In the United States, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause human disease. Click here for a listing of diseases.
Many tickborne diseases can have similar signs and symptoms. If you have been bitten by a tick and develop the symptoms below within a few weeks, a health care provider should evaluate the following before deciding on a course of treatment:
•The geographic region in which you were bitten
•Diagnostic tests, if indicated by the symptoms and the region where you were bitten
The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are: Fever/chills, aches and pain, fatigue, headache, and joint pain. A rash can also be present. Lyme disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia can result in distinctive rashes: ◦In Lyme disease, the rash may appear within 3-30 days, typically before the onset of fever. The Lyme disease rash is the first sign of infection and is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans (EM). This rash occurs in approximately 70-80% of infected persons and begins at the site of a tick bite.
Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms described.