Ehrlichiosis is caused by infection of bacteria Ehrlichia that is transmitted by lone star ticks. There are three different species of Ehrlichia that infects humans
and Ehrlichia muris-like.
Ticks get the bacteria from another infected host like deer, coyote, or cattle. Ticks feed on the blood and while doing so pass on the bacteria to another host, including human.
The bacteria gains access into the skin through the site of tick bite. The infectious bacteria then moves to the blood stream. Bacteria is usually transmitted when the tick has been feeding for a duration of 24 hours. Bacteria may also be transmitted through blood transfusions from an infected person, from mother to fetus, and through direct contact with a slaughtered animal.
The major risk factors of ehrlichiosis are being in a place where the vector is prevalent, particularly during summer and spring. Population of the tick is high during this time and increase chances of tick exposure. Ehrlichiosis is more common among males when compared to women.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Symptoms of ehrlichiosis resemble that of many other common conditions, making confirmatory diagnosis hard.
Further, tick bite is very inconspicuous and many people may not remember being bitten by the vector.
History of exposure is the best indicator of bacterial infection.
Blood tests reveal low white blood cell and platelet count.
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