Human Ehrlichiosis (air-LICK-ee-oh-sis) is a disease caused by rickettsial type organisms that are transmitted in part by the same ticks that carry Lyme disease. The disease’s name has been officially changed to Anaplasmosis, though Ehrlichoiosis will be in common use for some time. Ehrlichiosis usually presents with high fever, malaise, headache, myalgia, sweats, and nausea. Ehrlichiosis patients may have a low white blood cell count and low platelet count, as well as elevated liver enzymes. Some patients may get better on their own. Antibiotics that work for Lyme do not work against ehrlichiosis. Instead, doctors use drugs in the tetracycline family. Tetracycline drugs can be used against Lyme, so some doctors cover both bases by prescribing tetracycline when the diagnosis is unclear.

Patients diagnosed with Ehrlichia should also be tested for Lyme disease due to the fact that co-infections have been documented in several patients.

There are two forms of the disease caused by the Ehrlichia species: E. chaffeensis and E. phagocytophilia, which cause the human diseases, Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME) and Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HE), respectively. HME has been linked to the bites of Amblyomma Americanum (Lone Star Tick) and HE has been closely linked to the bites of Ixodes Scapularis and Ixodes Pacificus. The Dermacentor Variabilis (dog tick) has also been suggested in the transmission of both. Seroconversion usually occurs between two and four weeks after infection.

HME was first described in 1987 and confirmed in 30 states, predominately in the southeast and mid-atlantic states. HME has also been found in Europe and Africa.

HE originated in Minnesota and was first described in 1994. HE has been found in the upper midwestem states, northeastern states, and northern California.


Signs, symptoms & indicators of Ehrlichiosis

Symptoms - General  

Constant fatigue

Symptoms - Metabolic  

Unexplained high fevers or unexplained fevers that hit hard


Having a slight/having a moderate/having a high fever


Occassional/frequent 'chills' or having chills from an illness

Conditions that suggest Ehrlichiosis


Ehrlichiosis could instead be


Recommendations for Ehrlichiosis



Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Highly recommended



A vague feeling of bodily discomfort, as at the beginning of an illness. A general sense of depression or unease.


Diffuse muscle pain.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

White Blood Cell

(WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.


Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

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