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Volume 18, Number 12—December 2012


Etymologia: Ehrlichia

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EID Etymologia: Ehrlichia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;18(12):2054.
AMA Etymologia: Ehrlichia. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2012;18(12):2054. doi:10.3201/eid1812.ET1812.
APA (2012). Etymologia: Ehrlichia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 18(12), 2054.

Ehrlichia [ār-lik′e-ə]

Named in honor of German scientist Paul Ehrlich, Ehrlichia is a genus of gram-negative bacteria of the family Anaplasmataceae. Although Ehrlich was not a bacteriologist and was primarily known for his work in hematology, immunology, and chemotherapy, the species Ehrlichia kurlovi was proposed in 1937 by Russian rickettsiologist Sh. D. Moshkovsky.

In 1889, Mikhail Georgiyevich Kurloff, perhaps working with Ehrlich, published a description of atypical granules in guinea pig leukocytes. These granules were assumed to be normal; rickettsiae would not be discovered for several decades. In his 1937 paper, Moshkovsky recognized the guinea pig granules as rickettsial inclusion bodies and named the genus “in honor of Paul Ehrlich, since it was in his laboratory that the first representatives of this group were discovered, and because he has contributed so much to the study of the morphology of the blood and of the agents of infectious diseases.”


  1. Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
  2. Dumler JS, Walker DH. Ehrlichia chaffeensis (human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytotropic anaplasmosis), and other Anaplasmataceae. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, editors. Principles and practices of infectious diseases, 7th ed. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone; 2010. p. 2531–8.
  3. Moshkovsky SD. Sur l’existence chez le cobaye d’une rickettsiose chronique déterminée par Ehrlichia (Rickettsia) kurlovi.CR Soc Biol.1937;126:37982.
  4. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1908, Ilya Mechnikov, Paul Ehrlich. Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1901–1921. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company; 1967.
  5. Silverstein AM. On the naming of rickettsiae after Paul Ehrlich.Bull Hist Med. 1998;72:7313 and. DOIPubMed
Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid1812.ET1812

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Table of Contents – Volume 18, Number 12—December 2012