Mayo Clinic finds new bacteria causing tick-borne illness - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mayo Clinic finds new bacteria causing tick-borne illness


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Along with spending time in the outdoors comes mosquitos, gnats and even ticks. A new study at Mayo Clinic provides information on the latest strain of bacteria from deer ticks that may be making you sick.

The new strain of bacteria called Erlichia is found in ticks and some mice. It infects people with Ehrlichiosis. To date more than 25 people have gotten sick.

Across the nation thousands of deer ticks have been tested for the bacteria, but so far it has only been detected in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Erlichia infect and kill white blood cells in the body, causing fever, body aches, headache and fatigue. However, if the disease persists it can travel to organs including the lungs, kidney and brain rarely does it involve death.

"Tick borne diseases in general are on the rise, that maybe because there are favorable conditions for ticks to multiply. We also know that human activity is changing. People are more likely to go into the woods to do outdoor recreational activities, we also live near wooded areas more commonly," said Bobbi Pritt, M.D., Mayo Clinic Microbiologist.

At this time it's not known how ticks are becoming infected with Erlichia. In order to protect yourself against ticks physicians suggest applying insect repellent and wearing pants as well as a long-sleeve shirt when in the outdoors.



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