Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ryan's African tick bite fever - an update

For those who read the entry below about my recently-acquired African tick bite fever, I am happy to report that I slowly freeing myself from the disease’s achy, soporific grasp.

I have some tender lymph nodes in the region of the bite but, after a day off work yesterday and 48+ hours of doxycycline, the spring is back in my step and I am back seeing patients.

I decided to relent and share a photo of my infected bite site, or eschar (see below).

There are two reasons for this decision:
(1) The photo confirms the diagnosis and therefore [at least partially] validates my complaining and carrying on about the symptoms
(2) A few of you (especially those infectious disease specialist-types among you) have been requesting a picture.

Well, here you are:
I___________________________I = approx 1cm
For a description of what you are looking at, see the entry below titled "African arthropod + Tex-expat = African tick bite fever"


At 2:02 AM, Blogger robert said...


I found your blog while searching for information on HIV/AIDS stats in Swaziland. Your entries are informative, and in some cases, fun to read.

My husband and I have built a website for Michael and Robin Pratt who are the field directors for Leadership for Africa. You may know them as they reside in Mbabane. I would like to know if you would consider adding the site your links page.

Kind regards,
Pia Cone

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous SHA said...

Glad to hear that your health is improving.
Equally glad to see that your camera work is dextrous enough not to film a few clicks south.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Pia, Yes! I can add the link. Thank you for the comment.

Sha, if only Ohio State's athletes were so "dextrous". I hope you are well, friend.


At 10:47 PM, Blogger Steve said...

rickettsial hunh? looks a little more spirochetal to me, namely treponema pallidum, if you know what i mean, doctor boy. take your medicine and get better.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Sam said...


I got ATBF from visiting Zimbabwe last November. By the time I knew what it was, it was not worth treating. Now 6 month later I am experiencing a virus efect similar to glandular fever later stages - headaches later in the day, tiredness, lack of energy, even 'depressive' element. I am wondering if it is connected to the ATBF. Are you aware of anything longer term? Regards, James Briggs (UK) (using daughter's Google account!

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

See below for an expert's rapid-fire response to your question/concern. Please consider this advice unofficial and informal, as the forum has obvious and significnat limitations. See a doc if you get worse. Cheers. -Ryan

"You know, this whole area gets very tricky...there are certaily publications about Lyme with secondary psychiatric overlays after illness...I haven't really seen a whole lot of that with rickettsial disease but it would not surprise me, I have certainly seen (at least short term) changes in school performance etc. The problem is that most people (we think) with rickettsial disease do not require therapy (they get better on their own, like [James]) so what we know about these illnessess are based upon symptomatic people that receive therapy. If I was this guy I would definately take some doxy and see if this helps, but this becomes very cloudy and murky."

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ryan - thanks for posting this picture. Looks like the sore on my calf picked up in Mozambique last week. Untreated after 5 days I was on a drip in Joburg and prescribed amoclav 1000 2xdaily. Back in NZ today my Travel Doctor added Doxycycline 100mg x 2 to the mix. No rash or headaches but lymph modes and flu like symptoms. Get well mate! John NZ

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Lizelle said...

I got ATBF after visiting Durban in December 2008 with the typical lesion and regional enlarged lymphnode in groin, bite was on upper leg and mild rash after about 5 days, no pronounced headache or malaise. Was treated with 100mg Cyclimycin 1x/day x 10 days. Symptoms improved in few days. Now back in Texas, 7 weeks after the tick bite I experienced enlarged lymphnodes in my neckarea with no tenderness or any other symptoms lasting for 2 weeks now. My physician here initiated Doxycyclin 100mg BID 8 days ago with no improvement noted yet. Ricketsia IgM bloodwork tested negative. Any thoughts or knowledge of delayed/ relapsing symptoms with infection?

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came back from 9 days in Zim 4 days ago. Spent yesterday in bed with 101.2 fever and the twin to that photo.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experience is very similar to Ryan's above. I had ATBF for just 6 months before getting diagnosed. I did the Dox. and that cleared up the sore and the swollen glands/fever...but for going on 2 months now I have continued with lack of energy, constant ringing in my ears, and headaches late in the day if I don't take medicine. My blood pressure is higher and as a distance runner I have not been able to run longer distances and experience much greater fatigue and at the shorter distances I have been limited to. Very frustrating.


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