The bite of a Gulf Coast tick causes this condition. It’s also called Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis. This is a form of spotted fever, which means it commonly causes a rash or “spots.” But rickettsiosis is less serious than Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The two diseases share symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, and muscle aches. But with rickettsiosis, there’s usually a scab, or “eschar,” where the tick was attached. Doctors can treat it with the antibiotic doxycycline.
If a black-legged tick, or western black-legged tick, bites a rodent infected with the rickettsial bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and then bites you, it can cause anaplasmosis.
The symptoms are usually mild. You may not feel anything at all, or you may have flu-like symptoms including fever and fatigue within a week or two of the tick bite.
Named for the white dot on their back, the female Lone Star tick can carry the bacteria that causes both ehrlichiosis (say “air-lick-e-o-sus”) and Ehrlichiosis ewingii infection. The only difference between these two is the strain of ehrlichia bacteria that’s involved.
Diagnostic serologic tests are available for ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, but PCR of blood is more sensitive and specific and can result in an early diagnosis because serologic tests require comparison of serial titers. Cytoplasmic inclusions in monocytes (ehrlichiosis) or in neutrophils (anaplasmosis) may be detected, but cytoplasmic inclusions are more commonly seen in anaplasmosis.
Blood and liver tests may detect hematologic and hepatic abnormalities, such as leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated aminotransferase levels.
Note 1: Rate under the appropriate body system any residual disability of infection, which includes, but is not limited to, bone marrow, spleen, central nervous system, and skin conditions.
Note 2: This diagnostic code includes, but is not limited to, scrub typhus, Rickettsial pox, African tick-borne fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, or anaplasmosis.
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