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Microbiology and Infectious Disease

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Vector-Borne Diseases

Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-Borne Diseases

Expanding Geographic Range Increases Importance of Testing

In the United States, major tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Historically, only certain pockets of the United States posed a risk for tick-borne disease. However, the geographic range of ticks has expanded and large areas of the population are now at risk. Because of this increased risk, it is important that physicians recognize who to test, when to test, and what test to use.

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Ehrlichia – New Species Identified

Tick

Mayo Medical Laboratories has detected a new pathogenic Ehrlichia species. Analysis at Mayo Clinic and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown this species to be closely related to Ehrlichia muris, a species not previously reported in North America. Detection of this new Ehrlichia species is the subject of an article authored by Bobbi S. Pritt, MD and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Malaria – Five Species Detected

Female Anopheles albimanus mosquito. Image provided by the CDC, James Ganathy, photographer.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites in the genus Plasmodium. Human malaria is generally attributed to four primary species. However, a fifth species, Plasmodium knowlesi, is now recognized as responsible for up to 75% of malaria infections in some areas. Mayo Clinic’s Malaria Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test can detect and differentiate Plasmodium knowlesi, which is often misidentified by blood smear morphology as Plasmodium malariae, a less virulent species.

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Vector-Borne Disease Tests

The following tests aid in the diagnosis of vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, mites and insects.

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