The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta report 16 diseases that can be spread by ticks.

Some of these diseases are found in specific regions and some are spread across the United States.

The Newest Tick-Spread Disease

A fairly recently discovered tick-spread disease is not fatal of itself, but it is making life uncomfortable for a lot of people.

Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, known by the shorter name alpha-gal, was first discovered in 2007, making it known to medical science for about eight years It’s not yet getting the same kind of attention as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Alpha-gal is an allergy to a carbohydrate found in mammal meat. It can be life-threatening as Josh Gamblin tells of his battle with this allergy. As best medical science knows, it is directly related to Lone Star tick bites. “The results of our studies strongly suggest that tick bites are a cause, if not the only significant cause, of IgE Ab (an antibody involved in the allergic reaction) responses to alpha-gal in the southern, eastern and central United States. Patients with IgE Ab to alpha-gal continue to emerge and, increasingly, these cases involve children,” states a summary of a research report at the National Institute for Health website.

Since all the available evidence is pointing to the Lone Star tick as the problem, avoiding this tick-bite allergy is pretty easy. Use plenty of insect repellent with DEET-based repellents being the first choice.

Gamblin is a veteran hunter and hunting has put meat on his table for many years, this allergy has really impacted him.

Right now the only treatment is to avoid meats that trigger the allergy. Gamblin says there is anecdotal evidence that the allergy lessens with time.

Details on Tick-Spread Diseases

The good news is most ticks don’t transmit a disease to their host. Most of the illnesses a person can get respond well to antibiotics.

One of the worst tick-transmitted diseases is the bourbon virus. Fortunately, this one is extremely rare with only a handful of cases found in the US so far.

This CDC report takes a look at the most common diseases and how doctors treat them. The report also has a map showing where the diseases are found and which ticks spread them.

Removing a Tick

If you spend much time outdoors in tick-heavy areas one may latch on. If you spend time in the woods, chances are good that sooner or later you will get bitten by a Des Moines tick.

Removing a tick is a pretty simple matter. You just have to be sure to not squeeze the body of the tick. Grab the head as shown in the article pictures. If you are not sure how to do it or can’t do it, get someone who does know how to help. Your local ambulance service can probably do it right in the office and you don’t have to wait in a doctor’s office.

Save the tick. Put it in a plastic bag and freeze it. If you start experiencing any of call your doctor. Take the tick with you in case he wants to have it checked for any of the tick-borne diseases in your area.

Avoiding Ticks

Wear long sleeves and full-length pants when in the woods or areas that are known to be infested with tickets. Spray your clothes with deet. When you get home have someone check you for ticks. If you find a tick that hasn’t latched on, destroy it.


Having problems with ticks? We can help you get rid of them. Just contact us and we’ll tell you what we can do.