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Abstract

Introduction. Ehrlichia are obligate intracellular pathogens transmitted to vertebrates by ticks.

Case presentation. We report the case of a 59-year-old man who presented to the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Medical Center (Lexington, KY, USA) after being found fallen down in the woods. A lumbar puncture revealed what appeared to be bacterial meningitis, yet cerebrospinal fluid cultures, Gram stains and a meningitis/encephalitis panel were inconclusive. However, an Ehrlichia DNA PCR of the blood resulted as being positive for Ehrlichia chaffeensis antibodies. The patient received a 14 day course of doxycycline, and recovered from his multiple organ failure. The aetiology of the ehrlichial meningoencephalitis was likely transmission through a tick-bite, due to the patient’s outdoor exposure.

Conclusion. While it is rare to see Ehrlichia as a cause of meningitis, this illness can progress to severe multisystem disease with septic shock, meningoencephalitis or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Those with compromised immunity are at a higher risk of developing the more severe form of the disease and have higher case fatality rates.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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2018-07-27
2022-01-18
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