Concern about the impacts of the global pandemic have intensified in some regions of the United States, thanks to a tick-borne disease, Anaplasmosis. This disease has been making headlines for having similarities to COVID-19. We spoke to Dr. Kevin Chan, Mosquito Squad’s resident Entomologist, about this development. Here is the insight he had to offer.
What Is Anaplasmosis?
Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilium. It is primarily transmitted by Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the black-legged tick, in the northeast and midwest. The primary vector on the West Coast is Ixodes pacificus, which can also transmit Anaplasma phagocytophilium. There is no scientific evidence that showcases ticks being able to transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 is caused by a viral pathogen transmitted from human to human by respiratory droplets, whereas Anaplasmosis is a bacterial pathogen transmitted by the bite of an infected tick.
What Are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis?
The first symptoms of Anaplasmosis occur approximately two weeks after the bite and include flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, fever, chills, fatigue, and nausea. Severe illness can occur in people that delay treatment, are immunocompromised, or belong to an older age group. It is in these instances that Anaplasmosis draws similarities to COVID-19 because respiratory and organ failure can occur. However, Anaplasmosis has been making appearances well before we were introduced to COVID-19. In 2018, there were approximately 4,000 reported cases of Anaplasmosis. And while there is not a vaccine, Anaplasmosis can be treated with antibiotics.
How Can We Prevent Anaplasmosis?
The most effective way to reduce the potential for any tick-borne disease is to reduce the population of ticks by using a barrier treatment or tick tubes. It is important to be consistent with treatments used to control the population of ticks. Most cases of Anaplasmosis occur between June and July when infected nymphal ticks are most active. However, we see the potential for a spike from October to November when infected adult ticks are active.
Mosquito Squad doesn’t just help with fighting mosquitoes. We can also help you reduce the presence of ticks in your yard. Contact your local Mosquito Squad today!