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Notice to Readers: Vector-borne Disease Branch Detects Borrelia miyamotoi in Human Tick Submission

Image of female Ixodes scapularis or deer tick. Female Ixodes scapularis tick, or Deer Tick, a primary vector for hard tick relapsing fever.

The Defense Centers Public Health–Aberdeen Vector-Borne Disease Branch has confirmed the presence of Borrelia miyamotoi, an emerging tick-borne pathogen that causes hard tick relapsing fever. This pathogen was detected for the first time at DCPH-A, following implementation of a new molecular test to detect and differentiate between the related agents of Lyme disease and HTRF. The pathogen was found in a human-biting tick submitted in January 2023 to the Military Tick Identification/Infection Confirmation Kit (MilTICK) Program.

MilTICK offers free testing and identification services for ticks removed from Department of Defense beneficiaries, including service members from all branches, civilians, contractors, retirees, and dependents. Any tick found biting an eligible person can be submitted to MilTICK by health care providers through tick kits available at DOD health care facilities, or by individuals through a simple mail-in process. Approximately 3,000 human-biting ticks are tested each year, with each tick species identified, assessed for duration of attachment, and tested for the relevant suite of human pathogens. Results are returned via email to the point of contact provided on the MilTICK form and are used to assess the risk of tick-borne disease to military personnel. Recent tick surveillance data can be accessed through the MilTICK CAC-enabled data dashboard at https://carepoint.health.mil/.

For additional information, or to request tick kits or services, contact the VBD Branch:

Phone: 410-436-5421 or 410-436-5425

Email: usarmy.apg.medcom-a.phc.mbx.tickcom@health.mil

Website: https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/envirohealth/epm/Pages/HumanTickTestKitProgram.aspx

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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