Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Central nervous system involvement of anaplasmosis
  1. Jon Brandon Mullholand1,
  2. Nathanial Tolman2,
  3. Anna De Obaldia2 and
  4. Eileen Hennrikus2
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon Brandon Mullholand; jmullholand{at}


A 64-year-old woman presented with 24 hours of lethargy, confusion, headache, nausea and vomiting. Examination revealed expressive aphasia, conjunctival suffusion and a tick embedded in her popliteal fossa. Labs revealed hyponatraemia, transaminitis, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia and an elevated C reactive protein. Peripheral blood smear was unremarkable. MRI/magnetic resonance angiogram revealed bilateral frontoparietal subarachnoid haemorrhage which was further confirmed by lumbar puncture which revealed six nucleated cells, 92% lymphocytes, 1460 red blood cells, normal glucose and protein and negative cryptococcal antigen, herpes simplex PCR and Lyme PCR. Serum Lyme IgG/IgM antibodies and PCR, Erlichia chaffeensis serum IgG/IgM antibodies and PCR and anaplasma serum IgG/IgM antibodies were negative. Anaplasmosis serum PCR was positive. The tick was identified as Ixodes scapularis. The patient was diagnosed with anaplasmosis and treated with 21 days of doxycycline resulting in improvement of symptoms, but lingering headaches and word finding difficulties.

  • infections
  • infectious diseases
  • neurology
  • infection (neurology)
  • stroke

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors JBM and NT wrote the case report with supervision and editing by EH. ADO additionally helped with editing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.