Vectosis – Changing the Lyme Disease conversation in Australia

What is Lyme Disease?

According to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia bacteria. The condition of being infected with Lyme Disease is called Borreliosis in many parts of Europe.

An inflammatory infection it is commonly transmitted to humans through tick bites and other blood sucking insect bites. Ticks pick up the bacteria by biting infected animals known as Hosts, and then pass it on to other animals, including human hosts.

There are over 188 different varieties of Borrelia identified worldwide but only three of those varieties fall into the Lyme Disease grouping.

Lyme Disease has been identified in eastern USA and parts of Europe.

The biggest grouping of Borrelia is Relapsing Fever which occurs in nearly every world territory.

Does Lyme Disease Exist in Australia?

The current view of the Australian government is that there is no evidence for the existence of indigenous form of classical Lyme disease (Lyme disease, Lyme Borreliosis or lymes) in Australia. However, there is evidence of a uniquely Australian relapsing fever and several other infections derived from blood sucking insects that give rise to “Vectosis”. A fact sheet on Lyme disease is available on the NSW Health website.

The Federal Government list Lyme Disease on their schedule of infectious diseases ( . Furthermore they acknowledge it can be contracted while visiting endemic areas.

Changing the topic of conversation

The lack of evidence for an indigenous form of classical Lyme disease and the discovery of uniquely Australian varieties of Relapsing Fever Borrelia reaffirm the view that Australians who have been infected in Australia and have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease may in fact be infected with a uniquely Australian variety of Relapsing Fever.

Because of the emotive barriers raised, in Australia, when Lyme Disease is mentioned many other co-infections from blood sucking insect bites are being overlooked.

For this reason the term “Vectosis” has been adopted to engender greater objectivity and more relevance into the discussions and research surrounding Vector borne diseases.

“We know something is making people sick, what is it?”

What is Vectosis?

Vectosis is any condition originating from or caused by the bit of a bloodsucking Arthropod.

The bloodsucking Arthropods, known as Vectors, that are commonly responsible for any of the Vectosis conditions are:

  • Tick
  • Mosquitoes
  • Midge
  • Sand flies
  • Fleas
  • Tsetse flies
  • Black flies and
  • many other blood sucking insects

Vectosis describes any of the following conditions regardless of the geographical incidence:


Common Vector

Babesia Ticks
Bartonella Ticks
Borreliosis Ticks
Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) Triatomine bugs
Chikungunya Mosquitoes
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever Ticks
Dengue fever Mosquitoes
Ehrlichia Ticks
Japanese encephalitis Mosquitoes
Leishmaniasis Sandflies
Lyme disease Ticks
Lymphatic filariasis Mosquitoes
Malaria Mosquitoes
Mycoplasma Ticks
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) Black flies
Plague (transmitted by fleas from rats to humans) Fleas
Relapsing fever (borreliosis) Ticks
Rickettsial diseases (spotted fever and Q fever) Ticks
Rickettsiosis Fleas
Rift Valley fever Mosquitoes
Ross River Fever Ticks
Sandfly fever (phelebotomus fever) Sandflies
Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) Aquatic snails
Sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) Tsetse flies
Tick-borne encephalitis Ticks
Tularaemia Ticks
West Nile fever Mosquitoes
Yellow fever Mosquitoes
Zika Mosquitoes


Vectosis “account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 1 million deaths annually”[1].

VECTOSIS-A (Australia)

Vectosis-A is a Vectosis condition originating from Australian Arthropods and particularly uniquely Australian pathogens such as the uniquely Australian relapsing fever bacteria and Australian Rickettsial species. It does not include conditions that have not been identified in Australia, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever which are common to the USA.


Common Vector

Babesia Ticks
Bartonella Ticks
Borreliosis Ticks
Dengue fever Mosquitoes
Ehrlichia Ticks
Malaria Mosquitoes
Mycoplasma Ticks
Q-Fever Ticks
Relapsing fever (borreliosis) Ticks
Rickettsial diseases

  • Rickettsia australis (Queensland Tick Typhus)
  • Rickettsia honei (Flinders Island Spotted Fever)
Ross River Fever Ticks


  • An infection can present with some of the following symptoms:
  • Bulls eye rash
  • Severe headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches or pain
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Meningitis
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting


There are currently no standard tests available for some Vectosis conditions.

The Vectosis-A Relapsing Fever has no specific blood test anywhere in the world. Relapsing Fever has been known to show positive to one or more of the traditional lyme disease tests incorrectly leading a suffer to believe they have lyme disease.


[1] World Health Organisation – Media Centre – Vector-borne diseases. February 2016


Help the Karl McManus Institute to discover accurate testing and treatment for Vectosis-A.