Lyme disease or borreliosis -
often mis-diagnosed as ME (myalgic encephalomyelytis) or CFS (chronic fatigue
syndrome). It is caused by a spirochaete bacterium called Borrelia
(similar to the syphilis causal agent).
Borrelia burgdorferi occurs in a wide range of wildlife species and is
the causal agent of Lyme disease in humans.
Borrellia afzelii is
found in small mammal-tick life cycles while
Borrelia garinii is found in bird-tick life cycles (Source: Medlock
et el., 2009, BBC Wildlife magazine, April, 258-266.
Borrelia burgdorferi - "causes Lyme disease usually recognised by a
distinctive skin lesion, erythema migrans, accompanied by headache, stiff neck,
myalgias, arthralgias, fatigue and possible swelling of the lymph nodes. While
treatable with antibiotics, unrecognised and/or untreated patients may develop
meningoencephalitis, myocarditis or even arthritis, particularly in the knees".
Borrelia garinii - "This organism was orginally classified as
Borrelia burgdorferi, however B. garinii was subsequently determined
to be a separate species based on genetic analysis. The type strain of B.
garinii was isolated from Ixodes ricinus in France. B. garinii
is a major causative agent of tick-borne borreliosis in Europe. Neurologic
symptoms, such as arthritis, meningitis, and extreme leg and back pain are
characteristic of infection by B. garinii". Generally associated with
Borrellia afzelii - usually causes neurological aspects of Lyme disease,
such as extreme back and leg pain, meningitis and partial facial palsy.
Generally associated with birds, but recently found in rodents.
"causes a distinct skin infection known as acrodermatitis chronica
atrophicans (ACA). ACA is seen in the late stage of LB and can be diagnosed
as, progressive, fibrosing skin process due to continuing infection of the
bacterium. It is followed by an inflammatory stage with bluish red discoloration
and cutaneous swelling, often seen with recurring events even a year after first
notice. The early stages of LB can be noticed by a bulls-eye like marking on the
surface of the skin, most notably on the extremities".
Babesiosis - a
parasitic disease caused by
a genus of
trypanosomes, Babesia are thought to be the second most common blood
parasites of mammals and they can have a major impact on health of domestic
animals in areas without severe winters. Cases of babesiosis have been reported
in a wide range of European countries.
Disease in Europe is usually due to infection with Babesia divergens,
while in the United States Babesia microti and Babesia duncani are
the species most commonly associated with human disease. Source:
Wikipedia - Babesiosis
Red water fever - Babesiosis is an infection of the
red blood cells by a single cell parasite of the genus Babesia. In the
UK, babesiosis is usually caused by Babesia divergens. The disease is
spread between cattle by ticks (Ixodes ricinus in the UK). The babesia is
injected into the bloodstream by the tick and then invades the red blood cells
and begins dividing, eventually rupturing the cell. Clinical signs begin around
2 weeks after infection. Babesiois is rare except in known tick areas. However
in these areas even though disease is often relatively mild there is a
significant impact on productivity and fertility in affected cattle. Symptoms
include red urine. Source:
Ehrlichiosis - a
infection that infects and kills
white blood cells. These obligately intracellular bacteria are members of
Anaplasma. Five species have
been shown to cause human infection:
Anaplasma phagocytophilum (which causes
human granulocytic anaplasmosis (formerly known as human granulocytic
Ehrlichia ewingii (which causes
human ewingii ehrlichiosis), E. chafeensis (which causes
human monocytic ehrlichiosis), E. canus, and Neorickettsia
sennetsu. The latter two infections are not well studied. Recently,
human infection by the newly discovered Panoloa Mountain Ehrlichia species has
been reported. Source: Wikipedia -
Louping ill -
(also known as Ovine Encephalomyelitis,
Infectious Encephalomyelitis of Sheep, Trembling-ill) is an acute viral disease
primarily of sheep that is characterized by a biphasic
and death. Louping-ill is a
disease whose occurrence is closely related to the distribution of the primary
vector, the sheep tick
Ixodes ricinus. Louping ill is caused by
RNA virus called
Louping ill virus that belongs to genus
family Flaviviridae. (Source: Wikipedia -
Louping-ill also occasionally affects
Health Protection Agency - here). This disease kills sheep on Dartmoor.
Q-fever - Q
fever is a highly infectious, but relatively rare condition caused by bacteria
commonly found in farm animals ..... About 70 cases of Q fever are reported in
the UK each year, but many cases go unreported as they are mild, or show no
symptoms. Source -
NHS Choices. Also:
HPA - take
precautions also against tick bites
fever (also called Mediterranean spotted fever, fièvre boutonneuse, or
Marseilles fever) is a
fever as a result
Rickettsia infection caused by the bacterium
Rickettsia conorii and transmitted by the dog tick
Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Boutonneuse fever can be seen in many places
around the world, although it is endemic in countries surrounding the
Mediterranean Sea. The French word boutonneuse means spotty.
Source: Wikipedia -
Boutonneuse_fever. It is also
carried by UK tick species and is spreading towards the UK. Source:
Ticks of North West Europe
by Paul Hillyard, published for The Linnean Society of London, by the Field
Studies Council, Shrewsbury, 1996, ISBN 1 85153 257 9, page 26.
Tick-borne meningoencephalitis or
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a
viral infection of the
central nervous system affecting humans as well as most other mammals. The
virus can infect the brain (encephalitis),
the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
or both (meningoencephalitis).
It is transmitted by the bite of infected
sheep ticks or (rarely) through the non-pasteurized
milk of infected
Sexual transmission has been documented in mice with vertical transmission to
progeny. Sexual transmission with humans has never been documented.
Not in the
UK yet? Source: Wikipedia -
Borreliosis, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis can occur together in humans and there
is at least one local case of this. It is said they can be transmitted by a
single tick bite.
Health Protection Agency - Epidemiology of Lyme borreliosis reports there were
705 cases of Lyme acquired in England & Wales in 2007, (this rises
year-on-year, see the graph) and "It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000
additional cases occur each year in England and Wales".
In Scotland, there were 232 laboratory confirmations in 2007, which is
consistent with the upward trend which began in 2005 with 96 cases followed by
177 in 2006. Source:
Health Protection Scotland - this page (or
Defra Zoonoses UK Report 2007). Also .....
This means there could have been be up to 3,000 new cases in the UK in 2007?
"There were seven cases of Lyme
borreliosis in Northern Ireland in 2007. In Scotland, there were 232
laboratory confirmations in 2007, which is consistent with the upward
trend which began in 2005 with 96 cases followed by 177 in 2006. In
England and Wales there were 797 confirmed cases of Lyme borreliosis in
2007 (table 12); 705 indigenously acquired and 92 acquired abroad".
Zoonoses UK Report 2007, page 60.
there were 7734 new cases of HIV in 2007 (in UK HIV Statistics by Year) - this
puts Lyme into a perspective?
Lyme is said to be the next biggest epidemic after HIV. Ed.