What is Anaplasmosis Disease?
Anaplasmosis known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE). HGE is a tick-related disease caused by a species of bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. HGA is transmitted to humans by the bite of the deer tick and western black-legged tick.
Anaplasmosis is most commonly reported in the Northeastern and upper Midwestern states. In rare cases, anaplasma phagocytophilum has been exposed by blood transfusion.
See your doctor if you become ill after having been bitten by a tick or having been in the woods or in areas with high brush where ticks commonly live.
- Symptoms of anaplasmosis typically begin within 1–2 weeks after the bite of an infected tick.
- Tick bites are usually painless, and many people do not remember being bitten.
Early signs and symptoms (days 1-5) are usually mild or moderate and may include:
- Fever, chills
- Severe headache
- Muscle aches
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
Rarely, if treatment is delayed or if there are other medical conditions present, anaplasmosis can cause severe illness. Prompt treatment can reduce your risk of developing severe illness.
Signs and symptoms of severe (late stage) illness can include:
- Respiratory failure
- Bleeding problems
- Organ failure
Risk factors for severe illness:
- Delayed treatment
- Age: being older puts you at risk
- There is no vaccine to prevent anaplasmosis. Prevent illness by preventing tick bites, preventing ticks on your pets, and preventing ticks in your yard.
- Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals, so spending time outside camping, gardening, or hunting will bring you in close contact with ticks. Protect yourself, your family, and your pets.
- Ticks can be active year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September).
Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September).
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old
- Avoid Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
After You Come Indoors
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
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 daypacks.
Antibiotics are used to treat anasplasmosis. If started early, antibiotics can prevent severe complications.
Doxycycline is the recommended antibiotic treatment for anaplasmosis in adults and children of all ages.
Engel J, Bradley K, et al. Revision of the national surveillance case definition for ehrlichiosis (ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis). Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Infectious Diseases Committee, 2007 Position Statement[PDF – 7 pages].
Gelfand JA, Vannier E. Ehrlichia chaffeensis (human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytotropic anaplasmosis) and other ehrlichiae. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, editors. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone; 2005. p. 2310–2318.
Todd SR, Dahlgren FS, et al. No visible dental staining in children treated with doxycycline for suspected Rocky Mountain spotted fever. J Pediatr2015;166(5):1246-51.