Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever


Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is a bacterial infection and is known for recurring symptoms.  The two types of recurring fevers are Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) and Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF).

TBRF is most common in the western United States in mountainous areas. LBRF is more common to refugee areas in the world.

These relapsing fevers are caused by bacterium species borellia, hermsii, borellia parkerii, or borellia turicatae. Humans are infected by the bite of a tick, more commonly at night. Ticks will feed for up to 30 minutes on the body before falling off. Often times, people are unaware they have been bitten because the bite is usually painless.

Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is characterized by recurring fever and can include other symptoms like headache, muscle and joint pain, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. These symptoms tend to occur about a week after being bitten. Relapse is usually about 3 times but has been known to have as many as 10 among patients that go untreated.

Blood tests can determine if the Tick-borne Relapsing Fever bacteria is present. Antibiotics will help symptoms go away faster and usually last about 7 days.

Avoid rodents and other animals common for carrying the disease. Homes and cabins should be rodent proof and professionals should be called to remove any rodent or tick infestation.  Cabins in heavily wooded areas are especially at risk.

Be cautious handling small animals like rodents, squirrels, rats, rabbits, chipmunks, and mice. Ticks will feed on these warm-blooded animals and consequently infect them with the bacteria.
Other Facts

Ticks will feed on any warm-blooded animal including humans. The presence of bacteria tends to be higher in women that are pregnant and can lead to a worse infection.