In 1989, 719 cases of Lyme disease were reported to the CDC from the state of Georgia. The CDC has determined that for every case of Lyme disease reported approximately ten are missed, bringing the actual number of people infected that year to 7,190 cases. In the 1990’s, the Georgia Public Health Laboratory changed the cut-off for serologic positivity. While the number of Lyme cases rose steadily across the United States during the next decade, Georgia’s Lyme disease cases declined sharply, and in 1999 the total number of reported cases had dropped from over 7,000 actual cases annually, to zero reported cases. In 2007, there were 11 reported cases to CDC.

Excerpts from Studies “These serological results suggest that B. burgdorferi is present throughout Georgia and has been endemic in the state in for at least 20 years [1991].” Lyme Disease and Georgia White-Tailed Deer SCWDS Briefs, July 1991

“The medical threat to the military and civilian population on Fort Gordon is greatly increased during the warm weather months when ticks are most active.” Department of the Army, U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Activity, South Fort McPherson, Georgia.

“Cultures from 1 patient (4%) yielded spirochetes, characterized as Borrelia garinii, a European strain not known to occur in the United States; 3 patients (13%) demonstrated spirochetallike forms on special histologic stains; 5 patients (22%) had positive polymerase chain reaction findings with primers for flagellin DNA sequences; and 2 patients (9%) were seropositive for B burgdorferi infection using recommended 2-step CDC methods.” Solitary erythema migrans in Georgia and South Carolina, Felz, et al. Archives of Dermatology. 135(11):1317-26, 1999 Nov.

“Subsequently, SCWDS researchers received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for further studies on the roles of deer and other wildlife regarding E. chaffeensis [Ehrlichiosis] and demonstrated that deer and lone star ticks are the principal reservoir host and vector of E. chaffeensis. During these studies, deer from coastal Georgia were shown to also harbor the HGE agent and, based on molecular (16s DNA) evidence, an unknown species of Ehrlichia was found to be common in deer from many states in the Southeast. DNA from this “deer Ehrlichia” also was demonstrated in lone star ticks.” NIH/SCWDS Ehrlichiosis Study, SCWDS Briefs, July 2000.

“Cases consistent with STARI have been reported from several southeastern and south-central states, including Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The majority of patients with STARI do not have laboratory evidence of infection with B. burgdorferi. [Lyme disease]” Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI) SCWDS Briefs, Jan 2003, Vol.18, No.4

“Over half of Rocky Mountain spotted fever infections are reported from the south-Atlantic region of the United States (Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida).” Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

“In addition to the irritation of uncomplicated tick bites, the list of human illnesses that can be acquired via tick bites is impressive. It includes: 1) tick paralysis caused by neurotoxins secreted by feeding ticks, especially adult ticks in the genera Dermacentor, Amblyomma, and Ixodes; 2) Rocky Mountain spotted fever, transmitted in this region mainly by the common American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis); 3) human monocytic ehrlichiosis, transmitted by the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum); 4) human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, transmitted by the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis); and 5) Lyme disease, also transmitted by the black-legged tick. Considering this list, it is not surprising that another tick-borne illness has been identified in the southeastern United States. The Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coined the term “Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness” or “STARI” for this newly recognized disease.” New Tick-borne Disease in the South SCWDS Briefs, January 2000.


Georgia Vector and Tick Borne Diseases

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Lyme disease Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis Borrelia lonestari– Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI)

Anaplasma phagocytophilum– Human Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA)

Babesia microti


Canine Babesiosis

Canine Ehrlichiosis

Cytauxzoon felis

Ehrlichia chaffeensis– Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis (HME)

Ehrlichia ewingii

Query Fever

Rickettsia parkeri


Georgia Tick Vectors-Pathogens

American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) Black-legged Tick or ³Deer Tick² (Ixodes scapularis) Amblyomma americanum- Lone Star tick Borrelia lonestari*- Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI) not proven to be the responsible pathogen Ehrlichia chaffeensis- Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis (HME) Ehrlichia ewingii Tularemia

Ixodes Dermacentor variabilis- American Dog tick or Wood tick Ehrlichia chaffeensis- Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis (HME) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Tularemia

Ixodes scapularis (formerly Ixodes dammini)– Black-legged tick or Deer tick Anaplasma phagocytophilum- Human Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA) Babesia microti Borrelia burgdorferi- Lyme disease


Amblyomma maculatum- Gulf Coast tick Rickettsia parkeri

Argasidae Carios capensis- Seabird tick

Ixodes cookei- Groundhog tick or Woodchuck tick

Ixodes texanus- Raccoon tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus- Brown Dog tick Canine Babesiosis Canine Ehrlichiosis