What's ticking?

Published: Saturday 15 January 2000

An unknown tick species may be responsible for a variant of Lyme disease that has not been detected by standard tests so far. Michael Felz and his colleagues at the Medical College in Georgia in Augusta, USA, examined 23 patients suffering from eye rash that is characteristic of the disease. Sixteen of them showed no signs of infection with the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi , which is said to be responsible for the tick-borne disease in North America. Even those who tested positive were infected by a version of the organism with a different protein make-up ( New Scientist , Vol 164, No 2213).

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