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Quick Uptakes
November 24, 1999

New Assay for Ehrlichiosis

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JAMA. 1999;282(20):1908. doi:10.1001/jama.282.20.1908-JQU90009-2-1

Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine have set their sights on next summer's tick season with the development of a new, more reliable assay for the detection of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE).

The bacterium that causes HGE is transmitted by the same ticks responsible for the spread of Lyme disease and babesiosis. The availability of sensitive, specific diagnostic tests is important because patients diagnosed with one tickborne illness are at risk of having additional tick-related infections. Diagnosis of HGE has been difficult because symptoms do not include a rash, as in Lyme disease, and current testing methods using indirect fluorescent-antibody assays and immunoblot analysis are variable and expensive.