Scientists have discovered a new illness similar to Lyme disease, spread by ticks and resistant to antibiotics – raising fears about growing numbers of people succumbing to debilitating symptoms. Like Lyme disease, the new disease causes headache, fatigue and muscle aches, along with a recurrent fever which returns despite initially appearing to have been cured. The new illness, which has yet to be named, is carried by bacteria called Borrelia miyamotoi, which is feared to be less responsive to antibiotic treatment than other tick-borne diseases.
It can now be revealed that Borrelia miyamotoi has been found to be present in ticks in the UK by researchers at the Public Health Lab, in Porton Down, Wiltshire. The bacterium was found in 3 of 954 ticks tested at various sites across southern England and analysed by the team last year. As yet there have been no reports of the disease being spread to humans in the UK, but it has infected people in the United States, with 18 patients diagnosed with the disease in 2013. FULL REPORT