Awareness is our strongest ally in the battle against Anaplasmosis.

As I write this, I’m currently infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a bacterium transmitted by the black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). This tick-borne disease, known as Anaplasmosis is on the rise. (Notably within the Capitol Region of NY).

To note: The Northeast is known for the prevalence of Lyme Disease. Also spread by ticks. Lyme is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Hopefully the information contained in this post, will help you identify symptoms of Anaplasmosis and can lead to a fast diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Anaplasmosis:

Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) or Anaplasmosis, can be a painful debilitating disease that may result in hospitalization. Approximately one-third of symptomatic cases require hospitalizations.


The incubation period for Anaplasmosis is between one and two weeks, after which time a range of symptoms may appear, e.g.:

  • Fever and/or chills and/or sweats
  • Severe headache and/or stiff neck
  • Tiredness
  • Myalgia (muscle ache), as well as Arthralgia (joint ache)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) approx. 20% of cases

Early Detection is Key:

Treatment should begin as soon as diagnosis is confirmed. Standard treatment is Doxycycline, an antibiotic that should be taken for approx. 10 days.

My Personal Encounter:

I became infected in early May. Tweezers were used to remove a miniscule tick. It was so small, it’s amazing that I even noticed it. In retrospect, the tick can’t have been attached for long. It wasn’t engorged with blood, nor did it leave any mark at the bite site. No rash appeared. No resistance – it came off so easily. I didn’t consider it to be of any consequence. This tiny black-legged tick was most probably in the nymph stage of its life cycle. Warning: Nymphs are tiny, smaller than a pin-head.

Let’s just emphasize – there was no rash at the bite site. With most cases of Anaplasmosis, there is no rash.

Recognizing the Symptoms:

I won’t lie, I’ve not been this ‘green around the gills’ in a long time. My symptoms appeared rapidly and seemingly out of nowhere. My temperature catapulted to 103F+, everything was aching, my muscles, my joints, my organs, my head, my neck. I also felt nauseas. I didn’t want to get out of bed and couldn’t get comfortable, no matter how I tried.

Fever Treatment Approach:

An online doctor service suggested a combination of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen (Advil), three hours apart. This lasted 24 hours. Tip: write down when and what you take every 3 hours, to avoid over-dosing. I understand that this is a known treatment to help reduce fevers. While effective, it’s important to note potential side effects such as bloodshot eyes. I’d never seen my eyes so red.

Did I take Cannabinoids to help with the Pain?

I did not take any cannabinoids. There is some research that suggests that drug to drug interactions with ibuprofen and cannabis may be problematic. In this case, I stuck with a known solution to help lower fevers. So no cannabinoids.

Navigating Diagnosis:

Even though everything was aching and it hurt to move, Fred drove me to the doctor. I explained that it might be a tick-related issue, as I’d removed a tick a few days before. However, I noted, there was no rash. The doctor suggested that it might be a virus, but blood tests would be able to help provide a diagnosis. I returned home, puked up a few times and generally feeling well below par.

A few days later, after much rest, lots of fluids, the symptoms disappeared. I resumed normal activities including working and prepping the farm for this season’s grow. That only lasted three days.

The Persistence of Symptoms:

The fever returned and so did many of the symptoms. The fever was high 103.7F. Fred was ready to bring me to the ER. Ice-packs, lots of fluids and the 24 hour Tylenol/Advil combo helped bring the fever down a second time. I stayed out of hospital and remained in bed for several days. After which point Fred drove me for a blood test.

Deciphering Treatment Protocols:

Ten days after my blood test, I finally got the results. It was confirmed to be Anaplasmosis and I was prescribed Doxycycline for 14 days. The blood tests were a little spurious, in that the doctor couldn’t be sure if Lyme was present too. That’s why I was prescribed Doxycycline for 14 days vs.10.

Can A Tick Spread both Anaplasmosis and Lyme at the same time?

After reading many scientific papers on the topic of tick-borne diseases; it would seem unlikely that a nymph would transmit both Anaplasmosis and Lyme. I found one  documented case where both Anaplasmosis and Lyme were transmitted by nymph. Most cases of both diseases were transmitted by adult ticks.

Ref: Article: Landscape Features Associated With Blacklegged Tick

Unveiling Lingering Effects:

I’ll update this in the future. For now (only 5 days of taking Doxycycline), I still have myalgia in my legs and hands, tiredness and a little neck stiffness.

Did I take Cannabinoids While Taking Antibiotics?

Again, no!  I wish I could because I know it would help with the pain. However, my blood test indicated elevated liver enzymes. Cannabinoids can inhibit the liver enzymes that deal with drug metabolism. In other words, it may alter the effectiveness/toxicity of various medicines.

So no to cannabinoids. Although, as soon as I finish this course of Doxycycline, you can be sure I’ll enjoy the relief from cannabinoids. I find they work for me. But we are humans and we are all different, so that may not work for you.

The Fast Proliferation of Anaplasmosis:

In 1990, the first documented case of Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis (HGA) was identified in a patient hospitalized at St Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. By the conclusion of December 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had received reports of at least 2,871 cases of HGA from 13 different states within the U.S.

Cases on the Rise:

Data from the CDC indicates the number of cases of Anaplasmosis from 2021 is 6,729 nationwide. In NY (not including NY city) the number of reported cases was 1,868. This is one of the highest numbers of cases in one region nationwide. We can only assume that these numbers have risen since 2021.

Table from the CDC:

How Long Does a Tick Have to be Attached to Transmit Infection?

There’s much data out there that suggests 12-24 hours. However, I’ve found research to suggest that it may be as little as 4-24 hours. That means, you have to act quickly.

Ref: published paper, read if you want to delve deep into the science – great medical reference:

Good easy to understand CDC page related to Anaplasmosis:

Conclusion: Unlike Lyme, that often produces a ‘bullseye’ rash at the bite site, Anaplasmosis rarely exhibits a rash. If you find a tick attached, make a note of the date, so that you may correlate it to specific symptoms in the days that follow. Act quickly folks. Anaplasmosis is extremely unpleasant and if left untreated can lead to some severe problems.

Awareness is our strongest ally in the battle against Anaplasmosis.