What is anaplasmosis?
Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It was once known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) but has more recently been called human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). It is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the black-legged tick which has documented established populations in eastern Nebraska. Of the four phases in the tick life-cycle (egg, larvae, nymph, and adult), nymphs and adults are most commonly responsible for transmission of anaplasmosis to humans.
The first symptoms usually begin 1-2 weeks after the bite of an infected tick. Tick bites are often painless and about half of infected people do not remember being bitten. Due to non-specific early symptoms, several doctor visits may occur before correct diagnosis and treatment. The following is a list of common anaplasmosis symptoms. The number and combination of symptoms varies from person to person.
The diagnosis of anaplasmosis is made based on clinical signs and symptoms, as well as the patient's recent activity (travel, contact with high-risk areas, etc.), and can later be confirmed using specialized laboratory tests. Diagnostic tests, especially those based on the detection of antibodies, will frequently appear negative in the first 7-10 days of illness. However, anaplasmosis can be fatal if treatment is not started early enough. Therefore, treatment should never be delayed pending the receipt of laboratory test results, or be withheld on the basis of an initial negative result. Patients who are treated early may recover quickly on outpatient medication (doxycycline, an oral antibiotic), while those who experience a more severe infection may require intravenous antibiotics, prolonged hospitalization or intensive care.
For more information on anaplasmosis, please visit the CDC anaplasmosis website.
Anaplasmosis Fact Sheet