Tick-Borne Diseases on the Rise

Deer tick seen under a microscope at Mayo Clinic's parasitology laboratory.
Deer tick seen under a microscope at Mayo Clinic's parasitology laboratory.

Historically, only certain pockets of the United States posed a risk for tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

However, as the geographic range of ticks expands, large areas of the population are now at risk. An example of this expanding risk can be found in Pittsburgh.

According to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Allegheny Health Network began seeing an increase in tick-borne illnesses beginning in 2011, with those numbers increasing ever since.

In fact, according to the CDC, Pennsylvania’s 4,146 confirmed cases led the country in 2012, the year for which the most recent figures are available. Lyme disease became a reportable disease in Pennsylvania in 1987, according to the state Department of Health. Department spokesman Wes Culp said Lyme disease first appeared in the southeastern part of the state and has been moving westward.

Because of this increased risk, it is important that physicians recognize who to test, when to test, and what test to use. Mayo Medical Laboratories offers a full range of tick-borne disease tests and test panels, in addition to an acute tick-borne disease testing algorithm to help guide appropriate testing.

Kelley Luedke (@kschrib)

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.