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<i>Anaplasma phagocytophilum</i>, Sardinia, Italy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication Date
  • Vet/05 Malattie Infettive Degli Animali Domestici
  • Vet/08 Clinica Medica Veterinaria
  • Medicine


Anaplasma phagocytophilum (formerly Ehrlichia phagocytophila), a tick-transmitted pathogen that infects several animal species, including humans (involved as accidental "dead-end" hosts), is the causative agent of human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). It is a pathogen of veterinary importance responsible for tickborne fever of ruminants and for granulocytic anaplasmosis of horses and dogs). HGA was first described in the United States in 1994 and is emerging in Europe. Although only 2 human cases have been reported in Italy, serologic and molecular findings have shown A. phagocytophilum infections in dogs and Ixodes ricinus ticks. Incidence, prevalence, and public impact of HGA and horse granulocytic anaplasmosis are, therefore, unknown for this geographic area. From 1992 to 1996, an average rate of 13.4 cases/year/100,000 inhabitants of tick bite–related fever of unknown etiology has been reported on the island of Sardinia, Italy, which is considerably higher than the corresponding national average value of 2.1 cases/year/100,000 inhabitants. Moreover, 117 cases of tick bite–related fever, whose etiology remains obscure, have been reported from 1995 to 2002 in the central west coast area of the island. Local newspapers occasionally report deaths as a result of tick bites, although no HGA-associated deaths have been documented in Europe.This study investigated A. phagocytophilum in Sardinia.

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