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Human exposure to a granulocytic Ehrlichia and other tick-borne agents in Connecticut.

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Abstract

Indirect fluorescent-antibody (IFA) staining methods with Ehrlichia equi (MRK or BDS strains) and Western blot analyses containing a human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) agent (NCH-1 strain) were used to confirm probable human cases of infection in Connecticut during 1995 and 1996. Also included were other tests for Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the agent of human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), Babesia microti, and Borrelia burgdorferi. Thirty-three (8.8%) of 375 patients who had fever accompanied by marked leukopenia or thrombocytopenia were serologically confirmed as having HGE. Western blot analyses of a subset of positive sera confirmed the results of the IFA staining methods for 15 (78.9%) of 19 seropositive specimens obtained from different persons. There was frequent detection of antibodies to a 44-kDa protein of the HGE agent. Serologic testing also revealed possible cases of
Lyme borreliosis (n = 142), babesiosis (n = 41), and HME (n = 21). Forty-seven (26.1%) of 180 patients had antibodies to two or more tick-borne agents. Therefore, when one of these diseases is clinically suspected or diagnosed, clinicians should consider the possibility of other current or past tick-borne infections.

J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Oct;36(10):2823-7. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, Non-P.H.S.; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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