Ticks in the News

News items, stories and information about ticks from around the region and beyond.

First Multiplex Test for Tick-Borne Diseases

Feb. 16 2018

A new blood test called the Tick-Borne Disease Serochip (TBD Serochip) promises to revolutionize the diagnosis of tick-borne disease by offering a single test to identify and distinguish between Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease, and seven other tick-borne pathogens.

Case of Bourbon virus, rare tick disease, is confirmed in Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Here's a warning about a rare, potentially deadly virus that is transmitted by ticks. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirms it is aware of a case of Bourbon virus in the state.  


Powassan Virus Spreads In Ticks Along Maine Coast

May 2017 - Two Midcoast Main residents contract serious tick-borne virus

AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that two Midcoast adults contracted Powassan Encephalitis.

Both cases were reported to the CDC last week. In the two cases, the individuals became ill in late April and were hospitalized. The cases were confirmed through testing at CDC's center in Fort Collins, Colo. Both individuals were released from the hospital and are recovering.

Trends in Tickborne Diseases

2016 joint HHS webinar

Powassan virus case in Southern NH

This article first appeared on WMUR News 9 as reported by Adam Sexton on wmur.com 

CONCORD, N.H. - Two viruses that have never been seen in New Hampshire before have shown up in the same person. The Department of Health and Human Services said a man from Hillsborough County has tested positive for both the Jamestown Canyon virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and the Powassan virus, which is carried by ticks.

Public health director Dr. Jose Montero said both viruses have been around the United States for a while, and the Powassan virus has been found in Maine and Vermont, so the New Hampshire case is not a surprise.

He said residents should take the same precautions they use to prevent other mosquito and tick viruses, including wearing effective insect repellent and doing regular tick checks.

Read more on WMUR News 9 or in the Nashua Telegraph

Confirmed case of potentially fatal tick borne virus in Saratoga County NY

This article was written and reported by Lindsay Nielsen, Reporter at NEWS10 ALBANY

SARATOGA, N.Y. - A study conducted in part by researchers at the Wadsworth Center in Slingerlands revealed that a potentially deadly tick borne virus has been found in people in Saratoga and Albany County.

The New York State Department of Health and the Saratoga County Health Department says there was one confirmed case of the deer tick virus, also known as Powassan virus, in May of this year in Saratoga County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control its one of the 16 confirmed cases in New York State. According to the CDC it did kill a patient in Minnesota taken care of by Dr. Justin Birge.

"So brain swelling from the virus was what caused her death and it led to respiratory failure and coma," said Dr. Birge.

Dr Birge says the tick borne illness can be hard to diagnose because its beginning symptoms are similar to the flu, but severe symptoms are more noticeable.

"Certainly something like altered level of consciousness, being very sleepy,"said Dr. Birge.

Dr. Birge says someone infected may not have symptoms until two weeks later, and testing for the virus is difficult. Perhaps the most troubling part of the deer tick virus is the lack of a cure.

"In terms of treating the viral infection in itself there's no treatment," said Dr. Birge.

Dr. Laura Kramer with the Wadsworth Center tells NEWS10 that one person has died from this virus. She says the person died within 8 months of severe symptoms.

Symptoms people face after contracting Powassan virus include drowsiness, lethargy, headache and fever.

Dr. Kramer says the virus ultimately leads to death in about 10 to 30 percent of the cases.

She says the virus is transmitted at a rapid rate, about 15 minutes, as compared to Lyme disease which is transmitted in about two days.

Researchers at the Wadsworth Center found that the amount of ticks with this deadly virus are increasing, and if someone has been bitten by a deer tick, there is a one in 20 chance that it has the fatal illness. They have been found in Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties.

The Albany County Health Department says there was one confirmed case in the county in 2004.

Read more on News10 ABC in Albany NY

Lone Star Ticks Moving West on Long Island

NBC Channel 4 News in New York reports that the lone star tick, found for decades mainly on Long Island's East End, has been moving west into more populated Suffolk County communities, according to a county health official. Read more here.

Heartland virus found in Lone Star ticks

Amblyomma americanum tick

As reported in MedPage Today, the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, appears to be the source of the novel virus that hospitalized two Missouri men in 2009, researchers reported. 

A sample of ticks collected last year from the farms of the two men and a nearby site had the so-called Heartland virus, or HRTV, according to Harry Savage, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues.

Read more about the original study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene:
First Detection of Heartland Virus (Bunyaviridae: Phlebovirus) from Field Collected Arthropods

Further commentary about this same case found on NPR here.

Rare tick intercepted at Port of Charleston

  from WCSC Television Charleston SC


Agents with the United States Customs and Border Patrol say they recently stumbled upon a historical discovery while investigating a beetle infestation at the Port of Charleston.

According to CBP officials, an investigation into previous Khapra Beetle infestations resulted in the discovery of a rare “soft tick” known to be prevalent in Africa, southern Europe, in the Middle East, and across south-central Asia.

Spokesman Stephen Switzer said it all started when a shipment of work gloves from Pakistan was held for agriculture inspection due to previous Khapra Beetle infestations. This time, however, examination of the shipment determined that it was actually free from beetles.

However, upon further inspection, a CBP agriculture specialist saw something on the exterior of the shipping carton. The adult tick, approximately one quarter inch in size, was collected for identification. A few days later, after traveling to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, the specimen was identified as “Argasidae,” a family of ticks containing the “soft ticks.”

According to the laboratory’s entomologist, “This species of tick is a bird parasite that occurs widely in Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and across south-central Asia. Pigeons are the primary hosts for this tick, but it also feeds on domestic fowl and a limited variety of wild birds. Information about the disease relationships of this genus are limited, however, West Nile Virus has been found in this tick, and it may be an overwintering vector of that virus in the Middle East. Soft ticks, especially Argas, only rarely are imported in commerce, and we even more rarely see them for identification.”

This is considered by the USDA to be a first-time interception of this tick in a maritime port in the United States.

Because of this significant interception, action was required by CBP to eliminate the risk of introduction of this species in the United States. Exportation of the infested shipment has been ordered.

Copyright 2013 WCSC.  All rights reserved.

Winter ticks negatively impact NH moose population


Photo Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

April 1, 2013   CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire's moose population is declining, especially in the White Mountains and the central region, according the head of the state's Moose Project, Kristine Rines. Shorter and warmer winters, linked to global climate change, are being blamed. 

In late winter, ticks feed on the blood supply of host moose. In April, they begin to fall off, and if there is snow on the ground this month, they will die. However, shorter winters have boosted the winter tick population, and that is killing off moose at an alarming rate, as well as lowering cow weights. Read more here

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