Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases: An Increasing Health Risk in the U.S.

Open Access Government recently interviewed Paul Mead, Chief of the Lyme & Tick-Borne DiseasesBacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The interview focuses on the increasing risk that Lyme & tick-borne diseases pose to health in the United States, and covers a number of important topics, including how bites from infected ticks pass pathogens to humans, symptoms that are associated with different tick-borne diseases, as well as steps that outdoor workers can take to prevent tick bites.


For More Information:

Read the interview on OpenAccessGovernment.org.

Read more about the spread of Lyme throughout the U.S.  

Review of Ticks Infesting Humans in the US

(Top-L) Adult Female deer tick, adult female dog tick.(Bottom-L) Adult female, adult male, and nymph lone star ticks. Credit J. Occi, PhD (cand.), Rutgers

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, (Lars E.), published a review article “Tick species infesting humans in the United States” in November, 2022*.  The author presents data as a summary table for published records of bites, diseases, and infestations of ticks on humans in the United States (US) to date. The goal of this review is to present data for both native and recently established hard and soft tick species that have been reported on humans regarding the frequency that they have been observed. The author also states that this type of long-term data regarding human/tick encounters is lacking for the public at the national scale, and he provides guidance for future reporting to better track these encounters and the risks. * Version of Record 13 August 2022.

The author found published records that document 36 hard tick species (234,722 specimens) and 13 soft tick species (230 specimens) that have bitten or infested humans in the US to date. Data shows that the top 5 hard tick human encounters were with the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis); the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum); the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis); the western blacklegged tick, (Ixodes pacificus); and the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni).

The most frequently recorded soft tick human encounters were with the spinose ear tick (Otobius megnini); and the pajaroello tick (Ornithodoros coriaceus).

Additional species of note documented by more than 250 encounters with humans included the woodchuck tick (Ixodes cookei); the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis); the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato); the winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus); and the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).

Interestingly, some ticks widely believed to be “non-human biters” or “nidicolous” in behavior (staying close to the host nest or burrow), were reported from over 100 to over 200 instances, and are species that are known to be competent vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. bacteria. These ticks included Ixodes muris, Ixodes dentatus, Ixodes angustus, and Ixodes spinipalpis.


For More Information

Read Full Journal Article

Other LDA Articles that Relate

NIH Grant Expands Tick-Borne Diseases Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a four-year grant in theTick Borne Diseases Research amount of $2.1 million to Washington State University so that researchers there may further develop methods for the prevention of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, another common tick-borne coinfection.

WSU researchers will build on their initial investigation which involved the identification of two novel protein players that are key to the tick’s immune pathway and their survival against these two common tick-borne pathogens. This preliminary study resulted in a better understanding of how to influence a tick’s immunity when infected with these two tick-borne diseases, with the goal of ultimately limiting the arthropod’s ability to transmit the bacteria to humans.

The additional grant will allow WSU researchers to continue studying these proteins including how they interact and possibly identifying other mechanisms that may play a role.

Read more on the WSU website.

Read more about Lyme disease.

Read more about anaplasmosis.

HHS Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group (TBDWG) Meeting News

Lyme patient advocate Monica White, President, Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association (COTBBAA), had verbal comments accepted at the July 2020 meeting of the HHS Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group:

“My name is Monica White. I’m president/co-founder of Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association. I’ve lived with chronic Lyme, co-infections & conditions for nearly 16 years due to lack of an early diagnosis & treatment. Formally a fully functional wildlife biologist & wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service, I am functional now only with repeated courses of combined antibiotics, antimicrobial, & immune therapies.

I recently relapsed with tick-borne illness after a period of no treatment. And again, even with current positive lab results in hand, I was met with dismissal from mainstream medicine.

With an enlarged liver and spleen during another extended hospital stay, the infectious disease doctor wrote in my report… and I quote…”I highly doubt this is in anyway related to either Lyme disease or babesiosis.” I again left hospital care without a diagnosis…and I’ve again made improvements in my health only with retreatment for TBDs. This dismissal of TBDs in the differential diagnosis is commonplace for TBD patients, especially those with chronic or persistent disease.

Though persistence of pathogens is shown in multiple studies conducted by respected researchers in the community, some on this panel….and is found in both animals and humans, findings have thus far been ignored or disputed by many members of this panel each year. It is past time to settle the science on this issue for…

  • patients that don’t get early accurate diagnosis and treatment.
  • patients that fail short course single antibiotic/antimicrobial therapies;
  • patients thatare overlooked for have co-infections or tick-borne conditions,
  • and patients that do not respond to currently available therapies.

Maternal-fetal transmission of many TBDs is a fact, but research is lacking in diagnostics and treatment before irreparable damage has occurred. My own children acquired Lyme and co-infections congenitally, and both suffered from delayed diagnosis and treatment, as well as from multiple relapses of disease.

The resources available to patients have been… and continue to be…. INADEQUATE. Our medical system is failing these patients, and this has ramifications that go so far beyond my individual story.

We should not have to fight as hard as we have… for as long as we have…to get government funded reliable direct diagnostics & curative treatments for acute & persistent disease!

Individuals…families…OUR children have been losing EVERYTHING for DECADES due to the lack of attention to the seriousness and the debilitation that Lyme, other TBDs & conditions has on those infected or exposed.

There is no excuse for patients having to spend months, years, or decades seeking accurate diagnosis and treatment, with crippling physical health, mental health, financial burdens, loss of careers, & relationship stresses beyond what many families can endure.

No one should suffer the way I have suffered…the way my children have suffered… and the way that the patients I share a voice for…have suffered.

 “Patient’s needs MUST be the priority of the WG for this final phase of the panel!”    Thank you!”

More Information

To find written comments submitted  by the public including Monica White  that are on the TBDWG site released for the July 2020 TBDWG meeting:

Public Written Comments to the TBDWG

To find many LDA articles about the first two terms of the TBDWG:

History & first two terms of HHS TBDWG

New Lyme Research Opportunity: HHS Launches $10M LymeX Diagnostics Prize

HHS and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation have launched Phase 1 of the LymeX Diagnostics Prize, a $10 million competition to accelerate the development of Lyme disease diagnostics. Phase 1 calls on scientific, technical, and clinical experts to submit innovative methods for detecting active Lyme disease infections in people.

We’re getting the word out to experts across sectors such as vector-borne disease biology and clinical and technology translation, and wanted to make sure you were aware of this opportunity. Will you help us spread the word?

There are a few ways you can help: 

  1. Forward this post to your network. 
  2. Share on your organization’s digital channels. We’ve included a sample tweet below, and you can download our full communications toolkit for additional social media, newsletter, web messaging, and graphics. 
  3. Retweet posts from @Lyme_X or share your own: 

Just launched: $10 million #LymeXDiagnosticsPrize calls on experts in disease biology, #diagnostics, #medtech, and more. Learn more about submitting a concept for detecting active #Lymedisease infections — Phase 1 submissions are due by August 8: https://www.lymexdiagnosticsprize.com/?utm_source=validator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=P1-launch0 #lyme

LymeX Diagnostics Prize quick facts

  • Seeks concept papers for development of innovative detection methods. Entrants should describe proposed solutions and scientifically rigorous rationales for success, including ambitious but achievable roadmaps for prototyping, iteration, testing and validation, and evaluation.

  • Will award $1 million in Phase 1. Up to 10 Phase 1 winners will receive an equal share of the $1 million Phase 1 prize pool and be exclusively invited to participate in a planned Phase 2.
  • Phase 1 submissions are due by 4:59 p.m. ET on August 8, 2022. See the submission form.

links from above:

LymeX Diagnostics Prize

Helpful Links on Veterans Rights & Special Education

The LDA provides the information below supplied by Florin|Roebig Trial Attorneys as a service only, and it should not be construed as a recommendation.


Military and Department of Defense (DOD) Special Education http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/dod.index.htm#news

 Veteran Rights and Discrimination https://florinroebig.com/veteran-rights-discrimination/




Attention Researchers! CDMRP: Announcement for Lyme Research Proposals 2022

The Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) published a news release alerting Lyme & other tick-borne diseases researchers of anticipated FY22 monies that may become available through the program so that researchers can plan and develop possible grant submissions. 

The CDMRP-TBDRP states that “Applicants are particularly encouraged to submit applications focused on tick-borne diseases (TBDs) and conditions endemic to the U.S., and/or involving patients with persistent Lyme disease.” 

Update: Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) funding opportunities announcements have been released by CDMRP. Pre-Application (Preproposal) is required and due May 26, 2022 by 5:00 pm (ET). Application submission is by invitation only with applications due August 25, 2022 11:59 pm (ET).

Details of submission requirements can be found in the full news release and announcement. All questions should be addressed directly to the CDMRP program.

Access the FY22 CDMRP-TBDRP Press Release here

Access the FY22 CDMRP-TBDRP Announcement here

Read more on CDMRP-TBDRP here

Read more LDA Articles on CDMRP-TBDRP here


Study Confirms Heartland Virus in Lone Star Ticks in Georgia

Heartland Virus in Lone Star Ticks The report of a human death in Georgia from Heartland virus (HRTV) as well as confirmed white-tailed deer exposure to the tick-borne pathogen prompted researchers to collect samples of questing ticks in 2018–2019. The samples were taken from 26 sites near the areas where seropositive deer were captured, as well as the residence of the human patient.

The researchers processed a total of 9,294 Amblyomma Americanum (lone star) ticks in pools by virus isolation in Vero E6 cells and reverse transcription PCR. The positive pools went through whole-genome sequencing with three pools showing the presence of HRTV (minimum infection rate 0.46/1,000 ticks). Cell cultures found HRTV in two pools while none of the ticks tested positive for Bourbon virus. Among the samples, the genome sequencing for the three HRTV isolates exhibited a high degree of similarity, however, there were significant differences with formerly sequenced HRTV isolates.

HRTV was first detected in 2009 and since then approximately 40 more human cases of the disease have been discovered in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, and South Carolina, and, as this study confirms, Georgia. Most of these cases involved patients who had comorbidities and for many, their diseases were serious or deadly.

Studies showing seroprevalence in wildlife suggest an even wider distribution range of HRTV than those states with reported human disease cases. The researchers advise clinicians and those working in public health to be aware of this tick-borne pathogen as it emerges.

Read the study in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

Read more about Heartland virus.

Read more about lone star and other tick vectors.

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine on Hold for Infants/Toddlers

The FDA has just announced that they plan to postpone their scheduled advisory committee meeting on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years. They do not expect to reconvene for a few more months pending additional data required to move forward.  

A two-dose vaccine series failed to meet “immunobridging” criteria in a study evaluating the youngest children. Pfizer explained in a previous statement that a third dose “may provide a higher level of protection in this age group.” The ongoing clinical study plans to evaluate a third dose at least two months after the second dose of the two-dose series in this age group of children.

The FDA ultimately decided that “additional time regarding a third dose should be considered,” and postponed the advisory committee meeting until further data was available. 

Read full MedPage Today Article here

Read Pfizer’s statement here

Read additional LDA articles on COVID vaccines here

Borrelia miyamotoi in the US

CDC Figure. Borrelia miyamotoi positivity rates in human-biting Ixodes scapularis and I. pacificus ticks, United States, 2013–2019. Gray shading indicates states in which B. miyamotoi was detected in human-biting ticks.

In a recent article published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), authors detected Borrelia miyamotoi in ticks from 19 states in the US. Investigators tested 39,198 ticks for B. miyamotoi that were submitted to the public tick testing program at the University of Massachusetts during May 2013–December 2019. All ticks tested were found on humans.

In Oregon and California, B. miyamotoi was found in Ixodes pacificus ticks. Throughout the Northeastern and Midwestern US, B. miyamotoi was detected in Ixodes scapularis ticks. No ticks carrying B. miyamotoi were detected south of Virginia. It was also found that Lyme disease bacterium was 19 times more prevalent than B. miyamotoi in the I. scapularis ticks. Of note, almost 60% of B. miyamotoi–positive I. scapularis ticks had concurrent infections.

Read the full article here

Read additional LDA articles on B. miyamotoi here