Borrelia Miyamotoi – a New Tick Disease in NY?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Fairfield, Westchester, and Rockland County

Black legged ticks or “deer ticks” are common in NY and are known transmitters, or Vectors, of Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Powassan Encephalitis.  Scientists now know they carry new tick bacteria – Borrelia Miyamotoi.  Different from Lyme Disease bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, this one belongs to the relapsing fever group of Borrelia.  Muscle weakness, fever, fatigue, headache and general flu-like symptoms are common in tick-borne diseases.

A new tick disease in NY, DNA tests must be used to detect Borrelia Miyamotoi bacteria.  These tests are the only way to distinguish the new bacteria from Lyme bacteria.  Testing for Lyme Disease will not reveal these new bacteria.  The lack of a positive result for the new bacteria in testing for Lyme concerns health officials. It increases the risk of an incorrect or no diagnosis.  The DNA tests used to identify Borrelia Miyamotoi remain under development and they are not commercially available.

This new bacterium was first detected in ticks from Japan in 1995.  The CDC has identified only three fully documented cases.  In July of 2013, CBS reported state official have reported Borrelia Miyamotoi has already infected more than 100,000 New Yorkers.

What are the reasons for the variance in reporting for this disease?  First, treatment is the same for this tick-borne illness as for Lyme Disease.  DNA tests may not have been performed and the disease may have simply been under-reported.  Standard tests for Lyme Disease will show a negative result for Borrelia Miyamotoi.  However, if a patient has a tick bite and symptoms of Lyme they will usually be treated with antibiotics.  This is true regardless of test results for Lyme.  The same course of antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease also treats this new bacterium.  For this reason, Borrelia Miyamotoi is often treated without being diagnosed.

The CDC is working closely with state agencies in developing the reporting options necessary to track this new disease.  The route of transmission is not clearly identified nor what part animals and pets play in its transmission.

NY Lyme Disease already ranks high among states in the US with tick-borne illnesses.  It is important we don’t rank high in this new disease.  While scientists are studying its spread and developing new tests to identify it, prevention is critical.

Many of us spend much of our outdoor time in our own yards.  Using a barrier yard spray is the best defense in providing Westchester County NY Lyme Disease protection and from other tick-borne diseases.  Reduce the number of ticks and you reduce the likelihood of illness.  Our customers understand this equation.  We can also discuss how to reduce the habitat ticks like.  This makes our effective barrier spray even more effective in eliminating your family’s exposure to tick-borne illnesses.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Fairfield, Westchester, and Rockland County today to learn more about reducing the risks of tick-borne illness on your property this season.