Parasit Vectors. 2018 Mar 20;11(1):201. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-2789-5.

Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp., haemoplasma species and Hepatozoon spp. in ticks infesting cats: a large-scale survey.



Ticks derived from cats have rarely been evaluated for the presence of pathogens. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp., haemoplasma species and Hepatozoon spp. in ticks collected from cats in the UK.


Five hundred and forty DNA samples extracted from 540 ticks collected from cats presenting to veterinarians in UK practices were used. Samples underwent a conventional generic PCR assay for detection of Hepatozoon spp. and real-time quantitative PCR assays for detection of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and three feline haemoplasma species and a generic qPCR for detection of Bartonella spp. Feline 28S rDNA served as an endogenous internal PCR control and was assessed within the haemoplasma qPCR assays. Samples positive on the conventional and quantitative generic PCRs were submitted for DNA sequencing for species identification.


Feline 28S rDNA was amplified from 475 of the 540 (88.0%) ticks. No evidence of PCR inhibition was found using an internal amplification control. Of 540 ticks, 19 (3.5%) contained DNA from one of the tick-borne pathogens evaluated. Pathogens detected were: A. phagocytophilum (n = 5; 0.9%), Bartonella spp. (n = 7; 1.3%) [including Bartonella henselae (n = 3; 0.6%) and Bartonella clarridgeiae (n = 1; 0.2%)], haemoplasma species (n = 5; 0.9%), “Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum” (n = 3; 0.6%), Mycoplasma haemofelis (n = 1; 0.2%), “Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis” (n = 1; 0.2%), Hepatozoon spp. (n = 2; 0.4%), Hepatozoon felis (n = 1; 0.2%) and Hepatozoon silvestris (n = 1; 0.2%).


These data provide important information on the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks infesting cats, with the identification of haemoplasma species, A. phagocytophilum, H. felis and Bartonella spp. (including B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae). This study also documents the first report of H. silvestris in ticks collected from domestic cats.



More and more is coming out about these same pathogens causing disease in humans.

Bartonella clarridgeiae has caused Cat Scratch Disease in humans:

Haemoplasma species (Mycoplasma) can be chronic in cats and cause anemia:

Humans can be infected with Myco:

As to Hepatozoon spp. (felis & silvestris): health considerations
Hepatozoon infection in humans has not been described except for a single case in which the species was not identified.  So it’s been found in at least one human.  The thing is they aren’t regularly looking for it.

Transmission route:  ingestion of tick vectors (but how’d the ONE human get it?  I doubt they were eating ticks!)

Clinical signs
H.canis infects the hemolymphatic tissues and causes anemia and lethargy. Infection varies from being subclinical to severe with lethargy, fever, cachexia and pale mucous membranes due to anemia.
It’s diagnosed by microscopic detection of intracellular H. canis gamonts in neutrophils and monocytes in stained capillary blood smears. The degree of parasitaemia is directly proportional to the severity of clinical signs. PCR of whole blood for H. canis detection is sensitive and specific.
It is treated with imidocarb dipropionate at 5-6 mg/kg IM or SC every 14 days until gamonts are no longer present in blood smears. The decrease of parasitemia is slow and usually requires several repeated imidocarb treatments.

More in ticks:  (The actual number is 16 and counting)

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