Anaplasmosis, the “anti-freeze” co-infection Anaplasma has been detected from coast to coast in the United States.

By Lonnie Marcum

T he blacklegged tick—Ixodes scapularis on the East Coast and Ixodes pacificus in the West—is the primary vector for Lyme disease in the United States. It can also transmit several other pathogens, commonly known as co-infections.

One of those co-infections is called anaplasmosis, which, according to a large survey conducted by, occurs in about 5% of patients with Lyme disease. (see my previous post on co-infections here.)

Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis, also known as human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), is caused by the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacterium (previously known as Ehrlichia phagocytophila or Ehrlichia equi). It belongs to a larger group of bacteria known as Rickettsia, which infect white blood cells.

Anaplasma phagocytophilum is commonly found in rodents and small mammals, and can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick.

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