Gastrointestinal and hepatic symptoms of tickborne diseases

Vnitr Lek. 2020 Summer;66(4):232-235.


While investigating patients with gastrointestinal (GI) and/or hepatic symptoms, tickborne diseases are only rarely considered to be the cause. However, the Czech Republic is an endemic region for several of tickborne diseases and, therefore, they should be a part of differential diagnosis of GI symptoms of unknown origin. This article describes GI and hepatic symptoms of several tickborne diseases - Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, tickborne relapsing fever, Q fever and babesiosis. GI and hepatic symptoms are quite common in Lyme disease patients. The prognosis is generally favourable with antibiotics treatment, however, serious courses have been described. Lyme disease should be a part of differential diagnosis of liver tests elevation and GI symptoms in patients from endemic regions regardless erythema migrans presence. Ehrlichiosis should be a part of differential diagnosis of acute febrile illness with GI symptoms especially in the presence of leukopenia/thrombocytopenia and/or liver tests elevation. Tularemia should be considered as a rare etiology of cholestatic hepatopathy and a history of a tick bite. In general, the importance of careful patient interviewing, including the history of a tick bite, can be highlighted also as a part of investigation of patients with seemingly unrelated GI and/or hepatic symptoms.

Keywords: Colorado tick fever; Lyme disease; Q fever; Rocky mountain spotted fever; babesiosis; ehrlichiosis; gastrointestinal diseases; hepatic diseases; symptom; symptoms; tick -borne relapsing fever; tularemia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Czech Republic
  • Ehrlichiosis* / complications
  • Ehrlichiosis* / diagnosis
  • Ehrlichiosis* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Liver
  • Lyme Disease*
  • Tick-Borne Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Tick-Borne Diseases* / epidemiology