Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME)
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
- Human Ehrlichial Infection, Human Monocytic Type
Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME) is a rare infectious disease belonging to a group of diseases known as the Human Ehrlichioses. These diseases are caused by bacteria belonging to the "Ehrlichia" family. Several forms of Human Ehrlichioses have been identified, including Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Sennetsu Fever, and Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis. Though caused by different strains of Ehrlichia bacteria, the disorders are characterized by similar symptoms.
The symptoms of Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis may include a sudden high fever, headache, muscle aches (myalgia), chills, and a general feeling of weakness and fatigue (malaise) within a few weeks after initial infection. In addition, in many cases, laboratory findings may indicate an abnormally low number of circulating blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), a decrease in white blood cells (leukopenia), and an abnormal increase in the level of certain liver enzymes (hepatic transaminases). In some individuals, symptoms may progress to include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and/or confusion. If HME is left untreated, life-threatening symptoms, such as kidney failure and respiratory insufficiency, may develop in some cases. Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia chaffeensis (or E. chaffeensis). E. chaffeensis is carried and transmitted by certain ticks (vectors), such as the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis).
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Last Updated: 4/7/2009
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