Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis, also called Ehrlichiosis disease, is a disease of dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites. HGE, now called anaplasmosis, was first described in 1994.

The two most important such diseases are:

  • Human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME);
  • Human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE).

The bacterium Ehrlichia chaffeensis causes HME. HGE is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

How common is anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis is more common in the elderly. The average age of people getting anaplasmosis is 67 years. It can affect patients at any age and sex. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
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Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites. Ticks pass A. phagocytophilum to humans through a bite. These ticks are black-legged ticks named Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus.

There are many risk factors for anaplasmosis, such as staying outside during warm months if you live or visit an area with high number of ticks. Tick population is the biggest during spring and summer.

After the bite, generally 1 to 2 weeks will pass before symptoms start. Then, people may develop a sudden fever with headaches, muscle aches, chills, and general weakness. Nausea, vomiting, cough, diarrhea, and loss of appetite also occur.

These symptoms can be confused with those of flu.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

After obtaining a complete history and physical examination, to make a diagnosis, the doctor will do blood tests. These include a complete blood count, tests of the kidneys and liver, and special tests such as polymerase chain reaction.

Other tests to help exclude conditions that may mimic anaplasmosis may be needed. These diseases are Lyme disease, mononucleosis, blood malignancies, viral hepatitis, inflammation of bile ducts, and community-acquired pneumonia.

If there are neurological signs or symptoms, the doctor may want a lumbar puncture to make sure that meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain) is not present. In a lumbar puncture, the doctor puts a needle into the spinal column through the lower back to get spinal fluid.

Antibiotics are given right away if the disorder is anaplasmosis. Anaplasmosis can be a serious illness that can be fatal if not treated correctly, even in previously healthy people.

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with anaplasmosis:

  • Find a doctor if you had a tick bite and now have a fever, or you have headaches with fever, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Remember that symptoms may last up to 2 months without treatment.
  • Remember to wear light-colored clothing when in tick-infested areas. You can better see ticks on your clothes.

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