Ehrlichia phagocytophila has been detected as a causative agent of a febrile disease in goats originating from south Switzerland. The most important clinical signs were decreased milk production, pyrexia, apathy and reduced appetit. All animals were infested with Ixodes ricinus and showed a severe leucopenia and thrombocytopenia. In buffy coat preparations Ehrlichia organisms were identified in neutrophils and in eosinophils. E. phagocytophila DNA was amplified by PCR from blood samples and from engorged ticks and characterized by sequencing of the PCR products. All goats were successfully treated with oxytetracycline. Of 80 sera tested 6 weeks after the start of pasturing 64 goats (80 %) had specific antibodies to E. phagocytophila by indirect immunfluorescence.