Possible differential host tropism in Anaplasma phagocytophilum strains in the western United States

Janet Foley, Nathan C. Nieto, John Madigan, Jane Sykes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

37 Scopus citations


Despite organization into a single species, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, of bacteria from diverse hosts, there is evidence that different hosts vary in susceptibility to local strains of this bacterial pathogen. In particular, there is evidence that clinical hosts (humans, horses, and dogs) in the western part of the United States may be infected with strains of bacteria that differ from those in the reported wildlife reservoir, the dusky-footed woodrat. There is a lack of spatial overlap between clinical cases with woodrat exposure, genetic studies show highly distinctive strains in woodrats compared with those from clinical hosts, and experimental studies failed to transfer infection from woodrats into horses. These data suggest that multiple distinct A. phagocytophilum strains could circulate in western U.S. ecosystems. Host barriers to different bacterial strains would suggest the need for careful discrimination of A. phagocytophilum strains and further research to understand the host-pathogen interactions that result in differential outcomes in infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnimal Biodiversity and Emerging Diseases Prediction and Prevention
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781573317146
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Genospecies
  • Granulocytic anaplasmosis
  • Reservoir
  • Rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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