Anaplasmosis – it’s here, and more dangerous than Lyme disease!

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Submitted by Aleta Karstad

I had been suffering for a couple of weeks from back aches – figured I was just getting old. Then I felt slightly feverish for a few days, and went for a PCR test – Negative. Then the fever got serious. Son-in-law Rory took me to the Ottawa General on Sunday, June 12, with a rising fever that Tylenol was failing to control. Once I was checked and tested and everything else ruled out, the Emerg doctor began to wonder if it could be a tropical disease. I hadn’t been traveling. Then he guessed that it was likely Anaplasmosis – so I was tested for tick-borne Rickettsial diseases and sent home with a prescription for two weeks of Doxycycline which would knock out any of them. 

The Doxycycline worked within 7 hours, as he had predicted, to stop the steadily rising fever in its tracks! The results came in on Monday, the next day:

Serology: Borrelia (Lyme) NEG
Serology: Erlichia NEG
Blood smear: Anaplasmosis POSITIVE 

I returned home on June 19 after convalescing for a week at our daughter’s place in Kemptville, feeling normal and VERY lucky!

The scary thing is that I had not been aware of any tick bite this spring. Must been one of the tiniest ticks, and didn’t stay on! Not only is Anaplasmosis more dangerous than Lyme, it can be transmitted right away – as soon as the tick bites!

Fred has had four embedded ticks this spring – two Dog Ticks, and two of the Lyme-carrying Black-Legged Ticks. For the first one, he went to Emergency in Kemptville for a dose of Doxycycline. But we’d found none on me….

If I’d known I had a tick, I’d have gone to Emerg in Kemptville for a dose of Doxycycline, early on. In fact, I was there on Saturday, June 12, complaining of fever – but without information about a tick bite, and no rash, they figured I must have a blood infection, gave me a broad-spectrum IV antibiotic and sent me home with a prescription for Amoxy-Clav.

I find myself wondering how many of the “negative” tests for Lyme are really Anaplasmosis. It causes kidney and liver damage if not treated early, and is very dangerous “for the elderly and those with underlying conditions”. Check. Check. The late stage symptoms match those of COVID – respiratory failure, etc. I’m glad to be alive and well, instead of in the ICU, or dead!

Watch out, everyone! Anaplasmosis is here – use insect repellants (best is Piactive, from Canadian Tire. Lasts for 12 hours and is safe for kids and pets) and get yourself some “No Fly Zone” pants from Marks Work Wearhouse, impregnated with Permethrin, and lined for safe wearing. I have always worn skirts, everywhere except in a kayak. But now every day until the snow flies, I’lI wear my tick pants, even around the yard – with lemongrass spray on my ankles and feet. Not taking any chances. 

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