A Mayo Clinic guide to tick species and the diseases they carry

A Mayo Clinic guide to tick species and the diseases they carry


tick , Lyme disease
Host-seeking blacklegged tick. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CC0

Although there are hundreds of species of ticks found throughout the world, fewer than 60 are known to bite and spread disease to humans. Here are some of the more common human-biting ticks in the United States and the parts of the country where you’ll most likely find them.

American dog tick

The American dog tick, also known as a wood tick, is mainly located east of the U.S. Rocky Mountains and in some areas of the Pacific Coast. It’s responsible for spreading Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Rocky Mountain wood tick

The Rocky Mountain wood tick is mainly located in the U.S. Rocky Mountain states and southwestern Canada. It’s responsible for spreading Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Lone Star tick

The Lone Star tick is mainly located in the southeastern and eastern U.S. It’s responsible for spreading ehrlichiosis, Heartland virus disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Bourbon virus disease and tularemia. Bites from the Lone Star tick can sometimes lead to alpha-gal syndrome.

Asian longhorned tick

The Asian longhorned tick is usually located in countries including eastern China, Japan, the Russian Far East and Korea. Since 2017, the tick has been found in several eastern states in the United States. The tick can potentially spread germs that cause serious human diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and rickettsiosis, but the risk to humans in the United States from this tick is still unknown.


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