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Tick Bites: Flu-Like Symptoms - Topic Overview

Many of the diseases ticks pass to humans can cause flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches (myalgia).
  • A general feeling of illness (malaise).
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Diseases ticks may pass to humans include:

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  • Lyme disease. Symptoms usually start 1 to 4 weeks after the tick bite, with up to 90% of people developing an expanding, circular red skin rash.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Symptoms usually start about 2 to 14 days after the tick bite.
  • Tularemia. Symptoms usually start within 21 days (but average 1 to 10 days) after the tick bite or other exposure.
  • Ehrlichiosis. Symptoms usually start from 1 to 21 days (average of 7 days) after the tick bite.
  • Relapsing fever. Symptoms usually start 3 to 11 days (average of 6 days) after the tick bite.
  • Colorado tick fever. Symptoms usually start within 14 days (average of 3 to 6 days) of the tick bite.
  • Babesiosis. Symptoms usually start 1 to 6 weeks after the tick bite.

In some parts of the world, tick bites may cause other tick-borne diseases, such as South African tick-bite fever.

A doctor can evaluate the cause of your flu-like symptoms and recommend treatment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 14, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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