhode Island

Sep 29, 2020

Local authorities in Rhode Island announced that two new tick species were identified on Block Island. The tick species were traced back to Eurasia and Asia origins.

Dr. Danielle Tufts from Columbia University identified the two species Haemaphysalis longicornis (Asian long-horned tick) and Haemaphysalis punctata (red sheep tick), reported the state’s Department of Environmental Management (DEM). (See link for article) 

Two Exotic Disease-Carrying Ticks Had Just Been Identified in Rhode Island

(Photo: Asian long-horned tick, adult female dorsal view climbing on a blade of grass – Photo by James Gathany; CDC)



Both ticks are considered live-stock pests but they can and do bite humans, transmitting diseases.  Farmers, hunters, and hikes are at greater risk.

  • The red sheep tick is identified with Tick paralysis, Tick Borne Encephalitis virus, Tribec virus, Bhanja virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, Babesia bovis, Theileria recondita, Coxiella burneti, Francisella tularensis. Babesia major, Babesia bigemina, Theileria mutans, Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale

    Sheep: Babesia motasi, Theileria ovis


Red sheep tick, Adult female dorsal view

Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey

Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey

A tick species associated with bats has been reported for the first time in New Jersey and could pose health risks to people, pets and livestock, according to a Rutgers-led study in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

This species (Carios kelleyi) is a “soft” . Deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are an example of “hard” ticks.

“All ticks feed on blood and may transmit pathogens (disease-causing microbes) during feeding,” said lead author James L. Occi, a doctoral student in the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We need to be aware that if you remove from your belfry, attic or elsewhere indoors, ticks that fed on those bats may stay behind and come looking for a new source of blood. There are records of C. kelleyi biting humans.”  (See link for article)



A few important points:

  1. A related species, Carios jersey, was found in amber 2001
  2. C. kelleyi has been found in 29 states so far
  3. Public health risk remains unknown, but it has been found to be infected with harmful pathogens in other states
  4. There are reports of this tick feeding on humans
  5. The bat it feeds on regularly roosts in attics and barns
  6. It has been identified with rickettsia and borrelia (Lyme):
I can’t help but notice the bat connection, as well as the following:  The current pandemic has been accompanied by cases of other illnesses and diseases such as African Swine Flu, Ebola, Bubonic Plague, West Nile Virus, Dengue outbreaks around the world.

Nebraska Man Dies From Tick-Related Illness

Nebraska man dies from tick-related illness

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) received a report of a death related to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a disease carried by ticks.
Deer ticks, a.k.a. black-legged ticks, at various stages of life. The ticks can carry Lyme disease. CDC
Deer ticks, a.k.a. black-legged ticks, at various stages of life. The ticks can carry Lyme disease. CDC

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) received a report of a death related to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a disease carried by ticks. The man was in his 60s and lived in the West Central District Health Department (WCDHD), which includes Arthur, Hooker, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson and Thomas counties. DHHS has also seen an increase in reports of people with Ehrlichiosis, another tick-related illness. On average, the Department receives four reports of Ehrlichiosis in a year, nine reports have already been received to date.

“Ticks can be efficient carriers of disease and these tick-related illnesses can be serious and sadly, sometimes fatal,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “In a year when many of us are spending more time outdoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nebraskans need to practice the basics of tick prevention to reduce the risk of tick bites.”

“Although tick-related diseases are not seen frequently in our jurisdiction, ticks that can transmit diseases are still found here. It’s important for people to take simple steps to protect themselves and their families. It only takes one bite from an infected tick to make a person ill,” said Shannon Vanderheiden, Executive Director of WCDHD.

Protect yourself against tick bites:

  • Use a repellent with at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin or IR3535, or permethrin-treated clothing.
  • When outdoors, avoid contact with tall grasses and shrubs and keep commonly-used areas of yard free of tall grasses and shrubs, as well as deer and rodents, to help limit tick exposure.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks, and closed-toed shoes outside.
  • Do a tick check after being outdoors, including coats, gear and pets, and remove any attached ticks promptly without squeezing.
  • Shower within two hours of coming indoors.

A relative to mites and spiders, ticks are generally found near the ground and in brushy or wooded areas where they climb tall grasses or shrubs and transfer to a host brushing against them. They attach and feed on blood. Engorged ticks are more likely to transmit pathogens that can cause diseases.

DHHS conducts surveillance on four medically-relevant tick species: the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, Lone Star tick, and Blacklegged tick/Deer tick. Those concerned about possible infection from a tick bite should contact a healthcare provider. Suspected infections should be reported to a local health department or DHHS.

If you find an attached tick:

  • Remove the attached tick as soon as you notice it by grasping with fine-tipped tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out. Early removal can minimize and often eliminate the chance of infection.
  • Watch for signs of infection, and illness such as rash or fever in the days and weeks following a bite, and see a health care provider if these develop.

Additional information on tick-related diseases is available here –

Tick-borne Virus: All You Need to Know About the Disease That Has Killed 7 in China

Tick-borne virus: All you need to know about the disease that has killed 7 in China

While the world is fixated on COVID, there are other viruses that are deadly, and SFTS is one of them.
Important points:
  1. Symptoms include fever, coughing, thrombocytopenia (low platelets), leukcytopenia (love white blood cells), neurological issues and gastrointestinal disorders.
  2. SFTS has a 30% fatality rate.
  3. The Asian Longhorned tick appears to be the culprit which is now spreading across the U.S. ,despite the weather, by migrating birds.
  4. They don’t know if human to human transmission occurs.
  5. Since this was first isolated in 2011 you would think we would have better answers for something that kills 30% of the people it infects….

For more:  This article states the woman may have been infected by the bite from a cat.  If this is true, human to human transmission is highly probable.  We need answers on this tick fast because they line up on a blade of grass like a cluster-bomb.  Brush against it and you have hundreds if not thousands of ticks on you all at once.
And while researchers are quick to report it transmits Lyme disease rarely, it’s still a possibility:
uninfected H. longicornis larvae could acquire B. burgdorferi s.s. while feeding on infected Mus musculus mice (infection prevalence >50% in freshly fed larvae) but that the infection was lost during the molt to the nymphal stage. None of 520 tested molted nymphs were found to be infected, indicating that transstadial passage of B. burgdorferi s.s. is absent or rare in H.
This tick should be a grave concern to all of us.

Brain Death Secondary to RMSF Encephalitis

Brain Death Secondary to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Encephalitis

Affiliations expand

Free PMC article


A two-year-old female presented with acutely altered mental status following eight days of fever and rash. She had been camping at an Indiana campground 11 days prior to the onset of illness and was evaluated twice for her fever and rash prior to admission. Laboratory evaluation on admission revealed thrombocytopenia, hyponatremia, and elevated transaminases. The patient developed diffuse cerebral edema, and despite intensive care, the edema led to brain death from Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).

We present this case to highlight the importance of considering RMSF and other tick-borne illnesses in a child with prolonged fever and rash in a nonendemic area and also the difficulty of diagnosis in early stages of disease. A detailed travel history, evaluation of key laboratory findings (white blood count, platelet count, and transaminases), and close follow-up if rash and fevers persist may help to improve detection of RMSF.

If a tick-borne illness such as RMSF is suspected, empiric doxycycline therapy should be started immediately, as lab confirmation may take several days and mortality increases greatly after five days of symptoms.



This should serve as a stern wake-up call to health professionals on how quickly tick-borne illness cases can go South – in this case, death.

Why they didn’t treat this toddler is beyond me – she had the rash and fever.  

Another important point is Indiana is NOT an endemic area for RMSF, yet she got it – proving AGAIN that doctors need to seriously throw the maps away.  Those maps have been the bane of our existence.  Time and time again they are finding ticks where they shouldn’t be, carrying things they shouldn’t have.


How many more have to die?

For more:  RMSF, normally transmitted by the American dog tick and the closely related Rocky Mountain wood tick, has also been spread by the brown dog tick — a completely different species.  
And here, we discover it’s been found in the Asian Longhorned tick and is capable of being transmitted within ticks through ova.