Vt. health officials concerned about spike in tick-borne disease

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont health officials are warning about a seasonal spike in ticks that is expected to come with a record in the serious tick-borne disease anaplasmosis.

The Department of Health says the number of cases of the illness has dramatically increased -- from three cases in 2010 to 201 last year. Officials say they are concerned that even though traditional peak tick activity comes later in November, they have already exceeded last year's case count. They say activity in the southern part of the state is of particular concern.

Anaplasmosis bacteria is carried by the same tick that spreads Lyme disease. But where Lyme disease often comes with a rash, the CDC says anaplasmosis rarely does. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle pain, malaise, chills, nausea, abdominal pain, cough and confusion. The CDC says anaplasmosis can be fatal if not treated correctly.

Vermont officials say more than one-third of the reported cases here were sick enough to be hospitalized.