If a tick carrying the bacterium that causes ehrlichiosis has been feeding on you for at least 24 hours, the following flu-like signs and symptoms may appear within five to 14 days of the bite:

  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Cough

Some people infected with ehrlichiosis may have symptoms so mild that they never seek medical attention, and the body fights off the illness on its own. But untreated ehrlichiosis with persistent symptoms can result in an illness serious enough to require hospitalization.

When to see a doctor

It may take 14 days after a tick bite for you to begin showing signs and symptoms of ehrlichiosis. If you get symptoms within two weeks of a tick bite, see your doctor. If you experience any of the above symptoms soon after you've been in an area known to have ticks, see your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor that you recently received a tick bite or visited an area with a high population of ticks.

Aug. 29, 2012