Ehrlichia in Humans is Curable

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November 4, 2010

Getting Lyme

Ehrlichia in humans refers to a group of related rickettsial bacterial diseases transmitted through a tick bite. The two main types of human ehrlichiosis are human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME) and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (formerly known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis or HGE).  Ehrlichia chaffeensis causes monocytic ehrlichiosis. Anaplasma phagocytophilum (formerly Ehrlichia phagocytophilum) is responsible for anaplasmosis. A third emerging species, Ehrlichia ewingii, is also known to cause ehrlichiosis.

While each microorganism has its own way of affecting the body’s cells and functions, the ehrlichioses cause similar symptoms and are treated with the same antibiotics.

Infection Cycle

Humans acquire Ehrlichia chaffeensis through the bite of a tick, most often the Lone Star tick. Lone Star ticks are common in Texas and the Southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States. The name actually comes from the white spot on the tick’s back. Several other ticks transmit Ehrlichia chaffeensis including the dog tick, the deer tick, and possibly the Gulf Coast tick. A large number of reservoir animals carry Ehrlichia chaffeensis, namely white-tailed deer, goats, domestic dogs, red foxes, and some birds.

Various types of Ixodes ticks transmit anaplasma. In the United States, the deer tick, western black-legged tick or bear tick, and Ixodes spinipalpis most often pass on the bacterium. The reservoir animals for these bacteria are mainly deer, rabbits, lizards, and mice. Although the life cycle of anaplasma is poorly understood, it seems to mirror Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti in many respects.

Pathogenesis

Both monocytic ehrlichia and anaplasma must find their way into white blood cells in order to survive and reproduce. Six different white blood cells protect the body against infectious diseases and foreign materials. Monocytic ehrlichia has a particular affinity for lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. Anaplasma favors predominantly neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. Once the Ehrlichia bacteria are inside their respective white blood cells, they multiply by splitting to make two microorganisms. With enough splitting, the white blood cells become overwhelmed, dysfunctional, and die. Disabled and dying white blood cells weaken the body’s defenses, making it open to other pathogens.

Symptoms

Monocytic ehrlichiosis and granulocytic anaplasmosis are similar clinically. Ehrlichia symptoms first occur five days to three weeks after the offending tick bite. Symptoms of ehrlichiosis resemble those of influenza, i.e., fever, chills, cough, low energy, headache, and muscle pains. Nausea, abdominal pain, and lack of appetite may occur as well, although these symptoms are more common with the monocytic type. Unlike other tick-borne illnesses, skin rash is not typical in ehrlichiosis. Rash is rare in anaplasmosis and occurs about 30% of the time in monocytic ehrlichiosis. If a rash does occur, it can look like any rash, including flat/raised red marks or small pinpoint lesions spread over the body.

Diagnosis

Doctors often find it hard to tell the difference between ehrlichioses and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, another rickettsial disease. Making the correct diagnosis is even more difficult if the person has a rash. Ehrlichiosis causes a low white blood cell count, low platelet count, and elevated liver enzymes, all of which can be seen on routine blood tests. Knowing this helps doctors look further into the cause of the disease and perhaps order more specific tests.

One such test is the immunofluorescent antibody or IFA test. If a patient’s blood contains antibodies against Ehrlichia chaffeensis or Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the IFA test will be positive. Sometimes diagnosis requires staining a sample of blood to view under a microscope for visible bacteria inside white blood cells. The most sensitive test is polymerase chain reaction or PCR. However, PCR is only effective for detecting Ehrlichia early in the infection, is not available in all clinics or hospitals, and can be expensive.

Treatment

Ehrlichioses are treated with antibiotics, specifically doxycycline or tetracycline. Doxycycline is usually the drug of choice since it’s more effective, better tolerated, and safer for use in children than tetracycline. Since ehrlichia is an acute disease, doctors recommend starting antibiotic therapy as soon as possible to avoid complications, especially in patients with weak immune systems. Since doxycycline is also used to treat Rocky Mountain spotted fever, antibiotic therapy can be started even if the diagnosis is still uncertain or the results of advanced blood tests aren’t available yet.

Complications

Fortunately, serious complications in either monocytic ehrlichia or anaplasmosis are unlikely, but they do occur. The most common complication is an opportunistic infection. This means that a patient infected with ehrlichia acquires another infection at the same time.  In extreme cases, ehrlichia can be fatal. While less than 1% of patients with anaplasmosis die from the disease, that percentage rises to 3% in patients with monocytic ehrlichiosis. Complications and fatalities are most common in people with depressed immune systems. In those patients, monocytic ehrlichiosis may cause brain inflammation, kidney failure, heart inflammation, adult respiratory distress syndrome (a serious lung illness), gastrointestinal bleeding, and abnormal blood clotting.

Persistence

With proper treatment, Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum can be completely eliminated from the body. In fact, even without antibiotic treatment, the disease typically clears within one month in patients with healthy immune systems (Note: this is unlikely if the person also has Lyme Disease and other co-infections). The body does retain antibodies against Ehrlichia after the infection is gone. While the antibodies aren’t very helpful at preventing a second infection, they may influence subsequent tests. It’s therefore very important to tell your doctor if you’ve ever had either monocytic ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis.

Reference

Ganguly S, Mukhopadhayay SK. Tick-Borne Ehrlichiosis Infection in Human Beings.  (2008) Journal of Vector Borne Diseases, Vol. 45, pgs. 273-280. (PDF download)

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49 Responses to “Ehrlichia in Humans is Curable”

  1. MRichards Says:

    Hi,
    I came across this article when I was searching for whether Ehrlichia can be transmitted by insects other than ticks? I have a positive antibody test for Anaplasma phagocytophilum and a negative Ehrlichia/Anaplasma Elispot LTT from Infectolab in Germany. I was told Ehrlichia can only be transmitted by ticks but I was bitten by a flying insect in UK when I became ill. The LLMD said my Ehrlichia must be from a previous tick bite. I have lyme and some other coinfections too which started when i was bitten by this flying insect. You mention that it CAN be transmitted by other insects. Do you know of a study or article that shows this as I really need to know?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      I know 100% that I got Anaplasmosis (formerly Human Granulocytic Ehrlichia) from a flying insect bite. Two years after my Lyme diagnosis, when I had tested negative for any type of Ehrlichia, I was bitten on the neck while gardening in my front courtyard, potted plants on all stones and pavers (no grass, no ticks). The bite stayed inflamed and itchy and within a couple of weeks I began getting occasional sharp abdominal pains. Luckily I had planned another IGenex Lyme and co-infections test. Lo and behold Anaplamosis was now very positive. Four months of Doxycycline and it was gone. No symptoms have ever returned.

      I’ll research articles and report back here. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  2. Stephanie Says:

    My 11 yr old son was recently diagnosed with Lyme & coinfection of ehrlichia. He started having what seems to be joint instability of his shoulder with a clunking sound when he rotates it. Has anyone heard of joint laxity with either of these? And if so, does it go away? He has been on clarithromycin & cefuroxime for about a month.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Many people with Lyme have joint problems, Stephanie. With treatment they should go away, although it can take time (as in months or years), depending on how long your son had Lyme before it was diagnosed. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  3. Paul Says:

    I am being treated for Erhlichiosis from a tick bite I got two weeks ago. This is my third day on the Doxy and j an still running a fever and the spot where I was bitten is growing with a nice red rash. How long should it take for the fever to subside?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Paul, it could take a week to 10 days for the fever to subside. By then you may also have other symptoms. The fever may not be only from the Ehrlichiosis. That “nice red rash” that’s growing could be Lyme disease. Luckily Doxy works for that too, but you should see a doctor who knows how to diagnose Lyme correctly and treat it adequately. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send you info on how to find a Lyme specialist near you. Glad you asked.

      Reply

  4. Marie Says:

    About 2 months ago I go all the symptoms of Lyme’s and or Ehrliciosis and was treated with 21 days of doxycycline even though the tests showed nothing. It took most of those 21 days to start feeling better. Now I am feeling extremely fatigued, just have no ambition and am wondering if it can be related. I have had positive Lymes 20 years ago and positive Erhliciosis 5 years ago. In addition I suffer from fibromyalgia, degenerative bone and disc disease and facet joint disease. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely Marie

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Marie, 3 wweks of Doxy usually isn’t enough to get rid of Lyme. And although Doxy is also the drug of choice for Ehrlichiosis, you usually need more than 3 weeks to get rid of that too. Ehrlichiosis (formerly Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis) is known to take longer than Anaplasmosis (formerly Human Granuolcytic Ehrlichiosis) needs longer treatment. If you weren’t treated by a Lyme specialist, you should see one. Lyme is a far more complex illness than most doctors realize. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send you info on how to find one. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  5. Kathleen H Says:

    After suffering through a violent “flu”..i spent 8 hrs in an ER in New Hampshire. I was treated for dehydration, 103 degree temp ,severe headache, and a blotchy rash. I was fortunate to have an ER Physician from Connecticut that treated me for Ehrlichiosis.She was convinced I was afflicted after my WBC and RBC were low and I had elevated liver enzymes. These tests, combined with my symptons, convinced her of this tick-borne bacterial infection. My physician did not know that I had pulled an embedded tick out of my head the day after hiking 2 weeks prior.
    I have completed 10 days on Doxycycline, and still not well enough to work or participate in normal life.
    My PCP wants me back on the Doxycycline for 10 more days, I still have a fever.
    Does anyone know when you may turn a corner and feel better?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Kathleen, 20 days of Doxy may not be enough. Monocytic Ehrlichia may need at least 4 months of treatment. Have you also been tested for Lyme? Many people with Lyme also have Ehrlichiosis. Most regular doctors use the CDC ELISA test for Lyme, which reports a lot of false negatives. I”m sending you NH Lyme info if you want to find a doctor who knows how to diagnose and treat Lyme correctly. Luckily Doxy is the drug of choice for Lyme too. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  6. bozena Says:

    My daughter was diagnosed with ITP [idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura] 3 years ago. She is just 21. This is chronic and progressing illness. We are devastated. She is not responding to steroids anymore. Bone loss, weight gain, damage to all her body after 3 years of steroid therapy is just too much. Now her hematologist is preping us for Retuxin. This is very difficult. We have heard that Ehrlichia can cause low platelets count. My daughter is in serious condition. I have to make sure that we will check all before making another decision.
    She was in the hospital few times to bust her platelets, the lowest count was 4000. 3 years ago the ID dr. was checking on her and told us that was no problem, but we never got any report from him about what he did actually. To all readers: PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE LOW PLATELETS SYMPTOMS.
    Any sugestions from you,Pamela?
    Thank you for your attention.
    Bozena

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      So sorry to hear of your daughter’s health problems, Bozena. Thanks for the warning. If you want to check to know for sure if your daughter does or does not have Ehrlichia, I’d recommend she see a Lyme specialist. I can send you info on how to find one if you let me know where you live. I agree it’s a good idea to check out as many possibilities for her illness that you can.
      Thanks for asking.

      Reply

    • bozena Says:

      Thank you Pamela.
      We live in Jersey City New Jersey. Zip code area 07307. I made the app. to see ID doctor on March 12 in Westfield NJ.By the recommendation from other doctor. But I’m not sure if she is a Lyme specialist.
      My daughter platelets is very unstable, and as I said before, her Hemo dr. is tapering steroids due to serious site effects.
      We were looking at her old blood work ,from the time she was diagnosed with ITP and her lymphocytes were 986 with platelets count28000.She did not take steroids then.
      Now her liver enzymes are elevated..
      There is so many issues with no answers.
      Please , if you can send us info about Lyme specialist,maybe you can include few of them …often there can be the insurance issue.
      Thank you so very much,
      Bozena

      Reply

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        I’m sending NJ Lyme info, Bozena, so you can consult a Lyme specialist. Good luck! Let us know what you find out. Thanks again for asking.

    • bozena Says:

      hello Pamela,
      thanks for all the info .
      Can you please check again if you have any Lyme specialist in NJ .The one I have from you is from NY.Thanks again.
      Bozena
      I already send the emails to all contacts but there is no response for now.

      Reply

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Bozena, I sent you what I have – Lyme support groups in NJ, who you can ask about who the nearby doctors are, and Lyme doctors near you in NY. I have no other lists for your area.

      • bozena Says:

        thank you

  7. nora Says:

    Question: If ehrlichia can cause elevated liver enzyme levels . . . How do I get my liver back to normal? I was on doxycycline for 30 days after I was diagnosed with ehrlichia. What else can be done about the liver?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Nora, 30 days of Doxy usually isn’t enough to get rid of Ehrlichia. Search online for liver support herbal remedies. Milk thistle is one, but there are others. Also make sure you’re taking a good probiotic daily. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

  8. Kevin Says:

    I had a deer tick making a cozy home in my belly button and caused soreness and a small red rash. I have since had mild intermittent flu like symtoms for the last 2 years after the bite. I have been tested for lyme which has come up negative. What other tests should I get?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Kevin, the CDC Lyme tests, which most regular doctors & ERs use, famously report many false negatives. The current gold standard is the IGeneX test, a private lab. Your best bet is to get the test through a Lyme specialist. If you tell me where you live (city/state), I’ll send you info on how to find one. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  9. Pam Dodd Says:

    Sara – Your email address doesn’t work. Sorry.

    Reply

    • sara Says:

      I also noticed on my own that quinine helped, but couldnt take it long as thats its nature. Had energy a good 4 months afterward, and hair grew 4 inches in 8 weeks. (never grows otherwise). Also removed some itchy “heat blotch” type rash I’d get on face especially when sweating/hot. I have two babies both pregnant with lyme before they knew its important to treat, one teen with heart / chest pain and want to find a good llmd, thanks

      Reply

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Hopefully the info I sent you will lead you to a Lyme doctor who can help you and your family. Keep us posted.

  10. sara Says:

    Hello,
    I am from east coast, living in OK, and cannot find a lyme doc. Do you have a list of any? We have pig-headed docs out here who think “lyme doesnt exist in OK” is a reason to not see me (I got it in new england area and had borderline ehrlichia by pcr over ten years ago never acted upon). Horrid night sweats, bone pain, daily headache, kidney damage, daily fever, unable to turn head, and whatever it is, it is contagious via dishes, and intimacy. Eye discharge as well very bad in the mornings, and sinus inflammation.

    I have noticed, that whatever this contagious element is, that just having eaten at someones home, leaves the next batch of eaters, coming down most frequently with “mono” (even several same time one family?) and secondly, “the rarer diabetes” almost comatose etc.
    ZERO doctors have listened to me about this or taken it seriously, but after almost 40 years, a distinct pattern arises that is hard for the one in common (me) to ignore.

    Please know of one, I am so so so tired and fed up with not finding any ID’s who even know about lyme in OK. Thanks

    PS, FYI, son got it twice in this state, (where it “doesnt exist”) besides me having when pregnant (since 30+ years treated over a decade late) — both times, ER confirmed, and was from mosquito bites. :) It only depends on the animals those biting insects have fed upon, to get it. Its so bad here, a woman in the panhandle area last year died from it due to doctorly ignorance.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • sara Says:

      I probably typed it wrong.
      BTW, 245 days of Rocephin ten years ago (14 too late) didnt even dent whatever ticky thing this is, and of course, 7 east coast specialists in Lyme (before co-infections known about) ruled out everything else.

      Thanks

      Reply

  11. sylvia s Says:

    I need help finding a doctor knowledgeable in treating Lymes disease.Tick bite was end of August. Rapidly getting worse.Doxcycline sent me to ER with sharp stomach pain. Lyme and RH tests came back negative. I live in Chippewa Falls , WI. Are there any drs knowledgeable in treating lymes in the Eau Claire area. I am an insulin diabetic also. I would appreciate any help I could get.

    Sylvia

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Sylvia, WI Lyme info is on its way. If you take Doxy again, take it with food and you should be OK. Please find a Lyme doctor; most regular doctors use the CDC Lyme tests, which are famous for reporting false negatives. thanks for asking.

      Reply

  12. Candy Says:

    Well, I am feeling really awful. My dog accidentally bit me while barking at another dog. My leg got in the way. He has erlichiosis and I am treating him w doxy. Now today I am having d/v, fever, chills, no appetite, (these have all been getting progressively worse for a week.) headache. I have lymes and bartonella, was taking doxycycline, but have developed worse d., and also azithromycin, which put my heart into multiple arrhthmias so, stopped that. (it also dropped my bp to 70/40). my llmd is not around right now for the whole erlichia thing. taking massive probiotics to combat the d thing, (did I mention I lived in an endemic area…nature woods in MN for 15 years. ticks, flies, fleas, mosquitoes, whatever…abundant. and of course when I had all these symptoms I was told for 3 years i was depressed. well. i never knew depression could give you d/v, fever, and massive headache. well, in any event. I am doing fluids, and resting, and hoping i can eventually tolerate any antibiotic. almost every one is off my list of ables now…as i look at what i’ve written, i can see that i am rambling lymie brain now…so, g’nite. any tips on non antibiotic help for this stuff would be welcome. the docs around here are no help. i see my llmd next week, long travels. thanks. best to all of you on your journey. it’s a trip.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Candy, I’m not a doctor, nor do I have much experience with non-antibiotic treatment for Lyme. I do know that many people with Lyme like Stephen Buhner’s herbal protocol. You might see if any of that can help you. Good luck!

      Reply

  13. Luke Says:

    Would love to find a LLMD around my area (Los Angeles). Tested positive for HGE test back in 2006.

    IGM Western Blot Results
    31++
    34 IND
    39 IND
    41 IND
    45+
    All the rest were negative.

    HGE panel for Erhlichiosis done which came back IGG positive 1:160 was my score.

    Was symptom free for a few years but now it seems like they came back on me. Any direction here would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      I’m sending you CA Lyme info, Luke. Lyme can come back, even if you and your doctor had thought your previous treatment had gotten rid of it. HGE (now called Anaplasmosis) is usually eradicated with 4 months of Doxycycline. Repeat Western Blots are inconclusive because the body can retain antibodies to Lyme well after it’s gone. Do you have symptoms again? Is there a chance you’ve been bitten again – by a tick or another biting insect (mosquito, fly, fleas for example)? Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  14. Randi Says:

    I currently have this now, and it sucks. When my mom told me about this, I wanted to do some research. I usually have head aches as a daily thing but it’s worse than I’ve had it before. Now that I read this, I actually know what I have. And quick question. With this disease is it normal to not eat? I’m on day 6 of this now and the first 3 days I didn’t eat at all. Now I’m just back and forth.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Randi, if you’re taking an antibiotic for Ehrlichia, it could affect your stomach. I’d go with what your body does or does not want. You need to take good care of yourself when you’re getting rid of Ehrlichia: more rest, drinking more fluids (water and tea, not cokes or other sugary drinks), and not overdoing it when you do feel a little better. Getting over this can feel like a roller coaster. Give yourself space to heal. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  15. Dana Says:

    I was diagnosed with ehrlichiosis (HME) in 2006. I was 29. I live in Ky, My first symptom was stomach flu (n/v), fever 105 degrees, headache worse than any migraine, and when my mother got me to the Dr. office a B/p of 70/40. 40/15 in the Ambulance ride to the hosp. ( My norm.. is 100/60 ) and im a RN so I am one of those, ill take care of my self people, I was in a coma after the first few hours. I ended up in a major hospital in ICU with extremly low platelets, DIC, elevated liver enzymes, Heart rate of almost 200 BPM, 2 blood clots in my brain,right leg paralyzed from the knee down, bleeding ulcers, etc… Thank God for infectious disease doctors (Started I.V. doxycycline stat) that quizzed my family and found out that we had all been fishing 2 weeks before and then the week before, I had sprayed weeds on our 6 acres ( I know such a womanly thing to do LOL !) I never knew a tick bit me, was on me, or anything, The Dr said, The “lone star tick” only has to be on you for a few seconds to infect you.(Blood tested positive for HME ) Anyway, After a month of physical rehab of moving my right leg and the blood clots dissolving.I was on the doxycycline for one entire year and had ” recurring fever” every month.. it was like a timer I could set to the day, fine and then on that day fever to 105. Start doxy… fever gone. Now 5 years later I have found out I have extensive pancreatic damage from this.. Does anyone know of a specialist for long term health problems from tick borne illness? Thanks and God Bless you all. Dana

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Quite a story, Dana. I’ve not heard any doctors say you can get a tick-borne illness immediately after a tick bite, but it doesn’t surprise me that it could happen. I got Anaplasmosis (formerly HME – Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis) and acute Lyme from a fly bite. You might not have been bitten by a tick. You also don’t mention if you were tested for other tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme, Relapsing Fever, Babesia, and Batonella. I’m sending you info on who I think might be able to help you. Thanks for asking.

      Reply

  16. MImi Says:

    What are the chances of getting Anaplasmosis and not Lyme or another co-infection? My husband was originally diagnosed with severe bronchitis, then Lyme based on clinical presentation, then the Lyme diagnosis was withdrawn by his GP and an infectious disease specialist because “the rash doesn’t look like typical Lyme.” The doctors refused to test for Lyme or any co-infections.

    The rash was later diagnosed by a rheumatologist as Erythema Nodosum which I know is consistent with Bartonella. My husband also had incredible drenching night sweats consistent with Babesiosis. He has or has had 2 pages of symptoms all consistent with tick borne illnesses, but instead the doctors have tested for and ruled out rheumatic illness, Legionaires Disease,Sarcoidosis, Parvo, etc. Now they want to rule out Lymphoma.

    We talked the rheumatologist into testing for Lyme and co-infections, though Bartonella wasn’t tested for. So far, he is positive for Anaplasmosis and Mycoplasma but they said negative for Lyme (they haven’t told us anything specific on which test or lab).

    The rheumatologist said that his symptoms, in particular his swelling, are profound and couldn’t be caused by a little Anaplasmosis. I think that’s because he also has Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, and we know Mycoplasma. The doctor thinks because he has something else like Lymphoma.

    So, I’m wondering what the chances are of contracting Anaplasmosis without any other tick borne infections or if having 1 increases your chances of having others.

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Mimi: I suppose some people do contract Anaplasmosis (formerly granulocytic Ehrlichia) without Lyme. I got it from a fly bite two years after my Lyme diagnosis, but I also got an acute Lyme infection with it. My symptoms were nothing like your husband’s. It was gone with 4 months of Doxycycline, which I was taking for chronic Lyme anyway. I think you’ve got it all figured out. You just need to find a Lyme-literate specialist to confirm it. Unfortunately that’s not most rheumatologists, or infectious disease specialists for that matter. If you tell me where you live, I’ll send you info on how to find a Lyme doc. Your husband needs to get off the wild-goose-chase merry go round (not to mix metaphors). So glad you asked.

      Reply

      • MImi Says:

        Thank you for all of your help and support! My husband got in to see an LLMD to get all of his testing through Igenex. We have an appointment with yet another specialist in a few weeks. He is currently being treated with Doxy, Zithro, and Plaquenil and is feeling better but still having symptoms. I was able to get copies of his Quest Lab Western Blot and he was positive on IGg Bands 41 and 58. I am certain he at least has Bartonella because of his bone pain, Erythema Nodosum, etc in addition to Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and Mycoplasma, and I still suspect Babesiosis. It is going to be a long road to healing but at least we feel like we are heading in the right direction. Thanks again!

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Hooray, Mimi! I reread your previous comments on this site. You’ve been doing a fantastic job helping your husband get diagnosed and treated. Keep the pressure on to get him tested for everything but the kitchen sink. Most of us with Lyme have far more co-infections and reactivated dormant viruses, etc. than we realize. You unfortunately can’t treat them all at once. And some will abate without direct treatment as the immune system recovers. But it is a long, roller coaster, often two-steps-forward-three-steps-back healing process. I’ve been at it 6 years. I’m MUCH improved and feeling almost like my old self of 15-20 years ago (I’ve probably had Lyme for over 35 years). So glad I could help in any small way. Onward!

  17. Elise Says:

    My mother just got diagnosed with Ehlichiosis and hospitalized for it. She is 76 years old and presented with high fever (104.7 for 3 1/2 days) as the main symptom but had the headache, chills cough and nausea. What is scary is we barely remembered her getting the tick bite and all her symptons seemed to be like a virus. Thankfully her doctor admitted her into the the hospital, started the Doxy and her fever dropped in less than 24 hours. She is still suffering from very low platelet(spelling!) but hopefully after 5 days and counting she will be coming home soon. Thanks for all the great info about this illness!!

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Else, I’m glad your mother is feeling better. She may have gotten Ehrlichia from another biting insect besides a tick. Mosquitoes, flies, and fleas also can carry it. I got Ehrlichia separate from my Lyme from a fly or mosquito bite on my neck in my front courtyard in Florida. No grass. No ticks. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

  18. Brandt Says:

    I’ve just had a positive blood test for Ehrlichiosis after three years’ dealing with Lyme disease and related coinfections. Three years ago I had huge amounts of doxycycline for three months, starting at 100mg twice a day for a month and then going up gradually to 800mg a day over a period of two months. Is it likely I still actually have Ehrlichiosis and that it will respond to Doxycycline, or do you think I just still have the antibodies? In other words, is it worth starting Doxycycline again?

    Reply

    • Pam Dodd Says:

      Brandt: You’d think your Doxy treatment would have handled the Ehrlichia if you had it three years ago. It’s more likely your positive test is remaining antibodies. On the other hand, if your Ehrlichiosis is a new infection, you will need to go back on Doxy. You probably know you can get it from mosquitos too. What does your doctor say?

      Reply

      • Brandt Says:

        Thanks, Pam–I just saw your response. This is the first my doc has discovered the Ehrlichia antibodies. The count was pretty high, so even though we’re not sure I still have it, we’re treating it as a new infection with a month’s worth of Doxy at 400 mg/day.

        Another question: Can Ehrlichia and/or Bartonella cause stabbing pains in or behind the eyes?

        Thanks again.

      • Pam Dodd Says:

        Brandt: Four months of Doxy is very good at getting rid of Ehrlichia, especially the granulocytic kind now called Anaplasmosis. The monocytic kind takes longer. So you need to 1) find out which kind you have and 2) discuss with your doctor getting more than a month’s worth of Doxy.

        I haven’t heard of either Ehrlichia or Bartonella causing pains in or behind the eyes. That’s more of a Lyme symptom. Then again any combo of infections can cause a variety of symptoms.

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