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- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,
Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis as a Cause of Febrile Illness in Korea Since At Least 2006
Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) is a tick‐borne rickettsial zoonosis with fever, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia. HGA has been reported in Korea in 2013 but it is uncertain how long it has existed. A retrospective study was conducted on patients who underwent bone marrow examination due to fever and cytopenia, with no clear hematologic or microbiologic causes, from 2003 through 2012. Laboratory diagnosis was made by detecting 16S rRNA genes of Anaplasma phagocytophilum from the stored blood samples. Among the 70 patients, five (7.1%) HGA cases were found, and the earliest case dated back to 2006. Two cases met the diagnostic criteria of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) and were fatal. Although HGA has been prevalent in Korea since at least 2006, it is not always diagnosed and has posed a possible lethal health risk to the people in Korea. HGA should be considered as a cause of fever with cytopenia or HLH.