DISCOVERY: New Tick-borne Disease

BALTIMORE, Md. – There is a new tick-borne disease that medical practitioners in some parts of the world need to be aware of this summer.

It is known that ticks carry and transmit microbes that cause illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia, and that some can be deadly. Now there is a new bacterial species discovered by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and in China.

They are calling it Anaplasma capra.

The paper discussing the discovery was published in the April edition of Lancet Infectious Disease.

This bacteria had never been seen in humans before.

In the study researchers tested 477 patients in northeastern China in 2014 who had been bitten by ticks.  Six percent were found to have been infected by the new bacteria.

This microbe is related to other Anaplasma bacteria, which can cause illness in humans.

Researchers believe bacterium is transmitted via a tick species known as the taiga tick.

Taiga ticks, which are closely related to the deer tick, live in Eastern Europe and across Russia and Asia, including China and Japan. About a fifth of the world’s population, more than a billion people, live in areas where the tick resides.

The symptoms of A capra infection include fever, headache, and tiredness, dizziness and muscle aches. The researchers successfully treated the infection with antibiotics, particularly doxycycline.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(15)70051-4/abstract

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