Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Test, and Treatment of Anaplasmosis in Humans
Anaplasmosis is an infection caused by a bacterium called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. These bacteria are carried by mites and can be transmitted to humans through their bites. Types of mites carrying A. Phagocytophilum bacteria are Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus. These mites are active all year round, but are most active in seasons with warm or hot weather. Cases of anaplasmosis have been found in various regions in the world. Starting from the Americas, Northern Europe, to Southeast Asia.
Anaplasmosis in Humans Symptoms
Symptoms of anaplasmosis usually only appear one to two weeks after a person is bitten by a mite carrying the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
Symptoms of this infection are insignificant and tend to be similar to other diseases. For example, fever, chills, weakness, headache, and aches. In rare cases, skin rashes may appear. Sufferers may also experience indigestion or breathing problem. There are only a few cases of anaplasmosis that are fatal in sufferers. But if you do not get proper treatment, severe anaplasmosis can trigger bleeding until organ failure.
Diseases caused by this bacteria, can be transmitted to humans through tick bites. Ticks transfer Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria to humans through bites. These ticks are black-legged ticks named Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus.
There are a variety of risk factors for developing this condition, such as being outdoors during the summer or if you live while visiting an area where there are many ticks. The largest population of ticks is usually during spring and summer.
Anaplasmosis testing in humans
When feeling and finding symptoms of anaplasmosis, immediately see a doctor to take an examination.
Below are some diagnostic methods that doctors will use in ensuring that a patient’s symptoms actually lead to anaplasmosis and not other diseases.
Physical Examination and Medical History
The doctor begins the diagnosis process by examining the patient’s physical first [1,2,3].
In addition, doctors usually ask patients about their medical history to find out if the patient suffers from a particular disease.
Doctors also need to ask the patient’s history of symptoms, so the patient should also inform the doctor about whether he recently experienced an insect or tick bite.
Patients also need to tell the doctor whether they have been outdoors for a long time, especially forest and bush areas.
Antibody testing is a necessary method of diagnosis and doctors will recommend confirming infection in the patient’s body [1,3].
The doctor will take a sample of the patient’s blood to check for antibodies that fight the infection.
However, antibody tests generally do not show a positive result until a few days or a few weeks after the patient’s body is infected.
PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
This method of examination is also a supporting test to help doctors in detecting bacteria that cause anaplasmosis [1,2,3].
The doctor will take a sample of the patient’s blood to be analyzed in more detail in the laboratory.
White Blood Test
The patient’s white blood cells will be examined through a white blood cell sample first [1,3].
This laboratory examination aims to identify the bacteria that are often present and visible in white blood cells.
Symptoms of anaplasmosis itself are very difficult to diagnose, especially if the symptoms are mild and tend to resemble the symptoms of other diseases that are very common.
If necessary, the patient may be referred to an infectious disease specialist so that the diagnosis obtained is more accurate.
Physical examination and medical history, antibody tests, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests and white blood cell tests are a series of diagnostic methods that need to be taken by patients.
Anaplasmosis in Humans Treatment
Antibiotics will be given if a person may suffer from a tick bite condition from this animal. Anaplasmosis can be fatal if you don’t get proper treatment, even if it was previously healthy.
How To Prevent Ticks In Yard
Medical Research & Source
- Nilmarie Guzman; Siva Naga S. Yarrarapu; & Sary O. Beidas. Anaplasma Phagocytophilum. National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2020.
- Kelsey Uminski, Kamran Kadkhoda, Brett L. Houston, Alison Lopez, Lauren J. MacKenzie, Robbin Lindsay, Andrew Walkty, John Embil, & Ryan Zarychanski. Anaplasmosis: An emerging tick-borne disease of importance in Canada. ID Cases; 2018.
- Anonym. Anaplasmosis. Cedars Sinai; 2020.
- Image: Alan R Walker, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons