Around 95% of Lyme patients contract other tick-borne diseases (co-infections) because ticks usually transmit multiple pathogens via a single bite. Ticks are sometimes referred to as “nature’s dirty needle”.

Officially recognised tick-borne illnesses in Australia include:

  • Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii),
  • Queensland tick typhus (QTT) (Rickettsia australis),
  • Flinders Island spotted fever (FISF) (Rickettsia honei), and
  • Australian spotted fever (ASF) (Rickettsia sp).

Although these diseases can be serious, there is still no government-driven public awareness campaign regarding the potential to become sick from a tick bite.
Left: Rickettsia honei rash, courtesy Medical Journal of Australia

See also: Rickettsial Infections on the Victorian Department of Health website.

The two most common Lyme co-infections are Babesia/Babesiosis and Bartonella/Bartonellosis. Others include Anaplasma, Erlichia, Rickettsia, Mycoplasma, Coxiella, Melioidosis, Tularemia, Mammalian Meat Allergy.

Lyme patients often test positive for further pathogens due to the effect Lyme has on the immune system. It is not uncommon for a Lyme patient to also have Epstein-Barr virus, other herpes-type viruses, Chlamydia pneumonia, Cytomegalovirus, as well as parasites, mould and candida.

Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella

These three organisms have many overlapping signs and symptoms with Mycoplasma as well, and this adds to the difficulty in treating Lyme. Understanding key characteristics of these more common Lyme disease co-infections can serve as a guide for you and your physician to more accurately tailor your treatment.

Lyme LDAA - Infographic showing the overlap of symptoms between common co-infections and Lyme
Lyme LDAA - Infographic showing selected Co-infections shared symtpoms

Infographics courtesy Dr Bill Rawls, MD.

Co-Infection Symptom Reference
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Image Courtesy Invisible International

Copyright Lyme Disease Association of Australia