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Ticks pose a serious public health threat to citizens of the United States, Canada and numerous other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 30,000 new lyme disease cases each year in the US and British Columbia, and this number is steadily growing. However, this number is only a fraction of the true amount of annual lyme disease cases, as those who become infected with lyme disease may not learn of their infection for years. For example, one CDC study estimated the number of annual lyme disease cases based on medical records and data from medical laboratories. The results of the study suggested that more than 376,000 new cases of lyme disease occur each year in the US alone. Controlling tick populations in an effort to reduce lyme disease cases is of primary concern among leading medical researchers and public health professionals, but the lyme epidemic continues to worsen. The discovery of a new form of lyme disease would be disastrous, but unfortunately, this is exactly what occurred late last year.

This new tick-borne disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia miyamotoi, and this pathogen is in the same class as the pathogen that causes lyme disease. There are several similarities between this new tick-borne disease and lyme disease, as both diseases are spread by the same tick species, and prevention and treatment efforts are identical for both diseases. Luckily, medical professionals are not in a panic over this newly discovered tick-borne disease, as the disease’s symptoms can be treated. According to several recent studies, 1 in 5 eastern and western black-legged ticks (deer ticks) are currently carrying the pathogen that causes this new disease, while as much as 30 percent of these ticks are currently carrying lyme bacteria. As of August of 2018, nearly 60 Americans were well documented as being infected with Borrelia miyamotoi. There is currently an influx in lyme disease cases in the US, so this new tick-borne disease will also become more prevalent within the population.

Are you concerned about contracting this new tick-borne disease?