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Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis (HGA), previously known as Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE), is caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilia, also called anaplasmosis, transmitted by the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). The symptoms of ehrlichiosis range from mild body aches to severe fever and usually appear within a week or so of a tick bite. If treated quickly with antibiotics ehrlichiosis generally improves within a few days. The bacteria are transmitted by ticks, and can infect two different types of white blood cells. In the United States, ehrlichiosis is mainly found in the southeastern and south central regions of the country, although it has been known to occur in certain northern states as well. The first human case in the U.S. was reported in 1986. However, prior to 1986 the bacterium was known to infect and cause illness in a wide variety of wild and domestic animals. The best way to prevent these infections is to avoid tick bites. Tick repellents, thorough body checks after being outside and proper removal of ticks give you the best chance of avoiding ehrlichiosis.

Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease of dogs usually caused by the organism Ehrlichia canis or less commonly Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. equii . Another tick-borne infection anaplasmosis is closely related to ehrlichiosis. Worldwide, there are currently four ehrlichial species that are known to cause disease in humans. German Shepherd dogs are thought to be particularly affected by the disease, but cats and humans can also be infected. The illnesses differ in the types of white blood cells they attack either monocytes or granulocytes. Ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis are most common in spring and summer, when ticks are active and you're more likely to be outdoors enjoying activities such as gardening, hiking or camping. In New York State, most cases of ehrlichiosis have been reported on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley. People who spend time outdoors in tick-infested areas from April until October are at greatest risk for exposure.

Causes of Ehrilichioses

The common Causes of Ehrilichioses :

  • Ehrlichiosis is caused by specialized bacteria called rickettsiae.
  • This infection is caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilia bacteria, and is transmitted primarily by the deer tick.
  • This infection is caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis bacteria, and is transmitted primarily by the Lone Star tick and the American dog tick.
  • Amblyomma americanum (Lone Star tick) is the putative vector of HME
  • Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick) is the principal vector of HGA. Ixodes pacificus (the western black-legged tick) is the main vector in California.

Symptoms of Ehrilichioses

Some Symptoms of Ehrilichioses :

  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Joint pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Malaise
  • Mild fever
  • Rash maculopapular

Treatment of Ehrilichioses

  • Treatment with an appropriate antibiotic is usually effective.
  • Ehrlichiosis is treated with a tetracycline antibiotic, usually doxycycline.
  • Special laboratory tests of the blood can detect infection with Ehrlichia bacteria.
  • Doxycycline remains the drug of choice for persons infected with ehrlichia.
  • Current data recommend continuation of treatment until the patient has been afebrile for at least 3 days and for a minimum of 5-7 days.

 


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