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ANAPLASMOSIS Tick Control, LLC
Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that can infect humans, canines, and ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats. In humans, the disease is referred to as human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). Anaplasmosis is prevalent in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and the first human case was found in 1990 in Wisconsin.
Signs and Symptoms
Acute symptoms of anaplasmosis, which occur 1-5 days after being bitten by an infected tick, are fever, chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and cough. It’s uncommon for a rash to form as a result of anaplasmosis.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, more serious health complications can arise from anaplasmosis. These include respiratory failure, organ failure, bleeding problems, and in some cases the disease can be fatal. Diagnosis of anaplasmosis is usually based on clinical symptoms and a potential history of exposure to infected ticks. Your doctor will also take a blood sample to confirm.
In dogs, symptoms of anaplasmosis are similar. Joint pain, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite are common canine signs of the disease. Dogs with anaplasmosis may exhibit the same symptoms as Lyme disease, and your veterinarian will likely run antibody tests on your pet to be sure it’s anaplasmosis. Head here https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/anaplasmosis-in-dogs for more information about anaplasmosis in dogs.
What is the Bacterium that Causes Anaplasmosis?
Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. These bacteria are commonly found in white-footed mice and white-tail deer – mammals on which black-legged ticks feed. Once ticks have fed on infected animals, they become carriers for this bacterium and are able to transmit it to humans and canines.
The black-legged deer tick, or Ixodes scapularis is the main vector of the disease in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States. In the western states, the tick species is I. pacificus. Since the black- legged tick is also a vector for Lyme disease, there’s a chance that a tick bite could result in co-infection.
In canines, the brown dog tick can also carry another form of anaplasmosis. It is highly unlikely that you can be infected if your dog has anaplasmosis, as human-to-animal transmission this way is not documented. In some rare cases, though, you could get the disease through blood transfusion.
Which Type of Tick Carries Anaplasmosis?
The main vector for anaplasmosis is the black-legged tick, or Ixodes scapularis. This tick is commonly found in Connecticut and throughout New England and is a vector for other tickborne diseases like Lyme disease and babesiosis.
Black-legged ticks like bushy, wooded areas, as well as transition zones between woodlands and lawns. You and your pets are more likely to be bitten by black-legged ticks by venturing into these areas. These ticks also must feed on a new host in each phase of their life – 3 in total.
Cures and Treatments
Anaplasmosis is curable and not considered chronic in humans. Symptoms of anaplasmosis typically go away 1-7 days after treatment begins. Typically, if it’s diagnosed early enough, a course of antibiotics like doxycycline is prescribed.
If you exhibit symptoms of anaplasmosis, sometimes your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics while waiting on blood test results to confirm. This is because if left untreated, anaplasmosis has a significant mortality rate. If you have a severe case of anaplasmosis, you may need intensive care and antibiotics delivered through IV fluids.
Anaplasmosis in dogs is also fully treatable with antibiotics, with most symptoms improving within 24- 48 hours after starting the course. As with most tickborne diseases in both humans and canines, the best defense is prevention.
Areas in Danger of Being Bitten
In the Northeast, cases of anaplasmosis are most prevalent in Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. In Connecticut, there were 233 confirmed cases of the disease in 2019. https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Epidemiology-and-Emerging-Infections/Anaplasmosis
The number of cases has risen significantly since the first one was reported in the mid-1990s, with the peak months of cases each year being June and July. These are the months that the nymphal black- legged ticks are active. There is also a small increase in October when adult black-legged ticks are active.
As the black-legged tick population expands, precautions against exposure to tick bites are even more essential. Avoiding tick habitats is the best prevention. If you or your pets do roam in these areas, DEET repellent and permethrin-treated clothing are recommended by the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html.
You should also check yourself and your pets for ticks upon returning home, before entering your house. Ticks that latch on to your dog, for instance, can easily be brought inside if they’re not found and removed.
Stay vigilant and proactive and you can protect yourself and your family from tick-borne diseases like anaplasmosis.
Anaplasmosis is a disease. Don't wait until it is too late.
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At Tick Control, LLC, owners and technicians are UConn trained and Connecticut State certified. We take great pride in offering impeccable customer service, professional demeanor, and the most up-to-date tick control methods available today. Remember... tick infestations can be dangerous! Ticks are known vectors of Lyme Disease, Powassan virus, and many other serious diseases.