Real People Stories – Carolina

The CBC Test story of how I survived a tick bite when infectious disease specialists were unable to help. The story about getting acquainted with the IGG analysis for ehrlichiosis is quite old but very fresh in my memory. Such things are remembered.

The Tick Bite Incident

In 2018, a tick attached itself to me. I removed it quickly; it didn’t even go completely under the skin, and it was very easy to get it out. In our region, infected ticks are rare, and many of my hiking friends remove dozens without consequences. So I, without thinking about anything, just flushed the tick down the toilet and forgot about it. There was no fever, and everything was fine. I just remembered about the bite.

Initial Symptoms and Misdiagnosis

But after two weeks, something strange started happening to me; I had aching pains all over my body as if my spine and all my bones were being pulled out, my head was hurting terribly, and a day later, my temperature rose to 39+. I still don’t remember about the tick… I call an ambulance. They take me to the hospital. They check my kidneys and gynaecology, do CBC blood and urine tests, do a CT scan, and everything is normal; they prescribe levofloxacin (antibiotic) and send me home (to the clinic).

Persistent Symptoms

Days go by. I don’t feel any better. The pain and fever remain. I bring the fever down with antipyretics, but it rises again as soon as the effect wears off. And only then do I remember about the tick.

Frustration with Medical Treatment

I call a taxi and go to the infectious diseases hospital. I even went with my things; I thought they would admit me 😂

There was a lot of interesting stuff waiting for me there, from the “I hate our CBC medicine” category. But if, without details, they tell me that it is not Crimean fever and then ask if there was erythema around the bite, I say “no,” and they tell me, “and not borreliosis.” Goodbye.

Borreliosis and Further Investigations

I’m going home. I continue to writhe in pain and heat. I read a lot about borreliosis and other infections. I’m going to get tested for borreliosis, just in case. Clean.

I’ve been suffering for the second month now. I did the Complete Blood Count test. My blood counts are starting to get worse. ESR and neutrophils are growing. Lymphocytes are falling. So, I went to a private infectious disease specialist. The doctor looks at the CBC tests for borreliosis and says, “It’s not borreliosis”. Thank you, Captain Obvious 🗿 They prescribe tests for herpes, find out that I have cats and prescribe a test for toxoplasmosis and a bunch of other unnecessary tests. Everything is negative. I leave with nothing and with Polyoxidonium suppositories to boost my immunity.

Desperation and Declining Healthcare

The second month is coming to an end. I’m already sick of the pain. I’m losing my appetite. I eat two spoons of broth a day. I’m starting to get severe headaches of an indescribable intensity. The ESR continues to grow, and the lymphocytes continue to fall.

Liver function tests and creatinine begin to rise.

With my last strength, I continued to read the Internet and search for borreliosis. Suddenly, it did not manifest itself immediately. This is negative.

I came across an IGG article about ehrlichiosis on the internet and realised that this is the only thing I still need to test for.

Challenges in Getting checked

I start looking for where I can take the CBC panel test. Unfortunately, it turns out that NOWHERE. I call all the labs, and they ask me again and say, “borreliosis?” I say “no, ehrlichiosis.” Someone asks, “What is it?” Someone answers that they don’t do that. You could only test a tick for it, not your blood.

Finally, Finding a Local Facility

In the end, I finally found one place where they do such a CBC Blood analysis. It’s an epidemiology centre. Well, and even then, with a caveat. I went there, barely standing with sweat on my forehead and saying that I was dying and no one was helping me with anything because they said there was nothing to treat, PLEASE! And looking at me with a sympathetic look, the girl says: okay, but we don’t have the opportunity to take your blood, but there is a lab where we can test it. If you can bring the blood in a test tube within an hour of taking it, then bring it.

I went to the lab to find out where they could take my blood and give it to me 😂 I took the IGG test tube to the epidemiology centre.

Diagnosis Confirmation

The results were ready in a few days.

Yeah, in theory, LG M is responsible for the acute phase of the disease, and Ig G shows antibodies after the disease. Well, everyone already knows this.

But, in my situation, since I had been sick for several months and there was no IGG treatment.

Common Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis

The most common symptoms of ehrlichiosis are:

– Fever, chills;

– Skin rash (usually large-spotted, bright pink);

– Fatigue, tiredness,

– Headache, muscle pain, joint pain;

– Lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea;

– Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath),

– Enlarged lymph nodes.

Frustration with Medical Knowledge

The most interesting thing is that when I ran to the infectious disease specialist with these IGG results, it turned out that she didn’t know what it was! No, she had heard about it, but she said that she had never encountered ehrlichiosis in people 🗿 and it only occurs in animals, more often in dogs. She googled CBC something, sat on the Internet for about 10 minutes and was prescribed Unidox (an antibiotic with the active ingredient doxycycline) for 10 days, which turned out to be just a ridiculous course.

I recommended conducting them from time to time. This is a great indicator of any underlying issues in CBC Blood Tests and helps determine the need for more specific checks.