Signs and Symptoms of Tick-Borne Disease?

There are 19 tick-borne diseases currently known to occur throughout the US and many of these diseases have impacted Colorado residents and/or their pets.

As a rule, the sooner a tick-borne disease is properly diagnosed and treated, the better!

Though not all infections manifest into serious disease. Lack of timely, accurate, diagnosis and treatment can result in adverse outcomes for patients including extended treatment, hospitalization, disability or death.

Tick-borne illnesses may manifest in vague, classic or dramatic and unusual presentations. Many of the tick-borne infections can initially present as a flu-like syndrome that are often misdiagnosed as viral other illnesses.

Initial symptoms common to many tick-borne diseases are often flu-like and may include:

  • Fever (may be high and/or relapsing in nature)
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Rashes (multiple presentations)
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Muscle-aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting

Individuals and their pets returning to Colorado from travel out of state or country may not be aware of their tick exposure or risk of diseases in other regions of the US or World. Colorado medical care providers are faced with diagnosing diseases they may not have any previous experience with. It is important to notify a physician if you become ill after an exposure to ticks or their habitat. For instance, a flu-like illness following a camping trip even if you did not notice a tick-bite!

The rate of infections with Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens are increasing nationwide and worldwide, Researchers are discovering new, previously unknown species  that cause Lyme disease symptoms as well as new pathogens that are causing additional diseases. Lyme is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the US and ranks 5th of all reported infectious diseases in the US behind, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Salmonella, and HIV/Aids (new cases). The CDC estimates that Lyme is underreported by 10 times. Case numbers have increased to nearly 400,000 this year. Colorado needs more physicians trained in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases!

The controversy and confusion about diagnosis and treatment for many of these diseases leaves some Coloradans undiagnosed, undertreated, and vulnerable to long-term, preventable, health problems from Lyme and other tick-borne infections. Education and awareness for both medical care providers and patients needs to be elevated in Colorado!