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Tickborne Diseases

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe tickborne diseases, with an emphasis on Lyme disease, and identify effective methods of preventing tickborne diseases.
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In the United States, ticks carry many different pathogens that can cause a variety of human diseases. One of the most common of these is Lyme disease. Many tickborne diseases are challenging to diagnose because their symptoms imitate other common illnesses. The prevention of tickborne disease involves avoidance of tick-infested areas, the appropriate use of proper clothing, and insect repellents.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Explain how ticks infect their host.
  • Identify how Lyme disease is spread.
  • Describe the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
  • Discuss the methods for diagnosing and treating Lyme disease.
  • Describe other tickborne diseases found in the United States.
  • List ways to prevent tickborne diseases and properly remove a tick.

There are many different tickborne diseases in the United States. The most commonly known is Lyme disease. However, more than a dozen lesser-known tick-related diseases have been identified in the United States, and approximately six tickborne diseases are present globally. The focus of this course is on tickborne diseases in the United States, with a primary focus on the most well-known and most commonly seen— Lyme disease. A brief summary of several other tick-related diseases is also presented.

How ticks infect their hosts

Ticks cannot fly or jump so they find a host by resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs in a position called “questing.” They hold onto the grass or leaves with their lower legs and their upper pair of legs are outstretched, waiting to climb onto a passing host. When the host brushes the spot where the tick is resting, it quickly climbs onto the host and then finds a place to bite the host and obtain its “blood meal” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015a).

The tick feeding process makes it particularly adept at transmitting infections (CDC, 2015a):

  • Depending on the species and age of the tick, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. The tick searches for a feeding spot, grasps the skin and cuts into the surface. It then inserts its feeding tube and many will also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during their meal. The feeding tube can have barbs, which also helps keep the tick in place.
  • Ticks often secrete a small amount of saliva with anesthetic properties so the host cannot feel the tick bite. If the tick is in a less visible location, it can often go unnoticed.
  • Once a tick attaches to its host and begins sucking, it can suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host has bloodborne pathogens (such as the bacteria that cause Lyme disease), the tick often ingests the pathogen and becomes infected. When the infected tick later feeds on a human, the human can become infected. Once infected, the tick can transmit infection throughout its life.
  • After feeding, the tick drops off the host and begins its next life cycle stage.
  • If a tick is removed quickly (within 24 hours), the chances of obtaining a tickborne disease are greatly reduced. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of acquiring a disease.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

September 01, 2021

  • Caroline Young, MPH
  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.