Ticks Can Transmit Multiple Infections in a Single Bite A letter from LymeDisease.org founder

By Phyllis Mervine

W hen I learned that I had Lyme disease way back in 1987, no one knew that babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, or other tick-borne infections could co-infect people and potentially exacerbate one’s illness. Simply put, they weren’t on anyone’s radar. But it makes sense that Ixodes ticks, the primary vectors of these diseases worldwide that feed on several hundred different species of lizards, birds, and mammals, could acquire many blood-borne organisms from their hosts. In fact, a 2014 Chinese study found that locally collected ticks transmitted 237 different bacteria to lab-raised rats. The authors concluded there is “unambiguous evidence that there are as-yet unidentified pathogens associated with ticks, [which] increases the risk of multiple infections in humans, [leading] to more severe clinical manifestations.”

A single bite by a nymph or adult female tick has the potential to transmit multiple infections. Doctors who look sometimes find two, three, or even four tick-borne diseases in a single patient. LymeDisease.org’s published survey of over 3,000 patients with chronic Lyme found over 50% had at least one co-infection and 30% had two or more co-infections. And, those with co-infections tend to be sicker and harder to treat……… Join or login below to continue reading.

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