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Ticks and Associated Disease

Division of Epidemiology
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY  40621
502-564-3418 or 3261

Tick-borne Diseases Ehrlichiosis HME

Presenting symptoms of fever, malaise and headache are accompanied by chills, myalgia, nausea, and anorexia in many patients. Even though the symptoms are non-specific on the onset HME can be a life-threatening illness. Patients often have thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, and anemia, with 40 to 62% requiring hospitalization.


A new tick borne illness that causes a similar rash to Lyme disease has recently been described in southeastern and south-central states. This illness named Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) is associated with the bite of A. americanum, the lone star tick. All life stages of the lone star tick aggressively bite people. Current research indicates the organism involved is a spirochete, which has been given the name Borrelia lonestari.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Symptoms for RMSF patients are nonspecific, including sudden onset of high fever, with nausea, vomiting, malaise, headache, and muscle pain. The characteristic maculopapular rash usually appears on the 3rd to the 5th day, beginning on the extremities including the soles and palms. Prompt treatment usually prevents complications and fatalities, however 3% to 5% of RMSF patients still die from the infection.
Tularemia - The symptoms that develop depend on the entry of the organism into the body. The most common presentation from a tick, fly or mosquito bite is an ulcer at the site and regional swelling of lymph nodes. Ingestion produces gastrointestinal problems and inhalation produces pneumonia or primary septicemia. Pneumonia may complicate the illness from any mode of entry. 

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease often presents with a “bull’s eye rash” or erythema migrans, a fever, malaise, fatigue, headache and other non-specific symptoms. Disseminated infection may involve the neurologic, musculoskeletal or cardiac systems with both early and late manifestations. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), which is not confirmed to be in KY. Babesiosis - a tick-borne protozoa infection that should be reported as an unusual occurrence in Kentucky


Last Updated 1/8/2008