Ehrlichiosis is an infection passed through a tick bite. It can be deadly unless medicine is taken to treat it.
Ehrlichiosis is caused by specific bacteria. The bacteria are passed through the bite of a tick. The lonestar tick, deer tick, and dog tick are linked with this infection.
Things that may raise the risk of this infection are:
- Being in areas known to have ticks
- Spending time in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern, and Southcentral United States
- Having a weakened immune system
It may take 1 to 2 weeks for symptoms to happen. The first symptoms are like the flu:
- Muscle and joint aches
Some people may also have a rash.
|Headache and Neck Stiffness|
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You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked if you have spent time in areas known for ticks. A physical exam will be done.
A blood test may be done to check for signs of ehrlichiosis.
To lower the chance of this infection:
- Avoid tick-infested areas.
- Wear light-colored clothing to better locate a crawling tick.
- Tuck pants into socks when in tick-infested habitats.
- Regularly inspect and remove ticks from the body when in tick-infested habitats.
- Remove ticks using fine-tipped tweezers by grasping the tick close to the skin’s surface and pulling upward steadily.
- Disinfect tick bites with soap and water.
- Use tick repellents.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.html
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Biggs HM, Behravesh CB, et al. Diagnosis and Management of Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Other Spotted Fever Group Rickettsioses, Ehrlichioses, and Anaplasmosis - United States. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016 May 13;65(2):1-44.
Ehrlichiosis. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/ehrlichiosis.html. Updated September 19, 2017. Accessed November 25, 2019.
Ehrlichiosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ehrlichiosis. Updated January 17, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2019.
Ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/ehrlichiosis-and-anaplasmosis . Updated December 9, 2016. Accessed November 25, 2019.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
- Review Date: 09/2019
- Update Date: 05/27/2020