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Illustration by Michael Sloan from UNH Magazine article that I mention at the end of this post.
Friday, January 18, 2013

New Lyme-like disease found to be carried by deer ticks

Today's depressing science news, from Reuters:

Scientists have discovered a new deer tick-borne disease in humans, with the viral-like illness sharing similarities both with Lyme disease and relapsing fever infections.

The study said blood tests identified Borrelia miyamotoi in 18 human patients in southern New England and neighboring New York in recent years. Symptoms of the resulting illness can include fever, muscular aches and pains, headaches and fatigue, with a small portion also developing a rash such as with Lyme disease.

One complication experienced by multiple patients, however, was repeated episodes of fever — a significant difference from what has been reported by people diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Spotted in Bangor Daily News.

There's a lot of interesting research out there bout ticks and Lyme Disease in New Hampshire. I wrote in UNH Magazine last year about methods to correlate satellite data "to see if combinations of temperature, weather, forest cover or other factors can be correlated to estimate how likely it is that you'll encounter disease-ridden ticks in a given place and time." You can read it here (it's the last of three items).