Ehrlichiosis | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of ehrlichiosis?

The symptoms of ehrlichiosis are like the symptoms of the flu. Symptoms usually begin 1 to 2 weeks after you've been bitten by an infected tick, but they may take up to 1 month to appear. You might have the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise (a general feeling of not being well)
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Rash (this symptom is more common in children who have ehrlichiosis)

Most cases of ehrlichiosis are very mild. Some people who have ehrlichiosis do not develop symptoms and their bodies fight off the infection without treatment.

However, ehrlichiosis can become serious if the infection isn't caught in the early stages. Symptoms of a more serious case of ehrlichiosis include:

  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Kidney failure

Because ehrlichiosis feels like the flu at first, it's very important to see your doctor if you feel like you have the flu a few days to a few weeks after you've been bitten by a tick. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened. If you know what kind of tick bit you, be sure to give your doctor that information, also.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 11/96

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