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New Tick-Borne Disease Discovered in Sweden

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Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have discovered a brand new tick-borne infection. Since the discovery, eight cases have been described around the world, three of them in the Gothenburg area, Sweden.

In July 2009 a 77-year-old man from western Sweden was out kayaking when he went down with acute diarrhea, fever and temporary loss of consciousness. He was taken to hospital where it was found that he was also suffering with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Following treatment with antibiotics, he was discharged some days later with an anticoagulant to thin his blood. However, the man -- who had an impaired immune system -- went down with a fever again.

Brand new infection
Over the following months the 77-year-old was admitted as an emergency case on several occasions, but despite repeated attempts to find a microbe, and repeated doses of antibiotics, the fever returned. Finally the patient's blood underwent special analysis to look for bacterial DNA -- and that produced results. The findings matched a bacterium in an online gene bank and the results were a sensation: the man had contracted a brand new infection in humans which had never been described in the world before.

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