A new tick-borne disease-similar to Lyme's disease-has been discovered in Russia and Asia, including China and Japan. This disease, which has never been seen before, has been described as a substantial health threat.
The tick, which is most commonly found on goats, can cause fever, headache and tiredness in anyone who is bitten. Cases that have been identified so far have been successfully treated with antibiotics, and especially doxycycline.
Because it has only recently been discovered, nobody can be sure how many people have been affected, says Dr J Stephen Dumler, a professor of pathology at the University of Maryland school of medicine, who helped make the discovery. He was part of a team that tested 477 patients in north-east China who had been bitten by a tick over one month in the spring of 2014. Of those, 28 had been infected with the new bacteria.
It's thought the taiga tick is responsible for this new disease, a bacterial infection called A capra (from the Latin word for goat). The tick is closely related to the deer tick responsible for Lyme's disease, and is found in Eastern Europe, and across Russia and Asia.
(Source: Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2015; doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)70051-4)