Studying tick biology with lyme prevention in mind

Studying tick biology with lyme prevention in mind

Updated:
© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock

(HealthDay News) -- Scientists who sequenced the genome, or genetic composition, of the Lyme disease-transmitting deer tick hope the achievement will lead to new ways to control the blood-sucking parasites.

The decade-long effort involved an international team of 93 scientists from 46 institutions.

"The genome provides a foundation for a whole new era in tick research," project leader Catherine Hill, a professor of medical entomology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.

"Now that we've cracked the tick's code, we can begin to design strategies to control ticks, to understand how they transmit disease and to interfere with that process," she said.

The deer tick, also called the black-legged tick, is the first tick species to have its genome sequenced, the researchers said. The findings were published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature Communications.

Each year, about 30,000 Lyme disease cases are reported in the United States, mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest. However, many cases are unreported or undiagnosed and the actual number is estimated to be 329,000 a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lyme disease is not fatal, but can be permanently debilitating if it's not treated early enough, according to health experts.

Along with Lyme disease, deer ticks transmit other germs, including the potentially deadly Powassan virus, the researchers noted. Other species of ticks also transmit diseases to people.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about ticks.

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WNCONTENT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.