Tick Borne Infectious Diseases And Diagnosis Biology Essay

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Human and animal diseases are ever in the increase. Despite the massive development in technologies aimed at preventing and managing diseases, the crisis has been in the rise. In particular, animal diseases have been a great menace to the human society. A wide range of diseases, particularly tick-borne diseases have been in the rise. Tick-borne diseases are illnesses, which are transmitted by ticks. Tick-borne diseases have been in the increase due to the changing trade by people building homes in uninhabited wilderness areas. There are many causes of tick-borne disease including bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Tick-borne disease affected humans through tick bites especially during summer and spring. It is necessary for health professionals to differentiate the overlapping and diverse clinical of tick-borne diseases. Generally, there exists no specific laboratory test for rapidly diagnosing tick-borne diseases. Due to the seriousness of tick-borne diseases, antibiotic treatments are often used based on clinical presentation (Cunha, 2000). This research paper will analyse and discuss the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and prognosis of tick borne infections including Lyme disease, canine Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Canine Bartonellosis.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is one of the common infections spread by tick-bites. This is a bacteria infection which is commonly spread by the bite of a blacklegged tick. The symptoms of Lyme disease are diverse and begin weeks or days after infection. The symptoms are similar to flu and include chills, fever, body-wide itching, headache, general ill-feeling, stiff neck, muscle pain, and light-headaches or fainting. A bull’s eye rash or a slightly raised red spot in the place of the tick bite may also occur. Other symptoms at later stages of Lyme disease include paralysis, muscle pain, heart problems, speech problems, muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal muscle movement (Monroe, 2001).

Diagnosis of Lyme disease is done clinically based on the symptoms, history of possible exposure, and objective physical findings. Serological blood tests are also conducted in the diagnosis of Lyme disease. In the process of diagnosing Lyme disease, healthcare providers should consider the presence of other diseases which may contribute to similar illness. This is because not all patients suffering from Lyme disease develop similar characteristics. Early diagnosis should be considered since late-stage diagnosis of the disease is complicated by nonspecific symptoms as well as multifaceted appearance (Monroe, 2001).

Lyme disease can be treated by a single dose of antibiotics. This should be offered soon after the individual is bitten by a tick. The treatment of Lyme disease should be considered after the diagnosis and thorough review of the symptoms. In regards to prevention of Lyme disease, protective clothing should be used. This includes long-sleeved shirts, hat, and trousers which are tucked into boots or socks. Wearing of light-colored clothing is also recommended since it makes the tick more visible. Care should also be considered in handling and allowing outdoor pets in the homes. This is because they can likely bring ticks homes (Monroe, 2001).

In the event of early diagnosis of Lyme disease, cure of the disease can be attained through antibiotics. It is also notable that without adequate treatment, complications of the heart, joints, and nervous system can easily occur. Nevertheless, these symptoms can still be treated. The chances of people staying with symptom, which affects daily life after treatment of the antibiotics, are low. This is referred to as post-Lyme disease syndrome, whose cause is unknown (Monroe, 2001).

Canine Ehrlichiosis

Canine ehrlichiosis is a common tick-borne disease which affects dogs. This disease is caused by an organism, ehrlichia canis which is a pathogen of animals. This organism can also affect humans among other species after tick exposure. Primarily, this disease usually affects dogs, whereby other breeds like cats and humans have milder clinical signs. The acute stage of the disease begins one to three weeks of infection and continues for two to four weeks. Some of the clinical signs of Canine ehrichiosis disease include petechiae, fever, vasculitis, bleeding disorders, discharge from nose, lymphadenopathy, and edema of scrotum and legs. In humans, the disease is not transmitted by dogs but rather by ticks, and demonstrates the following signs, eye pain, headache, fever, and gastrointestinal upset (Schaer, 2009).

The diagnosis of canine ehrichiosis is attained through serologic testing of blood. This is aimed at identifying the presence of antibodies which may be fighting against ehrlichia organism. Veterinarians usually test for ehrichiosis disease in enzootic areas. In case of acute infection, tests for the disease can falsely be negative since the body has no adequate time for making antibodies for the infection. In this case, the test should be repeated for accuracy. In order to acquire accurate results in the diagnosis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test should be executed so as to detect genetic composition of the bacteria. It is also worth noting that blood tests may demonstrate abnormalities in the numbers of white blood cells, red blood cells, and in the platelets in the presence of the disease. Diagnosis can also be made by looking through a microscope (Schaer, 2009).

Treatment of canine ehrichiosis entails supportive care to the animals which show clinical signs. In other cases, subcutaneous as well as intravenous fluids should also be given to the dehydrated animals as well as severely anaemic dogs which require blood transfusion. The treatment requires antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline. Prevention of the disease calls for tick control. Since ehrichiosis is tick-borne, control of ticks is the most effective approach of prevention. Provision of lower dose of tetracycline for 200 days in the tick season can also help prevent the disease (Schaer, 2009).

Prognosis of canine ehrichiosis is essential for affected dogs with acute levels of the disease. This is essential for affected dogs which have reached a chronic level of the disease. It is notable that the prognosis of ehrichiosis is guarded. The suppression of bone marrow as well as low blood cells level may lead to none response of the affected animal to treatment (Schaer, 2009).

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is one of the most lethal and frequently reported rickettsial illnesses across the United States. This disease has been diagnosed across the US. Being one of the tick-borne diseases, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is serious illness with clinicians and veterinarians should focus on. This disease is cause by a species of bacterium called rickettsia ricjettsii. Some of the initial symptoms and signs of the disease include headache, fever, and muscle pain. The diagnosis of the disease may be difficult at early stages and is appropriate or prompt treatment is undertaken the disease may be fatal (Walker Et al, 2009).

The diagnosis of Rocky Mountain spotted fever entails evaluation of the symptoms and signs. The process of diagnosis is complex and even experienced physicians find it difficult to detect the disease. An incubation period of one week is required to detect the disease for people after the tick bite. There is no specific early clinical presentation for the disease since it may resemble different types of infectious as well as non-infectious diseases. The treatment of the disease requires appropriate antibiotic. The treatment should also be started early after diagnosis. A point of concern is that treatment should not be delayed awaiting laboratory confirmation. The healing process may be long for severely ill people. Prevention of the disease calls for adequate tick control. This will help in eliminating possible infections and transmission of the disease (Walker Et al, 2009).

Canine Bartonellosis

Canine Bartonellosis is a common infectious bacteria disease affecting dogs. This disease is caused by gram-negative bacteria which affect humans as well as cats. Infection of canine bartonellosis among humans is referred to as cat scratch disease. This does not necessarily mean the infection results from cat’s bite or scratch. The disease is transmitted to dogs through sand flies, ticks, lice, and fleas. Hunting and herding dogs are highly vulnerable to the disease to the high levels of exposure. A key element of the disease is that its clinical symptoms are similar in both humans and dogs. There are diverse symptoms of canine bartonellosis which include malaise, shivering, chills, lack of appetite, red papule, pain in muscles, nausea, hepatitis, inflammation of conjunctiva, arthritis, vomiting, fever, lameness, and altered brain functions (Shaw and Day, 2005).

Diagnosis of canine bartonellosis entails explicit analysis of the symptoms of infection. A complete examination should also be conducted. This includes laboratory blood tests, urinalysis, and biochemistry. Some of the elements to look for in the tests include abnormalities like decreased number of platelets, leukocytosis, and anaemia. Treatment of canine bartonella in humans calls for cleansing and disinfecting the scratched or bitten site. In regard to painful lymph nodes or swollen nodes, the lymph nodes should be aspirated so as to remove the excess pus. This is a minor illness which is common to flu. The time of healing depends on the level of infection, whereby acute cases may take up to months to heal (Shaw and Day, 2005).

The best prevention method of canine bartonella is protection of dog. The dogs should be protected from exposure to ticks, fleas, lice, or sand flies. The prognosis of the disease among dogs is highly dependent and variable based on clinical presentation. After initial treatment of the disease, the dog should be monitored to highlight recurrence of clinical symptoms (Shaw and Day, 2005).


From the study, it has been demonstrated that tick-borne disease are in the rise. Tick-borne diseases have risen to be a serious problem, which should be taken with great concern. Tick-borne diseases are diverse and each has different diagnosis, treatment, prevention and prognosis orientation. It is necessary for individuals and more so, veterinary clinicians to step up their campaign against this health problem.