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The Deer Tick Strikes Again: Anaplasmosis in Southeastern Mass

Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis…if it sounds scary, it’s because it can be if not treated. HGA or simply Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne illness spread by the black-legged or “deer tick”, that occurs mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest. We have become very aware of how prevalent these ticks have become here in Massachusetts over the last few years. With the growth of deer tick populations, we have also seen an increase in incidences of Anaplasmosis. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health there was an 84% rise in Anaplasmosis cases between 2013 and 2014 in Massachusetts.

What Makes Anaplasmosis Dangerous

Often people are unaware they have been bitten by a tick, so noticing symptoms and checking your body and clothing after spending time outdoors is very helpful. Typically within two weeks of a tick bite symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, chills, cough, nausea, confusion, and malaise can occur. Symptoms vary and not every infected person will get every symptom. You may be wondering if a rash is also a symptom, but with Anaplasmosis, it is very rare. If a rash were to develop it would be best to be tested for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well.

Anaplasmosis infects the white blood cells which can make it even more dangerous for individuals with a compromised immune system. Adding to the potential danger is the difficulty diagnosing Anaplasmosis due to the varying symptoms. Most cases are treated with antibiotics and though Anaplasmosis can be fatal if not treated correctly, according to the CDC the estimated case fatality rate is less than 1%.

New Discoveries About Anaplasmosis

Researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine are studying the protein makeup of Anaplasmosis as well as the antibodies the humans and animals produce against it. Their research is believed to be the track that could lead towards a vaccine. Until then we believe, at Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass, that it is best to focus on prevention. We remind you to keep your yard safe by following the 6C’s of tick protection and call us to schedule your barrier treatment and tick tube installation. We can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard while slowing the growth of future tick population.

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