Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ehrlichiosis Chaffeensis

As I said on a Facebook status update, the good news is I don't have Lyme disease (see the immediately previous post for discussion of this). The bad news is I have a different tick-spread disease, ehrlichiosis Chaffeensis, or e. Chaffeensis. This is something first identified at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; hence the name. Lyme disease is not common in Arkansas. My doctor said in 33 years of practice he's only had one case of it. But e. Chaffeensis is quite common. He treats it many times a year.

The blood tests they do for these tick diseases includes two tests that tell whether the disease came on the previous six weeks or longer than that. My tests proved it was more than six weeks ago. So when I had similar symptoms a year or so ago, that must be when I got the durn thing.

The further good news is that the antibiotic he put me on ten days ago seems to be working. My symptoms have drastically improved. My neck is still a little stiff, my joints still hurt a little, my brain fog is just a little bit there. But for the most part, I'm feeling tons better.

So my self-diagnosis, aided by my friend Gary, was pretty much correct, just substituting one tick disease for another. The doc wants me to take antibiotics for a month instead of two weeks, and continue to stay out of the sun as much as possible. So no noon hour walks for a while. With the temperature over a hundred today that's fine with me.

I suspect I'll be back to normal in a week or so. It will be most welcome.

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