Anaplasmosis: are tick bites dangerous?

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne bacterial disease that causes flu-like symptoms. Signs and symptoms range from body aches to severe fever. Usually appears within a week or two of a tick bite. So how to treat and prevent Anaplasma infection, let's follow the article below with Doctor SignsSymptomsList to get the most correct information.


1. What signs help us think of Anaplasmosis?

If a tick carrying the bacteria that causes Anaplasmosis bites you for at least 24 hours, the following flu-like signs and symptoms may appear. Usually within 7 to 14 days of being bitten:

  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Tired
  • Doesn't taste good
  • Athritis
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Cough

Some people infected with Anaplasma may have mild symptoms and never seek medical attention. Their bodies fight the disease on their own. But the disease, left untreated, with prolonged symptoms can lead to a serious condition requiring hospitalization.

2. What is the cause of Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacteria Anaplasma. Mediated mainly by solitary comet mites.

Ticks cling to their hosts and feed on blood until they grow to many times their normal size. During bloodsucking, ticks carry disease-causing bacteria that can transmit the bacteria to a healthy host. Or they can infect themselves with the bacteria if the host is infected.

Normally, to get Anaplasmosis, you have to be bitten by an infected tick. The bacteria enter the skin through the bite and eventually enter the bloodstream.

Before the bacteria can be transmitted, the tick must attach to the skin and feed on blood for at least 24 hours. A tick with a large swollen appearance may have been feeding on blood long enough to harbor disease-carrying bacteria. Removing ticks as soon as possible can prevent infection.

There is the possibility of transmission through blood transfusion, from mother to child. Through direct contact, slaughter infected animals.

Anaplasmosis: are tick bites dangerous?

Risk factor

Anaplasmosis is transmitted when an infected tick, primarily a solitary comet tick, bites and feeds on blood for at least 24 hours. The following factors can increase your risk of getting a tick-borne infection:

  • Go outside when the weather is warm . Most cases of Anaplasmosis occur in the spring and summer when tick populations are at their peak, and people are outside more often.
  • Live in or travel to an area with a high tick density . The risk is higher if you are in an area with a high concentration of ticks. In the United States, solitary comet mites are most concentrated in the southeastern, eastern, and mid-south states.
  • Male . Anaplasma infection is more common in men. Maybe due to more time working and playing outdoors.

3. What are the consequences of Anaplasmosis?

If left untreated, it can seriously affect healthy adults or children.

People who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for more severe and potentially life-threatening illness. Serious complications of an untreated infection include:

  • CKD
  • Complications of respiratory failure
  • Heart failure
  • Convulsion
  • Comatose

4. How to prevent Anaplasmosis?

The best way to prevent the disease is to avoid being bitten by a tick.

Most ticks attach to the legs and feet when you walk or work in grassy places, forests or overgrown fields. After the tick attaches to your body, it usually crawls up to find a place to burrow into your skin. You can find ticks on the back of your knees, groin, armpits, ears, back of the neck, and other places.

If you remove the tick within the first 24 hours after attachment, the risk of infection is reduced.

Some tips to help find and remove ticks

Wear light-colored clothes

Ticks are dark in color. Light-colored clothing helps you and others see the ticks on your clothes before they get on your skin.

Avoid wearing open-toed shoes or sandals 

Ticks usually live in grassy areas or fields and can attach to your legs and feet as you drift through the grass. Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals increases the risk of ticks clinging to your skin and moving under your clothing, out of sight.

Use insect repellent

Products containing DEET (Off! Deep Woods, Repel) or permethrin (Repel Permanone) often repel ticks. Permethrin is for use on clothing only. You can use DEET on your skin or on clothing, but follow the directions for use.

For children, use DEET that contains less than 30% DEET and use it with caution. Do not use DEET on your child's hands or face.

Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirt

The less skin that is exposed, the less likely the tick will bite. For extra protection, wear permethrin-infused tops, pants, and socks.

Put your shirt in your pants and your pants in your socks

This way, the tick will be less likely to crawl onto the exposed skin. Note that if ticks get on your clothes, they will crawl up until they reach the exposed skin. Check your clothing often while outdoors.

Take the trails whenever possible

Ticks prefer grassy areas and possibly less on trails.

Check your body

Comprehensive body examination. Be sure to check your head and neck as ticks will continue to crawl up until a suitable burrow is found. Use your hand to check through your hair and places you can't see after coming in from outside or from the garden.

Ticks can be as small as a strawberry seed and they often cling to hidden skin. The shower can hardly dislodge the ticks clinging to your head and body.

Check your clothes and equipment

Check your clothes, backpacks, and other gear when you get home for ticks hitching a ride home. Spin your clothes in the dryer for about an hour to kill any remaining ticks.

Don't forget your pets

Check for ticks daily on any pets outdoors.

Anaplasmosis: are tick bites dangerous?

5. What is the diagnosis of Anaplasmosis?

A tick-borne infection is difficult to diagnose because signs and symptoms, such as fever and muscle aches, are similar to many other illnesses based on signs and symptoms alone.

Abnormalities on blood tests, combined with a history of exposure, can lead your doctor to suspect tick-borne illness. If you have Anaplasmosis, blood tests will likely show:

  • Low white blood cell count – these cells are the body's disease-fighting warriors
  • Low platelet count – platelets are essential for blood clotting
  • Abnormal liver function

More specific blood tests for Anaplasmosis include:

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) . Identification of Anaplasmosis-specific genes. However, if you have had treatment, the results of this test may be affected.
  • Indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) . This test, not as commonly used as PCR, measures the amount of antibodies you have in your blood to the bacteria that cause Anaplasmosis.

If you live in a place where ticks are common, your doctor may give you antibiotics before your blood test results are available because earlier treatment gives better results for some tick-borne illnesses.

Anaplasmosis: are tick bites dangerous?

6. How is Anaplasmosis treated?

If you have Anaplasmosis or a tick-borne disease, your doctor will prescribe the antibiotic Doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin, etc.). Take antibiotics for up to 10 days. Use for a longer time if the disease is severe.

If you are pregnant, your doctor will tell you to take Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), because Doxycycline is not recommended during pregnancy.

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you find ticks on your body, don't panic. If you remove the tick within 24 hours of getting on your skin, you won't get Anaplasmosis or other tick-borne illnesses. Follow these steps to safely remove ticks:

  • Use tweezers (if available) . Use flat-tipped tweezers or a tissue or glove to remove the tick. The tick's saliva and body fluids can carry the same bacteria as in its mouth. Bacteria can enter your body through cuts or mucous membranes in your skin.
  • Remove ticks slowly . Pick up the tick from its mouth, where it attaches to the skin. Pull it up steadily and slowly without jerking or twisting it.
  • Kill the tick . Once the tick has been successfully removed, place it in a container with alcohol. Do not crush the tick in your hands or with your fingernails, as its secretions may contain disease-causing bacteria.
  • Clean the bite . Wash the bite site thoroughly with an antiseptic or soap and water. Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Trace the bite . Over the next few days and weeks, watch for a rash at the site of the bite and pay attention to any signs and symptoms that appear, such as fever, muscle aches, or joint pain.

Anaplasmosis: are tick bites dangerous?

Anaplasmosis is a difficult disease to diagnose because there are no specific symptoms. Effective tick prevention helps prevent infection. Pay attention to signs of bites. If there is anything unusual, contact your doctor for the earliest diagnosis and treatment.

Doctor Vu Thanh Do