Types of Tick-Borne Diseases

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson goes over many of the different types of tick-borne disease. You'll learn what they're called, where they're found, what transmits them, and what causes them.


Ticks are kind of disgusting and potentially very dangerous. These insects are related to spiders, wait for you to brush up near them in the woods, drink your blood, and can infect you with really serious diseases as a thank you for your hospitality.

And that's what this lesson is going to be about: some of the many different types of tick-borne disease.

Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, & Ehrlichiosis

One such disease is known as anaplasmosis. It's transmitted by the black-legged tick (deer tick), Ixodes scapularis and the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus. The disease is called anaplasmosis because the bacterium these ticks transmit, the one responsible for the disorder, is called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This disease is most often found in the upper Midwestern and Northeastern United States and is most often diagnosed during June and July. Between one and two thousand cases of anaplasmosis are recorded in the U.S. every year.

Ixodes scapularis ticks, especially when young and small, can also transmit a parasite known as Babesia microti, which infects red blood cells. This results in a disorder known as babesiosis. Like anaplasmosis, the peak transmission is during warmer months and it mainly affects people living in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Roughly 1,300 cases of babesiosis are reported every year in the U.S.

Ixodes scapularis.

Another term you'll hear related to tick-borne disease is ehrlichiosis , a general term for several bacterial diseases transmitted by Ambylomma americanum, the lone star tick. Ehrlichiosis in people is caused by bacteria called Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingi and Ehrlichia muris-like. This disease is most often found in the Southeastern and South-central parts of the U.S. Again, the number of cases tends to peak around summer time and around 1%-2% of people with this disease will die.

But don't be fooled! Technically, these tick-borne diseases can be spread at any time of the year.

Lyme Disease, RMSF, & CTF

Perhaps the most famous tick-borne disease is Lyme disease. This disease is transmitted by Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus ticks. It's caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. About 300,000 people get Lyme disease every year! Lyme disease bacteria are spread around on the Pacific Coast, Northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and North-central United States. Most of the time, the tick needs to be attached to you for about 36-48 hours before the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is actually transmitted. This is why it's so important to check for ticks on your body as soon as possible!



Another very famous tick-borne disease is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or RMSF. The bacteria responsible for this disease are called Rickettsia rickettsii and they are transmitted by the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabillis, Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Close to 2,000 cases of RMSF are reported in the U.S. every year. RMSF transmitting ticks are found in most of the U.S. but North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri account for the majority of reported cases.

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