Potential vertebrate reservoir hosts and invertebrate vectors of Anaplasma marginale and A. phagocytophilum in central Spain

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. Winter 2005;5(4):390-401. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2005.5.390.


Organisms in the genus Anaplasma are obligate intracellular pathogens that multiply in both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. The type species, A. marginale, causes bovine anaplasmosis and only infects ticks and ruminants. A. phagocytophilum causes human and animal granulocytic anaplasmosis, and genetically closely related strains show a wide host range, including ticks, ruminants, rodents, equids, canids, birds, and humans. Recent reports demonstrated that A. marginale and A. phagocytophilum co-exist in geographic areas and that concurrent infections occur in ruminants and ticks. In this study, we characterized A. marginale and A. phagocytophilum infections in wild and domestic animals, and ticks collected in central Spain by serology, PCR, and sequence of 16S rRNA genotypes. Species tested included humans, cattle, dogs, rodents, Iberian red deer, European wild boar, birds, and ticks. Species of hematophagous Diptera were analyzed as potential mechanical vectors of Anaplasma spp. A. marginale was detected in tabanids, ticks, cattle, and deer, while A. phagocytophilum was detected in ticks, deer, cattle, and birds. Concurrent infections of the two Anaplasma were found in cattle and deer. These results illustrate the complexity of the epizootiology of A. marginale and A. phagocytophilum in regions where both pathogens co-exist and share common reservoir hosts and vectors. The increasing contact between wildlife, domestic animals, and human populations increases the risk of outbreaks of human and bovine anaplasmosis, and the difficulty of implementing surveillance and control measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma marginale* / classification
  • Anaplasma marginale* / genetics
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum* / classification
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum* / genetics
  • Anaplasmosis / epidemiology
  • Anaplasmosis / microbiology
  • Anaplasmosis / transmission*
  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Birds
  • Cattle
  • Deer
  • Diptera / microbiology
  • Disease Reservoirs* / classification
  • Disease Reservoirs* / microbiology
  • Dogs
  • Ehrlichiosis / epidemiology
  • Ehrlichiosis / microbiology
  • Ehrlichiosis / transmission*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / microbiology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / chemistry
  • Rodentia
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Sus scrofa
  • Ticks / microbiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Msp4 protein, Anaplasma marginale
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S