Further diseases

In fact, ticks can carry a large number of pathogens – and the number of possible diseases they can cause is just as large. We list here, in alphabetical order, some more of the pathogens that – in addition to the TBE virus and Borrelia bacteria – can be transmitted through tick bites and can cause disease:

Tiny, but dangerous: In addition to TBEV and Borrelia bacteria, ticks can carry further pathogens.


Babesia within erythrocytes in a blood smear. Source: CDC/Steven Glenn; Laboratory & Consultation Division

The disease occurs mainly in regions around the Mediterranean Sea. Typical symptoms of babesiosis are fever, fatigue and muscle pains. However, it rarely affects humans and occurs more often in cattle and dogs: Parasites destroy the red blood cells (erythrocytes) and can be fatal for the animal. The disease exhibits similar symptoms in animals as malaria in humans, so in Germany it is sometimes called "dog malaria". The marsh tick (Dermacentor reticulatus) is predominantly responsible for transmitting Babesia in Germany.


This disease is caused by Ehrlichia bacteria, carried by many tick species. Most cases of ehrlichiosis clear up without symptoms, but it can lead to fever, headaches, back and muscle pains, nausea or complications with infections of other bacteria.

What pathogens do ticks transmit

When the tick is infected with pathogens, an otherwise harmless tick bite can pose a serious threat to a person's health.
> Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus
> Borrelia bacteria (cause of Lyme disease)

Rickettsiosis (Typhus fever)

Ticks can transmit several pathogens that cause forms of rickettsiosis. The form most known in Europe is called Mediterranean spotted fever, because it mainly occurs in regions around the Mediterranean Sea. The disease is caused by Rickettsia, a genus of bacteria.

Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The disease is caused by the CCHF (Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever) virus. The ticks inhabit the fur of sheep, goats, cattle, hares and camels and obtain the virus from the blood of an infected animal. When the infected tick bites a human, it injects the pathogen into the bloodstream. It is not only possible for people to catch the virus from a tick bite, but also from direct contact with infected animals. The virus can prevent human blood from clotting and thus results in internal bleeding, intestinal hemorrhages and vomiting blood. Half of all CCHF cases are fatal. Currently, there is no vaccine available against this virus. CCHF cases have been diagnosed in Southeastern Europe (e.g. two fatalities in the summer of 2006 at the Black Sea coast), Asia and Africa.

List of other rare diseases

As well as the diseases mentioned above, the pathogens of the following can also be transmitted by ticks:

  • Colorado tick fever
  • Ehrlichiosis (further forms)
  • Heartwater
  • Kyasanur Forest disease
  • Q Fever
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • South African typhoid fever
  • Tularaemia
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever
  • Powassan-Virus