NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (CBS) – A new study by Yale researchers suggests that a tick-borne infection similar to Lyme disease has become common in southern New England.

Using a new antibody test, researchers found evidence that about 4-percent of people they checked showed evidence of previous Borrelia miyamotoi infection.

The prevalence of Lyme disease is about 10 percent.

“We expect this to be found wherever Lyme disease is found. It’s likely that that will be the case,” said Peter Krause, M.D., senior research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “The full health impact of this disease is really uncertain at this point. We just have to do more research to determine what the full spectrum of the disease will be.”

Borrelia miyamotoi is found in black-legged ticks and is related to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Symptoms are similar to those of Lyme disease, but patients with B. miyamotoi infection also may experience relapsing fever.

People with a compromised immune system may also develop B. miyamotoi meningitis.

Researchers first identified Borrelia miyamotoi about a decade ago. The first human case of infection was identified in 2011.

The study’s authors say antibiotic treatment for both bacteria is the same.

The results of the study, which included 639 people, are published in the May 7 online issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.


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