People with debilitating conditions linked to tick bites may hope for answers and future treatments with the federal government announcing the first major
funding to investigate these bewildering symptom clusters.
Thousands of people have reported suffering from chronic symptoms linked to tick bites including fatigue, arthritis, chronic pain, neurological and cardiac
problems, and psychological illness.
There are 16 Australian ticks known to bite humans.CREDIT:MURDOCH UNIVERSITY
Manly, Mona Vale and Hornsby hospital emergency departments recorded 1500 patients with tick bites over 20 months in 2016 and 2017.
“It is clear that there is a need for targeted research to further understand the problem and develop appropriate diagnostics and treatments for patients
with these symptom complexes,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Murdoch University researchers led by Professors Peter Irwin, Una Ryan and Dr Charlotte Oskam will receive more than $1.9 million for a prospective study
to closely monitor people who have been bitten.
The Vector and Waterborne Pathogens Research Group will track physical and psychological symptoms and investigate possible links to infectious organisms
and immune system abnormalities.
“We are not entirely clear which symptoms are associated with tick bites. No one knows really what is happening,” Professor Irwin said.