Anaplasma spp
Kingdom Monera
Sub-kingdom Bacteria
Phylum Proteobacteria
Order Rickettsiales
Family Ehrlichiaceae
Genus Anaplasma
Species Anaplasma marginale and others


Rickettsial pathogens inside tick haemolymph cells. Source - Wikimedia Commons

Anaplasma species are rickettsial bacterial pathogens that reside within host erythrocytes.

Anaplasmas cause Anaplasmosis and have worldwide distribution due to their wide range of vectors. Disease is most common in tropical regions.


Anaplasmas are transmitted by a wide range of tick species and other insects including the Culicoides midge and other biting flies.

Maturation can occur only in tick hosts, flies acting as solely mechanical vectors.

Infectious bacteria reside and replicate within the salivary gland of the vector and are transmitted to mammalian hosts during bloodfeeding.

Infected erythrocytes are disrupted and release bodies which can then invade other erythrocytes. These bodies form vacuoles within the cytoplasmic membranes of the red blood cells and then undergo binary fission to form dense blue-purple round/cube shaped inclusion bodies.

This amplifies infection within the host and increases the likelihood of transmission when insects bloodfeed.

For more information on ticks as disease vectors, se Tick Disease Transmission.


Anaplasmosis causes haemolytic anaemia by damaging erythrocytes.


Anaplasmosis in domestic and wild ruminants and deer causes profound anaemia, emaciation, haematuria and consequent respiratory and neurological signs.

Anaplasma marginale

Most (70-80%) inclusion bodies are found at or close to the border of the erythrocyte. Infects cattle causing severe anaplasmosis.

Anaplasma centrale

Infects primarily cattle.

Inclusion bodies tend to be central within the red blood cells.

Anaplasma mesaeterum and ovis

Infect mainly sheep and goats.

Usually cause mild disease only.

Inclusion bodies tend to be central within the red blood cells.

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This article was originally sourced from The Animal Health & Production Compendium (AHPC) published online by CABI during the OVAL Project.

The datasheet was accessed on June 4, 2011.

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