Tickborne Diseases

If you think you may be sick from a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible after you start to feel sick.

What diseases and illnesses are caused by ticks?

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and spread to humans by the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick.

For more information see Lyme Disease.

Alpha-Gal Syndrome (Red Meat Allergy)

Acquired red meat allergy is an allergy to certain types of meat caused by the bite of a lone star tick. The allergy involves a carbohydrate known as Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (also known as Alpha-gal). This carbohydrate is found in mammalian meat (i.e., red meat) products such as beef, pork, venison, and lamb. In some people, the allergy is limited only to beef or other meats that have a high fat content. Alpha-gal is also found in protein powder, dairy products, gelatin and the cancer drug Cetuximab; allergy to these products has also been reported.

For more information about Alpha-Gal Syndrome, please visit: Alpha-gal Syndrome | Ticks | CDC

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Rickettsia rickettsii is a tick-borne bacterial disease belonging in the Spotted fever Rickettsial group (SFR).

For more information see Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis.


Two rickettsial bacteria species of ehrlichiosis are currently known to infect humans and cause illness; Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii.

For more information see Ehrlichiosis.


Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterial agent Anaplasma phagocytophilum and is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected black-legged (Ixodes scapularis) tick.

For more information see Anaplasmosis.


Babesiosis is caused by a couple different parasites of the Babesia genus. There is Babesia divergens and Babesia duncani, but their vectors are not found here in Virginia and should not be considered as a cause of illness unless the individual has had recent relevent travel. The causative agent and culprit in Virginia Babesia cases is Babesia microti.

For more information see Babesiosis.

Rickettsia Parkeri

Rickettsia parkeri is a tick-borne bacterial disease belonging to the Spotted Fever Rickettsial group (SFR).

For more information see Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis.


Francisella tularensis is the bacterial pathogen that causes Tularemia. While rare in natural occurrence, Tularemia is of major public health concern and is listed as a category A bioterrorism agent for its historic role in biological weapon research.

For more information see Tularemia.


Heartland virus, first identified in Missouri in 2009, has been described as a phlebovirus that can infect humans after the bite of an infected Lone Star tick.

Powassan Virus

Powassan Virus (POW) is a flavivirus that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick.


Bourbon virus

Bourbon virus is a novel condition first detected in 2014. Research on this virus is still ongoing but it is believed to be a severe, tick-borne illness with a similar transmission cycle to Heartland virus.

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