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Vet. Sci. 2016, 3(3), 20; doi:10.3390/vetsci3030020

Ehrlichioses: An Important One Health Opportunity

Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ulrike Munderloh
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 23 August 2016 / Accepted: 25 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Studies in Tick-Borne Diseases in Animals and Humans)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [261 KB, uploaded 31 August 2016]


Ehrlichioses are caused by obligately intracellular bacteria that are maintained subclinically in a persistently infected vertebrate host and a tick vector. The most severe life-threatening illnesses, such as human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis and heartwater, occur in incidental hosts. Ehrlichia have a developmental cycle involving an infectious, nonreplicating, dense core cell and a noninfectious, replicating reticulate cell. Ehrlichiae secrete proteins that bind to host cytoplasmic proteins and nuclear chromatin, manipulating the host cell environment to their advantage. Severe disease in immunocompetent hosts is mediated in large part by immunologic and inflammatory mechanisms, including overproduction of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), which is produced by CD8 T lymphocytes, and interleukin-10 (IL-10). Immune components that contribute to control of ehrlichial infection include CD4 and CD8 T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-12, and antibodies. Some immune components, such as TNF-α, perforin, and CD8 T cells, play both pathogenic and protective roles. In contrast with the immunocompetent host, which may die with few detectable organisms owing to the overly strong immune response, immunodeficient hosts die with overwhelming infection and large quantities of organisms in the tissues. Vaccine development is challenging because of antigenic diversity of E. ruminantium, the necessity of avoiding an immunopathologic response, and incomplete knowledge of the protective antigens. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ehrlichia canis; Ehrlichia chaffeensis; Ehrlichia ewingii; Ehrlichia muris; Ehrlichia ruminantium; canine ehrlichiosis; human ehrlichiosis; heartwater; immunopathology; mouse models Ehrlichia canis; Ehrlichia chaffeensis; Ehrlichia ewingii; Ehrlichia muris; Ehrlichia ruminantium; canine ehrlichiosis; human ehrlichiosis; heartwater; immunopathology; mouse models
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Saito, T.B.; Walker, D.H. Ehrlichioses: An Important One Health Opportunity. Vet. Sci. 2016, 3, 20.

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