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Anaplasmosis

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Disease Details

Incubation Period:

  • 1 - 2 weeks

Transmission Type(s):

Disease Reservoirs

Disease Agents

Case-in-Point

On July 30, 2009, David Letterman announced that he had been infected with anaplasmosis. He believes he was most likely bitten by an infected tick while camping with his 5-year-old son in their tree house. (Wikipedia)

About Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis is a tickborne disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It was previously known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and has more recently been called human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Of the four distinct phases in the tick life-cycle (egg, larvae, nymph, adult), nymphal and adult ticks are most frequently associated with transmission of anaplasmosis to humans.

Geographic Distribution

Anaplasmosis is most frequently reported from the upper midwestern and northeastern United States. The areas from which cases are reported correspond with the known geographic distribution of Lyme disease. The tick responsible for transmission of A. phagocytophilum in the upper Midwest and northeastern U.S. is the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis).

Seasonality

Although cases of anaplasmosis can occur during any month of the year, the majority of cases reported to the CDC have an illness onset during the summer months and a peak in cases typically occurs in the months of June and July. This period is the season for increased numbers of nymphal black-legged ticks, which is the primary life stage of this tick that bites humans and may transmit the pathogen.

Persons at Risk

The frequency of reported cases of anaplasmosis is highest among males and people over 40 years of age. A compromised immune system (such as may occur through cancer treatments, advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection, prior organ transplants, or some medications) may increase the risk of severe outcome. Individuals who reside near or spend time in known tick habitats may be at increased risk for infection.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks of a tick bite. Anaplasmosis is initially diagnosed based on symptoms and clinical presentation, and later confirmed by the use of specialized laboratory tests. The first line treatment for adults and children of all ages is doxycycline. Anaplasmosis and other tickborne diseases can be prevented.

Anaplasmosis Prevention

While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.

Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin

  • Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
  • Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.External Web Site Icon

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
  • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)

Read More

Read more about Anaplasmosis at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website