China’s Anaplasmosis, the new Lyme disease?

– Chinese officials work to prevent human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) spread, after there have been 25 reported deaths. Meanwhile drugmaker stocks in China rise to a 4 month high. Anytime a tick-borne disease makes news, it raises concerns in areas such as the US Northeast states which already face a similar scourge, Lyme disease.

Turns out this disease is already found in the U.S. territory “Anaplasmosis is a disease that is already endemic in some parts of the U.S., particularly the Northeast and upper Midwest,” says Dr. Joanna Regan, a medical epidemiologist at a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In China’s northeastern territory health agencies are working to educate the population to avoid the infectious disease caused by different types of bacteria that are usually transmitted to humans by a type of tick.

The symptoms of this disease, curable if treated in time, “are similar to those of flu, and they include fever, severe headache, myalgia (muscle pain), chills and tremors. It also causes gastrointestinal disturbances in some patients and in 10% produces skin rashes, color or texture changes.

It is also characterized by thrombocytopenia (decreased number of platelets in the blood), leukopenia (reduced white blood cells) and elevated blood transaminase enzymes.

Anaplasmosis and the better known Lyme disease (which is named after the town of Lyme, Conn., where it was first found and identified in 1975) are diseases that are transmitted by the same ticks.

Lyme disease mostly affects citizens in Northeast USA, although it has recently spread to a larger area and is the most common tick-borne disease in the US. Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria, normally lives in rodents and small animals and it’s transmitted to humans through a tick bite.

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