Tick-borne Diseases

Ticks are most active in the warmer months of spring and summer and can transmit a variety of diseases, including:

  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Spotted fever rickettsiosis
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever
  • Tularemia

Clinical signs and symptoms of anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are non-specific and typically include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

Lyme disease, the most frequently diagnosed tick-borne illness in the United States, is not commonly acquired in Texas (Texas is considered a low incidence state for Lyme disease). Infection may cause skin lesions or rash, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, and, in some cases, if left untreated, severe damage to the joints, heart, and nervous system. 

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, one of several related diseases known as spotted fever group rickettsioses, is typically characterized by fever and a measles-like rash and can cause serious illness and even death if not treated quickly. 

Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), which is often associated with cave exploration or sleeping in rustic cabins, can cause recurring bouts of fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and nausea. Lyme disease and TBRF symptoms can be very similar, and TBRF patients may test positive for Lyme disease.

Signs and symptoms of tularemia can vary widely depending on the route of exposure, but typically they are non-specific and may include fever, malaise, skin lesions, and swollen lymph nodes. Tularemia can also be transmitted directly through handling infected animals, particularly wild rabbits and rodents, or through exposure to mud or water containing the bacteria.

For information on ticks, tick attachment, and tick bites, contact your Regional Zoonosis Control office or email The.Vet@dshs.texas.gov.

Mailing Address

Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology Section
Mail Code: 3082
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347
United States

Physical Address

Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology Section
Moreton Building, Suite M-631
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199
United States