Tick Borne Infections and Common Symptoms

Symptoms of early stage Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia bacteria, with the main strains being B. burgdorferi  in the USA and Europe, and Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii in Europe and Asia.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early-stage Lyme disease symptoms crop up within 3 to 30 days after exposure and can include but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM), a bull’s-eye-shaped rash that appears at the site of the tick bite

Symptoms of late stage Lyme disease

The CDC reports that late stage Lyme disease may appear days to months after the initial tick bite and may include but are not limited to:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes in new places on the body
  • Facial palsy, also known as Bell’s palsy – paralysis of one side of the face
  • Arthritis or joint pain and swelling, especially of large joints (such as the knee)
  • Intermittent tendon, muscle, joint, nerve, or bone pain
  • Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

Symptoms of Tick Borne Relapsing Fever

The transmission of TBRF by hard-bodied ticks is currently only known to be caused by Borrelia miyamotoi.  Common clinical symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • neck stiffness
  • arthralgia
  • myalgia
  • ecchymosis, epistaxis, and petechiae

Other less common, but severe symptoms and complications include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), decreased sensorium, myocarditis, hepatitis, abortion or stillborn, and death.  Recent studies have found that infection by TBRF tends to produce symptoms similar to Lyme disease, including fever, headache, fatigue, chills, myalgia, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea, disorientation or memory loss, lack of coordination, as well as more severe conditions of neurological disease.

Symptoms of early-stage Bartonellosis

The symptoms of Bartonella can vary from mild to severe, and usually begin 5 to 14 days after infection. Common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • poor appetite
  • brain fog
  • muscle pain
  • swollen glands around the head, neck and arms.

Symptoms of late-stage Bartonellosis

Some other symptoms of Bartonellosis include:

  • photophobia
  • tachycardia
  • bowel problems
  • OCD behavior
  • anxiety
  • rapid relapse off of antibiotics
  • psychiatric problems
  • pain behind the eyes

Symptoms of Babesiosis

Flu-like Babesia symptoms usually begin 1-9 weeks after inoculation and are non-specific.  Most patients with Babesia will experience flu-like symptoms, beginning with high fevers and chills. As the infection progresses, patients may experience one or more of the following Babesia symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Myalgia
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath (“air hunger”)
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Depression

Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis Disease

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