Everyone worries and talks about Lyme disease on the east coast of the U.S., but it appears that they should be worrying about multiple infections (including Lyme disease) when bitten by a tick. From Science Daily:
People who get bitten by a blacklegged tick have a higher-than-expected chance of being exposed to more than one pathogen at the same time.
"We found that ticks are almost twice as likely to be infected with two pathogens -- the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and the protozoan that causes babesiosis -- than we would have expected," said Felicia Keesing, a professor of biology at Bard College, Adjunct Scientist at the Cary Institute, and co-author of the paper. "That means health care providers and the public need to be particularly alert to the possibility of multiple infections coming from the same tick bite."
Almost 30 percent of the ticks were infected with the agent of Lyme disease. One-third of these were also infected with at least one other pathogen. The agents of Lyme disease and babesiosis were found together in 7 percent of ticks.
"Mice and chipmunks are critical reservoirs for these two pathogens, so ticks that have fed on these animals are much more likely to be co-infected," ...
Not only was co-infection with the agents of Lyme disease and babesiosis greater than expected, but rates of triple infection with the agents of Lyme, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis were about twice as likely as expected. "People in tick-infested parts of the United States such as the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper Midwest, are vulnerable to being exposed to two or three diseases from a single tick bite," said Keesing. "And, of course, that risk increases when they're bitten by more than one tick."