Archive for the ‘Ticks’ Category

North America is “Ground Zero” For Babesiosis

By Lonnie Marcum

12 APR 2021

LYME SCI: North America is “ground zero” for babesiosis

Please don’t make the mistake of limiting these various strains of Babesia or ANY tick-borne illness to certain geographical locations.  Migrating birds are dropping ticks all of the world with abandon – including places they’ve never been before.  For far too long, doctors have looked at geographic maps to diagnose people.  This has caused untold suffering and harm  and must stop.
Recently, this article came out on Jonh’s Hopkins finding 5 herbs that work in vitro for Babesia.  Please see my comment after the article about the need for caution as what is found in vitro often does not translate out into the body.  Previous work on Stevia is a perfect example.  Here’s another good article on the topic as well.
Again – not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” just realistic and wary.  

7 Things You Need to Know About Protecting Your Pet From Insect-Borne Diseases


woman with dog outsideAs the weather warms here in Wisconsin, many pet owners will be spending increasing amounts of time outdoors with their pets. With recommendations from UW Veterinary Care’s Primary Care service, here’s what you need to know to keep your pet safe while enjoying the sunshine.

  1. Insect prevention should take place year-round, not just in the warmer months.

Although insects and arachnids such as mosquitos and ticks are not typically active during the winter months in Wisconsin, several tick species can become active when the temperature is above freezing. During springtime temperature fluctuations, it is difficult to know when to begin preventative treatment. Instead, a much safer option is opting for year-round preventive therapies to ensure that your pet is adequately protected.

  1. Several types of bugs and parasites can transmit disease to your pet.

cat on leash outside

These include mosquitos (which can transmit heartworm), ticks (which can transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis) and fleas (which can transmit tapeworms). Additionally, several critters can cause generalized itchiness to your pet, including mites, lice and fleas.

  1. There are many different preventative treatment options for protecting your pet from insect-borne diseases.

Your vet can help you to find the best treatment option for your pets. Preventative treatments range from monthly pills to flea and tick collars to yearly injections, depending on the target species and the pet owner’s preference.

  1. Some pets are at a higher risk for contracting an insect-borne disease than others.

Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors, such as hunting dogs, or pets that live in high-risk counties in Wisconsin are more likely to contract an insect-borne disease. You can visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council parasite prevalence maps to learn more about disease prevalence where you live or where you will be traveling.

  1. Visually searching for ticks on your pet should not be a substitute for preventative therapy.
Report Tick Encounters
Help prevent tick encounters and tick-borne diseases with The Tick App, developed as part of a collaborative research study between the Midwest and Northeast Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease. By sharing when and where you encounter ticks, you will help researchers understand how and where people are exposed and design better prevention strategies. The app also provides information on tick identification, safely removing ticks, preventing tick bites and more.

Even though it is important to search for and remove ticks from your pet during the summer high season, this does not replace preventative tick therapies. Nymphal or immature ticks can spread Lyme disease, and at about one millimeter in size (similar to a poppy seed) they are difficult to see with the naked eye.

  1. Preventative treatment options are safe for your pet.

If your pet has underlying health issues, be sure to discuss treatment options with your vet. For most pets, however, preventative treatment is much safer and less invasive than treating your pet for insect-borne diseases.

  1. Your pet should still be screened for insect-transmitted diseases every year or two, depending on your preventative treatment method.

This will ensure that the disease is diagnosed and treated sooner rather than later. If your pet is displaying symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy or joint pain, be sure to see your veterinarian, as these can be signs of an insect-borne disease.

Maddie Arthur


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4 Tips to Avoid Ticks in the Yard & Garden

By Richard Gillespie

In spring and through much of the year, you may find yourself exercising your green thumbs in your garden. The last thing you want is to have a thumb, ankle, or some other body part bitten by a tick — especially one carrying Lyme disease.

While blacklegged ticks — sometimes called “deer ticks” — migrate most easily through forests and along rivers, they can also find their way into your garden and pose a threat to you and your pets.

While the world focuses on COVID-19, it’s important not to forget other health threats lurking in our communities. One of the most worrisome is Lyme disease. The only thing you need to distance yourself from, to avoid this deadly disease is blacklegged ticks.

Here are four ways you can reduce your risk of encountering ticks in your garden and around your yard as spring approaches and you head outdoors.


Rake the leaves and other debris that accumulated over the winter. Clear brush and dead grass from along fences and beneath shrubs and hedges. Weed the garden and mow the lawn often, because ticks thrive in long grass and shaded areas.
Stack wood neatly and away from the garden to discourage both ticks and the rodents that carry them. Get rid of old, worn furniture or clutter, so ticks have fewer places to hide.


If your garden or yard is inviting to deer, stray dogs, rabbits, and raccoons, fence it off. All of these animals are carriers of ticks, so a fence will help to keep these pests out of your garden too.

Fences make good neighbors. Fences also can protect your garden and you from ticks catching a ride on creatures that would otherwise feast on your lettuce and other tempting greenery.


Place 3-foot barriers of gravel or wood chips between your yard and any adjacent wooded area to prevent ticks from crawling onto your property. It’s also a good idea to put up a barrier between your deck or patio and the garden.
You can protect your kids by building their playgrounds away from the trees and garden edges. (You’ll also protect the garden from the roughhousing.) Keep in mind: More than half of Lyme Disease victims are children.


Apply pesticide at the start of spring to prevent ticks and other pests, but it’s crucial you follow label instructions to avoid killing beneficial insects. Chiggers, wolf spiders, and several varieties of beetles prey on ticks.

It’s worth noting, too, that a CDC study found that while pesticides kill ticks in yards, they do not reduce the rate of Lyme disease infection in humans.

Natural tick repellants include garlic, sage, mint, lavender, beautyberry, rosemary, and marigolds. These plants also help keep the mosquito and flea population in your garden in check. Plant these in the garden and around your deck and walkways to discourage ticks.


Ten varieties of ticks are common in the U.S. Unfortunately, the blacklegged tick is hard to spot because it’s tiny – only about the size of a sesame seed. They have orange bodies with a black shield and black legs.

Like other ticks, blacklegged ticks wait on leaves or blades of grass with front legs outstretched. When a person or animal brushes by, they quickly grab hold and find a place on the body to dig in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates as many as 476,000 people contract Lyme Disease each year. The infection causes rashes, fever, headache, and fatigue. If left untreated, it can lead to neurological disorders, paralysis, and even death.


Blacklegged deer ticks and western blacklegged ticks are the only ticks known to transmit Lyme disease to humans. They can also transmit at least five other diseases that are harmful to people and animals. In fact, all ticks common in the U.S. can pass along pathogens that make people and animals sick – or kill them.

That’s plenty of reason to follow these four steps to ensure your garden and yard don’t become hazardous to your health.


For more on Lyme disease prevention, click here.

Richard Gillespie is an exterminator whose interest in household and landscape pests began as a child, when he would crank up the radio to hear “I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes.” He prides himself on practicing humane and eco-friendly pest control, unless he finds a rat. Then, all bets are off.

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study


Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas


Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500,

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Study Funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Also Shows Ticks in Northern California Carry a Diversity of Disease-causing Bacteria at Higher Rates Than Previously Reported

Portola Valley, CA, April 23, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a study demonstrating that adult Western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, were found in beach areas at equal rates to the woodland habitats in parts of northwestern California. Further, researchers, who were testing ticks for up to 5 species of tick-borne bacteria, found that the collective infection rate of all species was as high as 31% in at least one area, which offers a different perspective from previous studies that tested for a single species of bacteria in a specific area or areas. Conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, Northern Arizona State University and Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), the research points to the need for greater education for both the community at large and healthcare providers about the risks of tick-borne disease.

“The high rate of disease-carrying ticks in the coastal chaparral was really surprising to us. And when looking at all the tick-borne pathogens simultaneously, it makes you rethink the local disease risk,” said Lead Author Daniel Salkeld, PhD, Colorado State University. “Previously, we, along with other researchers, may have missed the big picture when we focused our attention on investigating the risk of one pathogen at a time. Now, we have a new imperative to look at the collective risk of all tick-borne pathogens in an area.”

Researchers sought to quantify the prevalence of five species of bacteria—Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia americana, Borrelia bissettiae, Borrelia miyamotoi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum—in Western black-legged ticks (I. pacificus) across multiple habitats. Habitats included woodlands and grasslands as well as coastal chaparral, which is a habitat that has not previously been studied. Ticks may also carry viruses and parasites, however only bacteria were included in this study.

“Beaches and lizard habitats can no longer be considered havens from ticks. Based on this new data, we are now encouraging residents to take preventative measures in beach areas and encouraging healthcare providers to learn the symptoms of tick-borne infections beyond Lyme disease,” said Linda Giampa, executive director at Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Prevention of tick-borne disease is critical and ecology studies like this highlight the need to be vigilant anytime we are in the outdoors.”

This was the first study to characterize bacteria carried by ticks in the chaparral in beach areas. Coastal chaparral is a natural habitat for fence lizards, which have previously been found to carry a blood protein that kills Borrelia bacteria, although studies over the past 20 years have offered differing results.

Authors note that more research is necessary to better understand which animals may be hosts for the ticks in beach areas. It is speculated that the hosts may be rabbits, voles and/or the white-footed mouse. The grey squirrel, which has been known to be the primary tick host in northwestern California, doesn’t live in coastal areas. Additionally, the prevalence and role of the fence lizard should be further explored.

More information about preventing tick bites can be found here, and here is the link to the study:

About the Study
Researchers conducted tick drags of public and private areas including California State Parks (SP), County and Regional Parks, and National Parks in in Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma Counties.

Aggregated across all sites, prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato alone was 2.9% (95% CI = 2.3-3.7%), and Borrelia miyamotoi in adult ticks occurred at a lower prevalence than B. burgdorferi sensu lato: 1.3% (95% CI = 0.8-1.8%). However, prevalence of B. miyamotoi in nymphal ticks reached as high as 17.8% (95% CI = 10.5-27.3, n = 90) in some areas. Presence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum was sporadic throughout the area with highest rates observed up to 7.8% (95% CI = 3.2-15.4%.).

About Tick-borne Disease
The CDC recognizes 15 tick-borne diseases, and there are at least 9 different types of ticks that carry these diseases. Tick-borne disease has been diagnosed in every state in the country. The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. According to the CDC, there are nearly 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, more than one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM Fund covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit or call us at 650-530-2439.

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Media contact:
Tara DiMilia
Phone: 908-369-7168


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Humans Infested with Ixodes Ricinus Are Exposed to a Diverse Array of Tick-borne Pathogens in Serbia

Humans infested with Ixodes ricinus are exposed to a diverse array of tick-borne pathogens in Serbia


Tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) pose a major threat to human health in Europe and the whole northern hemisphere. Despite a high prevalence of TBPs in Ixodes ricinus ticks, knowledge on the incidence of tick-borne diseases in humans infested by this tick species is limited. This study was conducted in the year 2019 on patients who presented themselves to the Pasteur Institute Novi Sad with tick infestations. Ticks (n = 31) feeding on human (n = 30) and blood samples from the same individuals were collected by physicians and a microfluidic real-time high-throughput PCR system was used to test the genomic DNA of the samples for the presence of 27 bacterial and eight parasitic microorganisms in Serbia. Except for one Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l. adult male tick, all ticks infesting humans were morphologically identified as I. ricinus.

  • A high proportion of ticks (74%, 23/31) were infected with at least one of the tested TB microorganisms, being Rickettsia helvetica (54 %, 17/31) the most common pathogen, but
  • Borrelia afzelii (9 %, 3/31),
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum (6 %, 2/31),
  • Borrelia miyamotoi (6 %, 2/31), and
  • Francisella like-endosymbiont (6 %, 2/31),
  • Borrelia valaisiana (3 %, 1/31),
  • Borrelia lusitaniae (3 %, 1/31),
  • Rickettsia felis (3 %, 1/31) and
  • Rickettsia aeschlimannii (3 %, 1/31) were also identified.

Despite the high infection rate of TBPs in ticks, only two human blood samples (6 %, 2/30) tested positive for the presence of TBPs, one patient (code H12, 67 years old female) was diagnosed with Borrelia spp. and the other patient was diagnosed (code H17, 71 years old female) with R. felis infection. The tick infesting patient H12 tested positive for B. afzelii, and R. helvetica and the tick infesting patient H17 tested positive for R. felis. Upon clinical examination, both patients were diagnosed with erythema migrans. No additional discomfort was reported by the patient and no additional pathology was observed by the physician. We concluded that humans bitten by I. ricinus in Serbia are exposed to a diverse array of TBPs with clinical impact in the Serbian cohort studied.