Vector and Waterborne Pathogens Group

Pilot Study

The Current Situation

Over the last 30 years recognition of a “Lyme disease-like” syndrome has emerged, the onset of which has been attributed to people being bitten by native Australian ticks. Importantly, despite the absence of the recognized tick vectors of Lyme disease in Australia, there have been manifestations of an undiagnosed illness causing significant patient distress, with symptoms presenting in a similar fashion to Lyme disease.

Consequently, there is intense public and government concern about the potential for tick-borne disease in Australia, which led to the now urgent need for new research using cutting edge, advanced DNA technology in order to inform the debate.

Following the outcome of the recent parliamentary inquiry, which recommended more research, our research group has decided to explore alternative avenues to fund our important research. With generous funding from the CWA, we are able to conduct a limited pilot study to search for molecular evidence of tick-borne microorganisms in samples from people who have been diagnosed with a tick-borne illness.

To Participate in our Pilot Study

We are seeking patients who have previously been bitten by ticks in Australia and have symptoms of a tick-borne illness, as assessed by a medical practitioner. To be eligible to join this study you must:
1. Have been bitten by a tick in Australia
2. Have received a diagnosis from your doctor of tick borne illness as a result of laboratory tests conducted in Australia or overseas.
3. Read the patient information and sign the consent form.

If you are an eligible patient (see above) please click on ‘Information for Patients’ in order to read more about how to join the study.

If you would like to donate samples to our research but have not been biten by a tick, you may still send us the samples for later analysis. We will store them securely but the samples will not form part of this pilot study. If you choose this option, proceed to 'Information for Patients'.

Contact us


• This is study is for research purposes only
• This is not a diagnostic service
• Results will not be released to individual patients

Risks & Challenges

• As with many pilot studies, there is a chance that even with the funds, we may not find any answers, that there is no correlation between what we find in patients’ blood and their symptoms. However, this work is vital to helping us (researchers, patients, medical profession, politicians etc.) understand what (if any) ‘bugs’ we are dealing with.