New tick-borne disease discovered

September 20, 2011, Yale University

(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. Their findings appear in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

This new disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium called Borrelia miyamotoi, which is distantly related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes . Yale professor of epidemiology Durland Fish and colleagues found this new spirochete, previously known only from ticks in Japan, in in Connecticut in 2001, but did not know if it caused disease in humans.

The bacteria have since been found in all tick species that transmit Lyme disease throughout the United States and Europe. By collaborating with a medical team studying tick-borne diseases in Russia, Yale researchers were able to compare disease symptoms in patients infected by the new spirochete in Russia with those having Lyme disease in the United States.

The new disease is characterized by , which relapses without treatment and may be confused with Lyme disease. There are currently no diagnostic tests available, but Yale researchers have recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a diagnostic test procedure to look for cases of this new disease in the United States.

"This is the first time we will have a chance to identify a new tick-borne disease in the United States based upon evidence that the agent occurs in ticks," said Fish, co-author of the paper and co-investigator on the NIH grant along with Peter Krause, a senior research scientist in the Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases.

They report finding B. miyamotoi in about 2 percent of the deer ticks in the Northeast and Upper Midwest and have been conducting experiments with mice in the laboratory that become infected when fed upon by deer ticks. Because bites from deer ticks cause more than 25,000 cases of Lyme disease each year, according to the CDC, the Yale team is gearing up to determine if there is any illness that is caused by B. miyamotoi infection in the United States.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A new approach to developing a vaccine against vivax malaria

September 21, 2018
A novel study reports an innovative approach for developing a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax, the most prevalent human malaria parasite outside sub-Saharan Africa. The study led by Hernando A. del Portillo and Carmen Fernandez-Becerra, ...

Pre-clinical success for a universal flu vaccine offers hope for third generation approach

September 21, 2018
Researchers from the University of Oxford's Department of Zoology have demonstrated pre-clinical success for a universal flu vaccine in a new paper published in Nature Communications.

Researchers define possible molecular pathway for neurodegeneration in prion diseases

September 21, 2018
A new study has shed light on the mechanisms underlying the progression of prion diseases and identified a potential target for treatment.

Fighting a deadly parasite: Scientists devise a method to store Cryptosporidium, aiding vaccine research efforts

September 21, 2018
In May, just before one of the hottest summers on record, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about diseases lurking in recreational water facilities like swimming pools and water playgrounds. ...

Scientists make significant discovery in the fight against drug-resistant tuberculosis

September 20, 2018
A team of scientists have identified a naturally occurring antibiotic that may help in the fight against drug-resistant Tuberculosis.

Anti-cancer drugs may hold key to overcoming antimalarial drug resistance

September 20, 2018
Scientists have found a way to boost the efficacy of the world's most powerful antimalarial drug with the help of chemotherapy medicines, according to new research published in the journal Nature Communications.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Isaacsname
not rated yet Sep 20, 2011
Just discovered 10 years ago....?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.