Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Tick-Borne Disease Creates Telling Pattern On X-Rays

Date:
August 19, 1998
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Many Americans know ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, but relatively few realize that the blood-sucking pests can trigger other dangerous illnesses such as tick paralysis, relapsing fever, Q fever, tularemia and certain forms of encephalitis.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Many Americans know ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, but relatively few realize that the blood-sucking pests can trigger other dangerous illnesses such as tick paralysis, relapsing fever, Q fever, tularemia and certain forms of encephalitis.

Now, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical scientist says both doctors and the public also should be aware of a tick-borne infection called ehrlichiosis, the cause of which in the United States was not recognized until 1986.

In studies on three North Carolina children who contracted ehrlichiosis, including one who died in 1996, Dr. Lynn A. Fordham has discovered the illness shows up on chest X-rays as increased fluid in the lungs. That finding may help doctors diagnose the condition earlier and, as a result, possibly treat it more effectively.

"Ehrlichiosis is usually mild with flu-like symptoms but can be rapidly fatal," said Fordham, assistant professor of radiology at the UNC-CH School of Medicine. "The infection should be considered when diagnosing acutely ill children with possible tick exposure and X-rays showing increased lung fluids not caused by a heart problem."

A report on the research will appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. Besides Fordham, UNC-CH authors are Drs. Charles J. Chung and Barbara B. Specter, assistant professors of radiology; David F. Merten, clinical professor of radiology; and David L. Ingram, professor of pediatrics.

"Ehrlichiosis is treatable, but needs to be diagnosed as rapidly as possible," Fordham said. "Doxycycline, an antibiotic, is effective, but doctors don't like to use it unless they have to because it can permanently discolor children's teeth."

X-raying patients transferred to intensive care units may give a quicker indication of the infection than detailed microscopic studies can, she said. Unfortunately, what is seen on X-rays is not unique to ehrlichiosis, but also occurs in other serious conditions such as organ failure, severe burns and drug reactions. Still, a few hours head start might mean the difference between life and death for a gravely ill child in an intensive care unit.

"The chance of getting any of these diseases can be reduced by decreasing exposure to ticks," Fordham said. "During tick season, people should wear light clothing, use insect repellents and check themselves and their children for ticks after being outdoors. If someone is bitten, record that information on a calendar and be sure to tell medical personnel about it if he or she develops a fever and flu-like symptoms within a few weeks."

Ehrlichiosis was first described in Algerian dogs in 1935, and Japanese scientists found that a bacterium caused a human form of the illness in 1956. Thirty years later, U.S. investigators discovered the first case of a different variety, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, at Fort Chafee, Ark. That infection chiefly occurs in the central and southeastern United States, while still another form, human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, chiefly is found in north central states.

Dog, deer and Lone Star ticks can carry ehrlichiosis bacteria, which infect and kill white blood cells, Forham said. Keeping leaves raked and bushes trimmed around homes can minimize shelter for mice and other small mammals to help keep down the tick population.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Shows Tick-Borne Disease Creates Telling Pattern On X-Rays." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081124.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1998, August 19). Study Shows Tick-Borne Disease Creates Telling Pattern On X-Rays. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081124.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Shows Tick-Borne Disease Creates Telling Pattern On X-Rays." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081124.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins