Dr. Alvaro Toledo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at Rutgers, will give a talk on a hot topic–Lyme disease, ticks and vector-borne pathogens.
Ticks are the most important vectors for infectious diseases in the northern hemisphere, and second after mosquitoes worldwide. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of different vertebrate species. Typically, ticks have 4 stages (egg, larvae, nymph and adult) that feed on three different hosts in a two-year life cycle. Ticks can transmit different diseases including Lyme disease, Human granulocytic anaplasmosis and Babesisis.
Lyme disease is by far the most prominent tick-borne disease in New Jersey with over 3000 cases per year. The causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burdorferi, is a spirochete and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. Typically, Lyme disease patients have symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash known as erythema migrans. If the infection is not treated in the initial stages, it can disseminate and affect joints, the heart, and the nervous system.