New Tickborne Disease Discovered in Humans

Posted on May 11, 2015 16:01

Tickborne diseases are a major public health issue worldwide, and new study has discovered a new disease in north China infecting humans and animals.

Ticks are small arthropods, some of which are known to carry bacteria and viruses that can enter the bloodstream of the animals or humans that they bite. The CDC has identified at least 14 types of tickborne diseases in the US alone.

This new disease was discovered by Chinese and US researchers, who said that it could be a substantial threat to animals as well as humans. The new pathogen, a bacterium, has been named Anaplasma capra, with ‘capra’ being latin for ‘goat’ since the bacterium is seeminly more commonly found in goats.

This bacterium is related to other bacteria in the Anaplasma group, some of which also cause tickborne diseases in humans. The researchers, however, noted that they are not sure how widespread this pathogen and the tick carrying it is, and whether they bit animals other than goats.

J. Stephen Dumler, a professor of pathology at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, Baltimore, was a co-author of the study. He said, “This is an entirely new species of bacteria. This had never been seen in humans before. We still have a lot to learn about this species, but it may be that this bacteria is infecting humans over a wide area.”

The study also involved researchers from China’s Shanghai Jiaotong University, Mudanjiang Forestry Central Hospital and Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology. A total of 477 patients from northeast China were tested in the spring of 2014. They were all bitten by a tick in the spring of the year.

On analysis, it was found that six percent of the patients were infected with the newly discovered bacteria.

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