Lyme and Co Infections

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What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a spirochetal infection passed to humans or animals through a tick bite. There is some debate to whether it is sexually transmitted or passed to humans and animals through other bug bites. It can be passed in utero to a baby if the mom is infected.
There are three stages in Lyme Disease. There is no time line to when someone may reach each stage however. Some people take years to get to stage three while others can reach it in a couple months of the tick bite. Most people do not even remember a tick bite. For more information on Lyme Disease please go to: What Is Lyme Disease?

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

There is a wide variety of symptoms. Lyme Disease can affect every organ system in your body including you brain. Some people have muscular skeletal problems while others have neurological symptoms. Many people have both. It is also common for Lyme symptoms to "migrate." Migrating symptoms are symptoms that either change constantly or move around. For example, one day your knee may be swollen and hurt and the next day it stop but your elbow hurts instead.
The first symptoms after the initial infection are easy to miss. You usually will experience flu like symptoms a week or so after exposure. Some people, (less then half) develop a bull's eye rash.If you experience fever, stiff neck, headache, and fatigue, please see your doctor right away. Later as the infection spreads the symptoms can turn to severe fatigue, neurological problems, getting lost in familiar places, vision problems, panic attacks, extreme anxiety or depression, painful joints, numbness and tingling anywhere in body, extreme headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, Bell's Palsy, (facial parlysis), and just about any other symptom you can think of. For more info on Lyme Disease and it's symptoms please check out What Is Lyme?


There are a wide variety of treatments for Lyme Disease. It is really important to catch it early and start treatment right away. If you don't, then it may disseminate throughout your body and become a more serious case. It seems every person responds differently to treatment also. The basic treatment for Lyme Disease is a short course of antibiotics. This is rarely enough. For more information on treatments please read this: Lyme Disease Treatments.

Lyme Disease is not the only infection that is passed by a tick bite. These other diseases have become known as "co-infections."


Babesia is a protozoan spread by ticks, blood transfusion, and in utero. There are 13 known forms but our current blood testing only looks for two of them.

Night Sweats
Air hunger
Shaking chills
Night Sweats

Bartonella is spread by bites from infected ticks and in utero and by dust mites.

stretch mark-like rash
Bartonella Rash
abnormal liver enzymes
flu-like malaise
hemolysis with anemia
high fever
immune deficiency
papular or angiomatous rash
sore throat
weakened immune response

Erlichiosis is spread by bites from infected ticks


elevated liver enzymes
ongoing fatigue
persistent leukopenia

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever 

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium is spread to humans through the bite of infected ticks, and so the disease is most common in months where ticks are active, such as summer. Rocky Mountains occurs throughout most of the U.S. Most cases require hospitalization, and severe cases require intensive care. The disease is diagnosed by finding high titers of antibodies in the blood or by seeing the organism under a microscope in specially stained skin biopsies. The treatment of choice is the antibiotic doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox). Prompt treatment improves survival and reduces complications.

high fever
severe headache
chills fatigue and muscle pain/achiness
myalgias nausea
loss of appetite
gastrointestinal problems (10% will produce stools positive for occult blood)
light intolerance

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Mycoplasma Fermentans

The most common of the Lyme Co-infection is Mycoplasma Fermentans. It is the smallest of bacteria’s and has the ability to enter any cell and alter itself, changing its cellular makeup with every cell division. It invades all systems of the human body.


flu-like aches and pains
cramps and spasms night sweats
intermittent fevers
memory loss
loss of concentration

Mycoplasmas are a heterogeneous group of the smallest organisms capable of self-replication. They can cause a wide variety of diseases in animals. Some mycoplasmas cause respiratory or urogenital diseases in humans. Mycoplasmas often chronically colonize our respiratory and urogenital tracts without apparent clinical significance.

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Tick Paralysis

Tick paralysis is the only tick-borne disease that is not caused by an infectious organism. The illness is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the tick’s salivary gland. The tick incoculates the host with a toxin from tick salivary glands during a blood meal. The toxin causes symptoms within a week beginning with weakness in both legs that progresses to paralysis. The paralysis ascends to the trunk, arms, and head within hours and may lead to respiratory failure and death. The disease can present as acute ataxia without muscle weakness.

Removal of the embedded tick usually results in resolution of symptoms within several hours to days. If the tick is not removed, the toxin can be fatal.

Please be aware that you dog can get this too.

Colorado Tick Fever

Colorado tick fever is an acute viral infection spread by the bite of the Dermacentor andersoni wood tick.

fever headache chills light sensitivity myalgias malaise fatigue and malaise, for weeks to months nausea, diarrhea light sensitivity rare pneumonitis myocarditis hepatitis Signs and tests Complement fixation antibody test Immunofluorescence antibody test Complete blood count (CBC) Creatine kinase
Liver function tests

Q Fever

Q fever is a bacterial infection that can affect the lungs, liver, heart, and other parts of the body. People usually get infected with Q fever by breathing in contaminated droplets released by infected animals. Drinking raw milk has also caused infection in rare cases. Chronic Q fever requires long-term treatment with antibiotics.


High fever
Sore throat
Clay-colored stools
Chest pain

Q fever is found around the world and is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. The bacteria affects sheep, goats, cattle, dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and ticks, as well as some other animals. Infected animals shed this bacteria in:
Birth products

Powassan Virus


Powassan (POW) virus is related to some mosquito-borne viruses, including West Nile virus. The virus is named after Powassan, Ontario, where it was first discovered in 1958. Two types of Powassan virus have been found in North America.

There are two types:

One type of POW virus is carried by Ixodes scapularis (deer tick).

The second type of POW virus is carried by Ixodes cookei, a related tick species that usually feeds on woodchucks or other medium-sized mammals instead of humans. I. cookei has also been found in wooded areas in Minnesota.


Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
loss of coordination
speech difficulties
memory loss

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Tickborne Relapsing Fever

Relapsing fever is an infection caused by the bites of lice or soft-bodied ticks. Tick-borne relapsing fever is found primarily in Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Asia, and certain areas in the Western U.S. and Canada. Most people who are infected get sick around within a couple weeks of the bite.

Symptoms may include a sudden fever, chills, headaches, and muscle or joint aches, and nausea; a rash may also occur. These symptoms continue for 2-9 days, then disappear. This cycle may continue for several weeks if the person is not treated.

Relapsing Fever is easily treated with 1-2 weeks of antibiotics. Most people improve within 24 hours of starting antibiotics.


Tularemia is an infection common in wild rodents and can be passed to humans through contact with infected animal tissues or by ticks, biting flies, and mosquitoes. Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. F. tularensis tularensis which is found in lagomorphs in North America, is highly virulent in humans and domestic rabbits.

Humans can get the disease through:

A bite from an infected tick, horsefly, or mosquito

Breathing in infected dirt or plant material

Direct contact, through a break in the skin, with an infected animal or its dead body (most often a rabbit, muskrat, beaver, or squirrel)

Eating infected meat (rare)


high fever
swollen glands
chills, headache
extreme fatigue
muscle aches
joint pain
dry cough
progressive weakness
weight loss
nausea, vomiting. diarrhea
abdominal pain
intestinal ulcerations
inflamed eyes often with a discharge
sore throat, mouth sores

The drug of choice is streptomycin. Tularemia may also be treated with gentamicin for ten days, tetracycline-class drugs such as doxycycline for two to three weeks.

STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness

Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), also known as Masters disease, occurs after the bite of the lone star tick. The disease is thought to be caused by the bacterium Borrelia lonestari.Early STARI symptoms are similar to symptoms of early Lyme disease. A skin lesion that looks like a Lyme disease bull’s eye rash appears at the site of the tick bite. Treatment with an antibiotic regimen similar to that used for LD helps resolve STARI.Symtpoms Fever Headache Lesion at bite site

Parts of this list were taken from Short Co-Infection Symptoms List

To learn more about co-infections go to: Lyme Disease Co-infections

Other Factors in Chronic Illness

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! Thank you so much for all you do for us Lymies and Lyme Awareness!!! :)