M illions of Americans are likely to be bitten by ticks this year. Some of them may know enough to be concerned about Lyme disease. However, the public at large—and many medical professionals—are often oblivious to other dangers posed by ticks. (See my previous discussion of co-infections here.)

Some particularly troublesome bacteria belong to a group called Rickettsia. Although they can also be found in lice, fleas, mites and chiggers, in the US, most rickettsial infections are thought to be transmitted by ticks.

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