Disease: Anaplasmosis

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.

Susceptible species

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.

Signs in animals

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).

Infection of animals

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 in people

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.


Infection of people

Anaplasma infection in humans is typically a result of a bite from an infected tick (3).


Geographical distribution

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).


Preventative measures

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).

  1. Poitout F, Shinozaki J, Stockwell P, Holland C, Shukla S. Genetic Variants of Anaplasma phagocytophilumInfecting Dogs in Western Washington State. J. Clin. Microbiol. 2005, 43(2): 796-80.
  2. http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/fr/Health_standards/tahm/2.04.01_BOVINE_ANAPLASMOSIS.pdf
  3. Parola P, Davoust B, Raoult D: Tick- and flea-borne rickettsial emerging zoonoses. Vet Res. 2005, 36: 469-492.
  4. Nahayo A, Bardiau M, Volpe R, Pirson J, Paternostre J, Fett T, Linden A. Molecular evidence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Belgium. BMC Veterinary Research 2014 10:80
  5. Ogden NH, Bown K, Horrocks BK, Woldehiwet Z, Bennett M: Granulocytic Ehrlichia infection in ixodid ticks and mammals in woodlands and uplands of the U.K. Med Vet Entomol. 1998, 12: 423-429.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/anaplasmosis/symptoms/index.html

External information

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