Direct detection of Anaplasma phagocytophilum by polymerase chain reaction followed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry from human blood

Int J Infect Dis. 2017 Jul:60:61-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 May 16.


Bacterial pathogens not detectable via commercial blood culture assays represent an important challenge for infectious disease physicians, in particular if clinical symptoms of the illness are non-specific. In this report, Anaplasma phagocytophilum was detected directly in a peripheral blood sample from a febrile patient reporting a tick bite. This was done using a commercial system based on PCR followed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The diagnosis of a human granulocytic anaplasmosis infection was established using this diagnostic methodology for the first time. Human granulocytic anaplasmosis is a neglected zoonotic disease in Europe. Its seroprevalence is similar in North America and Europe, but in contrast to the USA, it is rarely diagnosed in the old world. PCR followed by ESI-MS is a novel, complex, but highly promising diagnostic methodology for the rapid assessment of rare or exotic pathogens, including intracellular bacteria.

Keywords: Anaplasma phagocytophilum; HGA; IRIDICA; PCR/ESI-MS; Tick-borne disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum / genetics
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum / isolation & purification*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Ehrlichiosis / blood
  • Ehrlichiosis / diagnosis*
  • Ehrlichiosis / drug therapy
  • Ehrlichiosis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neglected Diseases / diagnosis
  • Neglected Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neglected Diseases / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Tick Bites / complications
  • Zoonoses / diagnosis
  • Zoonoses / drug therapy
  • Zoonoses / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Doxycycline