By now almost everyone has heard of Lyme Disease. With increased public knowledge of how you contract it, how to prevent it and what the symptoms of Lyme Disease are, we can lower everyone’s risk for getting it. While you may know that June and July are big months for contracting Lyme Disease you may not know that you still need to protect yourself from deer ticks later in the summer. A new tick-borne disease called Borellia Miyamotoi (or B. Miyamotoi for short) has been found to be a human pathogen and was first identified in a woman in New Jersey two years ago.
The Massachusetts connection
Our own Imugen Lab in Norwood, MA identified the case in New Jersey and continues to study the pathogen. Once the New Jersey case was discovered to be B. Miyamotoi, infectious disease specialists got to work. They found 51 patients around the world who had confirmed B. Miyamotoi infections. To learn more about the disease they were able to study each case for similarities. One major similarity was that the cases were predominantly contracted in late summer. Making it a strong probability that when a deer tick is in its larval stage it is more likely to spread this bacteria to you. With tick larvae being as small as they are, it is vital that you be vigilant in checking yourself for ticks after exposure.
Some Lyme Disease cases may have been B. Miyamotoi
While there are several symptoms of B. Miyamotoi that present very similarly to Lyme Disease, nonspecific flu-like symptoms and joint aches, there are some key differences to look for. With B. Miyamotoi there have been no characteristic bulls-eye rash described. So far it is unknown whether or not B. Miyamotoi can lead to any recurring neurological or arthritic symptoms as in chronic Lyme Disease. B. Miyamotoi is associated with related bugs that can cause recurring flu symptoms, which is something doctors are watching for in future cases as a possible differentiator from Lyme.
Lyme Disease and the new tick-borne disease B. Miyamotoi are both treated with antibiotics. So while it may not seem necessary to know which one you have contracted, it is certainly possible that Lyme Disease cases from the past were actually B. Miyamotoi. Knowing the difference will allow doctors to learn everything they can about B. Miyamotoi and the dangers that it might present. So far antibiotics have been a successful treatment in the known cases. Because doctors have only been able to study case where patients were hospitalized, the severity of the disease is still unknown.
If you have been exposed to a possible tick bite and are experiencing flu-like symptoms, see your doctor right away.
We do know the new tick disease is contracted by the bite of the deer tick. To avoid coming in contact with B. Miyamotoi take the necessary precautions you have been taking to avoid Lyme Disease. Avoiding tick exposure and tick bites starts with your property, where you spend the most time outdoors. Mosquito Squad of Central Mass offers traditional barrier spray that eliminates ticks and mosquitoes on contact. Add our tick tubes to intensify the success of your season long tick control program.