Symptoms of ehrlichiosis usually begin one to two weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, malaise, muscle pain, confusion, red eyes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. A skin rash is not a common symptom of ehrlichiosis, but some people infected with Ehrlichia may develop one. The rash is more common in children with the disease than in adults.
Ehrlichiosis is a serious disease that can be fatal if not treated appropriately. While anyone can get ehrlichiosis, people with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk for severe disease and death.
The symptoms of ehrlichiosis can be non-specific and vary from person to person, making diagnosis difficult. Because treatment with antibiotics is more effective when started earlier in the illness, a prompt diagnosis based upon clinical signs and symptoms can be important. Blood collected at the time of diagnosis can then be used to confirm the diagnosis.