Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that are spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Both Erhlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii are spread to humans by the bite of an infected lonestar tick in the southeastern or south central United States.
The persons most at risk for this disease include: males, people over 50 years of age, those with weakened immune systems, and people who reside near or spend time in wooded areas or areas with high grass. The highest number of Erhlichiosis cases are reported during warmer months when ticks are more active. Precautions should be taken to avoid tick bites.
Ehrlichiosisis a reportable disease in Oklahoma.
Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings
Avoid Contact with Ticks. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended.
Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.
Doxycycline is the recommended antibiotic treatment for ehrlichiosis in adults and children of all ages.