Florida Health officials have issued a warning about ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne and potentially fatal disease emerging in Florida.
Patients can die from organ failure if not treated promptly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that ehrlichiosis is being grossly underreported in the U.S., with up to 99% of infections slipping through the statistical cracks.
The main culprit? Lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum).
Ehrlichiosis is the most common tick-borne disease in Florida
Most people know about Lyme disease, another tick-borne illness that's common in Florida. For some reason, the public is not familiar with ehrlichiosis.
The most common symptoms cross into other similar diseases. These include:
- Fever, chills
- Muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia)
- Impaired mental capacity
- Rash (more commonly reported among children)
Only a few people actually develop the above symptoms, CDC warns. The combination of symptoms and their severity is different from person to person, but ehrlichiosis can be fatal in most cases.
Florida is on a death spiral when it comes to ehrlichiosis. The case numbers skyrocketed from less than ten reported cases a year in the early 2000s to over 30 cases in 2019. The rise of ehrlichiosis is not to be taken lightly. Delay in treatment can result in life-long health complications and death.
Counties at greatest risks of the tick-borne illness are:
However, if a tick bites you, please exercise caution. Call your doctor and follow the common safety measures on removing the tick from your skin.
Are you worried about the rising numbers of ehrlichiosis cases in Florida? Share your thoughts in the comments below and share this story with your friends and family.
Disclaimer! This article is not medical advice and should now be considered as such. Please, always consult with medical professionals regarding any severe illness. If you get bit by a tick, call your doctor.
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