New tick-borne disease discovered in Gothenburg

December 6, 2011

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have discovered a brand new tick-borne infection. Since the discovery, eight cases have been described around the world, three of them in the Gothenburg area, Sweden.

In July 2009 a 77-year-old man from western Sweden was out kayaking when he went down with acute diarrhea, fever and temporary . He was taken to hospital where it was found that he was also suffering with (DVT). Following treatment with antibiotics, he was discharged some days later with an to thin his blood. However, the man – who had an impaired immune system – went down with a fever again.

Brand new infection

Over the following months the 77-year-old was admitted as an emergency case on several occasions, but despite repeated attempts to find a microbe, and repeated doses of antibiotics, the fever returned. Finally the patient's blood underwent special analysis to look for bacterial DNA – and that produced results. The findings matched a bacterium in an online gene bank and the results were a sensation: the man had contracted a brand new in humans which had never been described in the world before.

Never before seen in Sweden

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have discovered a brand new tick-borne infection. Since the discovery, eight cases have been described around the world, three of them in the Gothenburg area, Sweden.

The man's blood contained DNA that derived with 100% certainty from the bacterium Neoehrlichia mikurensis. This bacterium was identified for the first time in Japan in 2004 in rats and ticks but had never before been seen in Sweden in ticks, rodents or humans.

Research published

Christine Wennerås, a doctor and researcher at the Department of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Haematology and Coagulation at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy, has been studying the case since it first came to light. Last year she was able, for the first time, to describe the newly discovered disease in a scientific article published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. "Since our discovery the bacterium has been reported in eight cases around the world, three of them in Gothenburg," says Wennerås.

Causes DVT

All three of the Gothenburg cases involved patients with an impaired immune system, all of whom became ill during the summer months when ticks are most active.

"The nasty thing about this infection is that it causes DVT, at least in people with an impaired ," says Wennerås. "This can be life-threatening. Fortunately, the infection can be treated successfully with .

Spreads from mammals

"If the newly discovered is similar to those we already know, it has presumably spread from wild mammals to people via ticks, and it is unlikely that it can be passed on from person to person."

The mikurensis in the bacterium's name comes from the Japanese island of Mikura, where it was first discovered.

Explore further: New tick-borne disease discovered

Related Stories

New tick-borne disease discovered

September 20, 2011
(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 ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

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.