Severe Anaplasmosis in a Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
The Cureus Journal (Aydin, Y., et al.) 07.07.2023, published “Severe Anaplasmosis With Multiorgan Involvement in a Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient.” This case report is of a 66-year-old woman from Connecticut with severe anaplasmosis. Anaplasmosis is an emerging tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum, primarily transmitted through the bite of a black-legged tick, including Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus. Anaplasmosis is more common in certain US regions, including the upper Midwest, Northeast, and mid-Atlantic states, and most reported in Connecticut.
The patient had a 20-year medical history of rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism. The patient showed symptoms of being disoriented, a fever, chills, generalized weakness, and poor appetite over two days and had been gardening 3 days prior to the symptoms. She found a few ticks in her armpit. Lab tests confirmed the presence of anaplasmosis bacterium, and she was promptly treated.
Anaplasmosis can be difficult to diagnose because of wide range of symptoms including “fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and chills, which are often mistaken for other common illnesses such as influenza.” It can be even more difficult to diagnose if there is no evidence of a tick bite. Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing further complications and promoting the patient’s recovery− evident in this case study. If not, “severe complications may include respiratory failure, kidney failure, bleeding disorders, and even death in rare cases.”
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