Hard Tick Relapsing Fever (Borrelia miyamotoi)deer tick

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Photo credit: US CDC

About Hard Tick Relapsing Fever

Hard Tick Relapsing Fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia miyamotoi. It spreads through the bite of an infected deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). This tick lives all through Maine.

Hard Tick Relapsing Fever is treatable with antibiotics. The best way to prevent getting Hard Tick Relapsing Fever is by avoiding tick bites.


Signs and symptoms of Hard Tick Relapsing Fever begin days to weeks after an infected tick bites. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills

    Fever and chills

  • Headache


  • Muscle or joint pain

    Muscle or joint pain

  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)

    Fatigue (feeling very tired)

Less commonly, people may have rash, abdominal or stomach pain, diarrhea, or feel dizzy or confused. Very few people experience ALL of these symptoms.

See a health care provider if you become ill after a tick bite or spending time in areas where ticks commonly live. Be sure to mention a recent tick bite or time spent in tick habitat to your health care provider.


Prevent Tick Bites

The best way to prevent Hard Tick Relapsing Fever is to prevent tick bites in the first place. Take these simple steps every day to prevent tick bites:

  • long pants

    Wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and pants. Tuck your pants into your socks.

  • bug spray

    Use an EPA-approved bug spray.

  • trail

    Stay in the middle of trails.

  • tick check

    Do daily tick checks and check your pets for ticks.

Protect Your Yard From Ticks

You can make your yard a tick-safe zone:

  1. Keep the lawn mowed.
  2. Keep leaves raked and get rid of leaf piles.
  3. Move wood piles away from the house. Mice like to live here and can bring ticks with them.
  4. Move birdfeeders away from the house, gardens, and yard toys. Deer and mice like birdfeeders and can bring ticks into the yard.
  5. Use crushed stone or woodchips to make a tick-safe barrier around your yard. This should be 3-feet wide to separate the yard from the woods and keep ticks from crossing into the yard.
tick property maintenance

To learn more about tick bite prevention and how to keep ticks out of your yard, visit Tick Frequently Asked Questions.

Resources for Educators

Maine CDC developed vectorborne school curricula for 3rd-8th grade classrooms. The curriculum is aligned with Maine Learning Results. School nurses, teachers, and other youth leaders are encouraged to use this resource in their classrooms.

Reports and Publications

Hard Tick Relapsing Fever Surveillance Reports

Maine CDC publishes data on Hard Tick Relapsing Fever cases and rates in surveillance reports.

  • Hard Tick Relapsing Fever Surveillance Report (PDF) 2021

Tickborne Disease Data on the Maine Tracking Network

The Maine Tracking Network uses data from case reports, surveys, and tick submissions to help understand the spread of tickborne diseases in Maine. The dashboard includes real-time data, maps, charts, and graphs for anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease.