The first tick-borne sickness in the United States brought on by a specific bacteria, according to a group of experts, has been proven. In one instance, a 75-year-old man from Alabama most likely contracted the virus through a lone star tick. Luckily, antibiotics worked to effectively treat the individual.
The case was covered in detail in the journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emerging Infectious Diseases, last month. Together with physicians and researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Washington, it is written by scientists from the CDC.
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The 75-year-old Alabaman first visited a physician in April 2019 at The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, claims the article. He had been extremely tired for nearly a month, with intermittent fever, chills, sweating, headaches, and vertigo. The individual hadn’t recently traveled, but four weeks prior to the problem, he discovered a tick feasting on him. A wide variety of spiral-shaped bacteria, some of which are known to be carried by ticks, were found in his blood after tests confirmed he had a type of spirochete bacteria in his system. Soon after, he was given antibiotics by doctors.
The man would require three months to receive a tickborne relapsing fever diagnosis confirmation (TBRF). Many Borrelia bacterium species, which are distant relatives of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, are known to be the cause of TBRF. Nevertheless, when they examined the man’s blood under a microscope and conducted a genetic analysis of the bacteria, they discovered Borrelia lonestari bacteria rather than any of these well-known pathogens. According to the available evidence, the researchers believe that this is the first known case of TBRF caused by B. lonestari in the United States.
known as Borrelia miyamotoi, can occasionally lead to TBRF. B. lonestari would be the second TBRF pathogen known to be carried by hard ticks, but the majority of TBRF illnesses are caused by different bacteria spread by “soft ticks,” according to research.
According to the authors of the study, B. lonestari may have a lower potential for disease transmission than other well-known tick-borne pathogens. Immunosuppressive medications that the guy in this case was using to manage his slow-growing cancer may have contributed to his condition. Nevertheless, they also point out that B. lonestari is challenging to detect using standard lab techniques, suggesting that up until now, doctors may have missed many possible cases. We’ll probably eventually have a better idea of how frequently it can make people sick, either way.
According to research author and infectious disease expert Vazquez Guillamet, “in future years, improved awareness of the pathogenic potential of B. lonestari and the use of molecular diagnostics may offer us an approximation regarding the real burden of human sickness produced by this bacterium.
In general, if tick populations continue to increase due to a warmer environment, it is anticipated that tick-borne diseases will become more prevalent and widespread in the U.S.
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