Human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis
|Human monocytic ehrlichiosis|
|Classification and external resources|
Ecology and epidemiology
In the USA, HME occurs across the south-central, southeastern, and mid-Atlantic states, regions where both the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) thrive.
Nearly 600 cases were reported to the CDC in 2006. In 2001–2002, the incidence was highest in Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, as well as in people older than 60.
The most common symptoms are fever, headache, malaise, and muscle aches (myalgia). Compared to human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, rash is more common. Laboratory abnormalities include thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, and elevated liver tests.
The severity of the illness can range from minor or asymptomatic to life-threatening. CNS involvement may occur. A serious septic or toxic shock-like picture can also develop, especially in patients with impaired immunity.
Tick exposure is often overlooked. For patients living in high-prevalence areas who spend time outdoors, a high degree of clinical suspicion should be employed.
If ehrlichiosis is suspected, treatment should not be delayed while waiting for a definitive laboratory confirmation, as prompt doxycycline therapy has been associated with improved outcomes. Doxycycline is the treatment of choice.
Presentation during early pregnancy can complicate treatment.
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