This March 2014 CDC report shows a high incidence of tick borne pathogens causing including the usual Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease and also a relatively new B. miyamotoi, which causes a similar syndrome and relapsing fever. B. miyamotoi has also been found in the Midwest and East Coast U.S. This CDC report warns that about 6% have either burgdorferi or miyamotoi and that Lyme disease may be underidentified and underreported.
Lyme disease still is identified relatively commonly throughout Northern California
Ticks carrying the Lyme-causing agent have been found in every county in California. But in many areas of Northern California and the Bay Area, the pathogens are found in fewer than 3 percent of ticks, compared with up to 35 percent in the Northeastern states.
In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 300,000 Americans are infected each year with Lyme disease, a figure that’s about 10 times higher than reporting suggests.
The early signs of the disease – fever, headache, fatigue – are often mistaken for the flu. Left untreated, Lyme disease can progress to more serious symptoms such as joint swelling, numbness, muscle weakness, heart problems and cognitive difficulties.
One of the most definitive signs of the disease – a target-shaped rash around the tick bite – is relatively uncommon.
Current diagnostic tests for Borrelia burgdorferi are often inaccurate, in part because they check for antibodies that may not develop until after the test is conducted. If patients are treated with antibiotics before the test, that may also obscure the results of the test. Also, ticks can carry other infections that can complicate a diagnosis.
Little is known about the newer Borrelia miyamotoi bacterium, other than it appears to be a cousin to Borrelia burgdorferi and it may cause Lyme-like symptoms.
Lane conducted a study in 2006 that discovered Borrelia miyamotoi in Mendocino County. He noted that various ticks in California carry eight or nine different known pathogens, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and an infection called babesiosis.
Babesiosis is a rare tickborne pathogen Babesia microti that is usually asymptomatic but may cause nonspecific flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue.
Because Babesia parasites infect and destroy red blood cells, babesiosis can cause a special type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and dark urine.
Other complications of babesiosis can include low and unstable blood pressure, thrombocytopenia), disseminated intravascular coagulation, and malfunction of vital organs (such as the kidneys, lungs, and liver)
There is limited testing for miyamotoi and other tick borne like diseases