Clinical manifestations, epidemiology, and laboratory diagnosis of human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis in a commercial laboratory setting

Juan P. Olano, Wayne Hogrefe, Brent Seaton, David H. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory diagnostic issues of human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (HME) were investigated in a retrospective case study conducted at a national reference laboratory (Focus Technologies, formerly MRL Reference Laboratory), and at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas, during 1997 and 1998. Standard questionnaires were sent to physicians for each laboratory-diagnosed patient 2 days to 2 weeks after immunofluorescent antibody assay results were available. Among the 41 cases for which data were obtained, 32 (78%) were definite cases of HME, and 9 (22%) were probable cases of HME. Tick bite or exposure to ticks was recorded in more than 97% of cases. The most prominent clinical findings were fever, abdominal tenderness, and regional lymphadenopathy. There was an association between age and severity of illness. The main laboratory findings included leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase. Clinical and laboratory findings were nonspecific and were not good predictors of the severity of illness. The 90% of patients who received doxycycline treatment underwent rapid clinical improvement with a favorable outcome. The usual duration of effective treatment with doxycycline was 7 to 10 days. This retrospective study is unique because it was based in a commercial reference laboratory setting that receives specimens from different geographic locations. The clinical and laboratory information from 41 patients provides insight into the epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory characteristics of HME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-896
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)

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