What is ehrlichiosis?
Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial illness that is characterized by flu-like symptoms. It is spread through ticks, and symptoms will appear if the tick has been feeding on somebody for at least 24 hours.
What are the symptoms of ehrlichiosis?
Symptoms can vary between affected individuals, and they typically appear seven to fourteen days after being bitten. They include:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
It is important to seek treatment, as complications can arise, including heart and kidney failure, seizures, comas, and respiratory failure.
What causes ehrlichiosis?
The ehrlichia bacteria causes this illness and is spread by ticks, which must be feeding on one for at least 24 hours. The ticks that spread it are most common in the southeastern, south central, and eastern regions of the United States. It can also be spread through blood transfusions, direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, and from mother to fetus.
How is ehrlichiosis diagnosed?
It can be difficult to diagnose this condition due to its similarity to other illnesses, such as the flu. The best way to diagnose ehrlichiosis is through a blood test.
What are the treatments for ehrlichiosis?
Treatment for this illness consists of antibiotics. Early treatment is best.
Preventing tick bites is the best thing to do to avoid this illness. This means taking steps like wearing closed toed shoes, wearing insect repellent, wearing light colored clothing, staying on clear trails, inspecting your clothes and body, wearing long sleeved clothes and pants, and checking your pets for ticks. If you do find a tick on your body, make sure to remove as quickly as possible.