With millions of types of bacteria in the world, it is not a surprise to hear about a new Lyme-like pathogen being discovered in the upper Midwestern United States. Last year we reported on the discovery of Borrelia miyamotoi in a patient in New Jersey who was presenting with symptoms similar to Lyme Disease. While the new pathogen we’ll be telling you about today has not been found in Central Massachusetts, it is something to be aware of given our large population of deer ticks.
Borrelia mayonii: New Lyme Pathogen
Like the pathogen that causes Lyme, B. burgdorferi, the newly discovered B. mayonii is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected black-legged tick (deer tick). B. mayonii has been discovered in patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota who were suspected to have Lyme Disease. So far, blood samples from 43 other states have not identified B. mayonii, suggesting “that the distribution of B. mayonii is limited to the upper Midwest.”
Symptoms of B. mayonii
B. mayonii presents with very similar symptoms as Lyme Disease including fever, headache, rash and neck pain. The key difference with B. mayonii is the onset of nausea and vomiting as well as the potential for a diffuse rash rather than a “bulls-eye” rash normally associated with Lyme Disease. There has also been a higher concentration of B. mayonii in the blood of infected patients versus those infected with Lyme Disease (B. burgdorferi).
Treatment of B. mayonii
So far, the patients infected with B. mayonii have been successfully treated with the same antibiotic treatment prescribed for Lyme Disease infections. The CDC and the state health departments of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin are working together to learn more about B. mayonii to be able to present better clinical information about the infection.
While B. mayonii does not prove to be an immediate threat to the Central Massachusetts area, we are committed to providing you the best most up-to-date information on the threat of tick-borne diseases. Stay tuned for the latest on ticks in the area. Be sure to follow the 6 C’s of tick control to make certain your yard is not inadvertently attracting ticks.