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Getting ticked off.

GETTING TICKED OFF

An infectious process once thought to be found only in dogs is being carried to humans by the infamous tick. Ehrlichiosis is a rickettsial infection first found in humans in 1986. The symptoms of the disease resemble those of Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

"The red flag should go up for ehrlichiosis whenever someone who has been exposed to ticks has a febrile [feverish] illness, but not erythema migrans, the rash characteristic of Lyme disease," says Dr. Lyle R. Petersen of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Dr. John R. Harkess, Oklahoma State Department of Health assistant state epidemiologist, adds, "Many people with a high fever show up in the emergency department and are presumed to have Rocky Mountain spotted fever, although they often don't have the characteristic rash."

It is now better understood that if a person's blood count demonstrates a low white count and a low platelet count without a rash, the offending organism is the Ehrlichia canis rather than the organisms causing the other two tick-borne diseases. Fortunately, treatment for the disease is relatively simple; tetracycline appears to treat ehrlichiosis as well as it does early Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
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Title Annotation:ehrlichiosis infection
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Words:203
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