This page provides general information about this condition; reveal the text by clicking on the green headers. Press releases, results from DWHC investigations as well as other useful documents and relevant literature can be found at the bottom of the page.
Anaplasmosis, is a disease caused by intracellular bacteria of the Anaplasmatacetae family (order Rickettsiales). Several species of Anaplasma can cause disease in a range of animal species and in some cases in humans.
The precise range of animal species susceptible to infection with the different Anaplasma species is not known. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is well known as a cause of disease in wild and domestic animals and humans in which it infects the white blood cells. Anaplasmosis in species of domestic and wild ruminants is typically caused by Anaplasma marginale which infects the red blood cells.
Infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum has been reported to cause fever, depression, loss of appetite and weight loss in dogs and cats (1).
Ruminants infected with Anaplasma marginale become anemic showing weakness, pallor and maybe jaundice. Infection in animals <1 year of age tends to be subclinical but the severity of the disease increases with age and can be fatal in adult cattle (2).
Anaplasmosis is typically transmitted by infected ticks and some species of blood-sucking flies. Domestic ruminants can also be infected via blood from infected animals during de-horning procedures or with needles (2).
Symptoms of anaplasmosis in humans typically develop within 1-2 weeks after the tick bite and may include fever, headache, muscle pain and general malaise. Some cases develop into severe illness and can lead to death.
Anaplasma infection in humans is typically a result of a bite from an infected tick (3).
Anaplasmosis occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions, including Southern Europe. Changes in the distribution of the tick vectors in recent years has also led to the detection of Anaplasma exposure in animals in other parts of Europe, including wild boar in Belgium (4) and wild rodents in the UK (5).
In some areas disease in cattle has been controlled by implementation of tick control measures and vaccination is available against infection with some species.
Humans are advised to minimise the risk of tick bites for example by avoiding areas with high grass or leaf litter and by checking themselves, pets and outdoor equipment thoroughly after returning from outdoor activities (6).
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