Emerging Tickborne Diseases in NH

On June 1, 2017, the NH DHHS issued a health alert regarding emerging tickborne diseases in NH.NH DPHS Health Alert

Key Points and Recommendations:

  • Blacklegged ticks transmit four different infections in NH: Lyme, Anaplasma, Babesia, and Powassan. They may transmit other emerging infections.
  • NH has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the nation, and 50-60% of blacklegged ticks sampled in NH have been found to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
  • Powassan was identified in two NH residents during past seasons: 2013 and 2016. While uncommon, Powassan can cause a debilitating neurological illness, so providers should maintain an index of suspicion for patients presenting with an unexplained meningoencephalitis.
    • Testing for Powassan can be arranged through the NH Public Health Laboratories by calling the NH DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at the number below.
  • Providers should ask patients with suspected Babesiosis whether they have donated blood or received a blood transfusion.
  • For any non-Lyme tickborne disease, providers should determine most likely geographical area for exposure and report that information on the case report form as this information will help define the location of tickborne disease in New Hampshire.
  • If testing for Lyme disease is negative, yet you still suspect a tickborne disease, consider testing for other pathogens, such as Borrelia miyamotoi.
  • Report all tickborne diseases, confirmed or suspected, to the NH DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496 (after hours 603-271-5300).

Full DHHS Alert