Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor

As an outdoorsman, I have learned what to look for to spot Lyme disease, but what are the symptoms of ehrlichiosis?

Adult deer tick shown (left) and shown enlarged at right.

Ehrlichiosis was identified in 1994 as an acute tick-borne infection. Now a new strain, similar to one found in Eastern Europe and Asia, has appeared in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In addition to the red eyes, characteristic of ehrlichiosis, it may also cause fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, confusion and fatigue; some people also experience nausea , vomiting, diarrhea and rash.

These are also symptoms of another tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis, which may also cause abdominal pain and cough.

To prevent tick bites, use caution when outside in woody or bushy areas or areas with long grass. You should wear light-colored wear long pants tucked into your socks and long-sleeved shirts tucked into your pants. Make sure to apply insect repellent with at least 50 percent DEET.

If you have been outside, make sure that you inspect your body for ticks at the end of the day. If an attached tick is removed within 36 hours, the risk of infection is minimized substantially.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have been in an area where deer ticks live, you should visit your health care provider and ask to be tested for ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis.

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