Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Urban Hedgehogs

Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis is a member of the order Rickettsiales, family Anaplasmataceae (1). Manifestations of infection with these bacteria are atypical and severe and include cough, nausea, vomiting, anemia, headache, pulmonary infiltration, malaise, myalgia, arthralgia, fatigue, recurrent fever for ≤8 months, and/or death (2–5). Candidatus N. mikurensis has been detected in Ixodes ovatus, I. persulcatus, and Haemaphysalis concinna ticks in Asia (1,5). Candidatus N. mikurensis has been identified as one of the most prevalent pathogenic agents in I. ricinus ticks throughout Europe (2,3,6). Rodents of diverse species and geographic origins have been shown to carry these bacteria, but transmission experiments have not been conducted to unambiguously identify natural vertebrate reservoirs (1–3,5–7). This emerging tickborne pathogen has been detected mainly in immunocompromised patients in Sweden (n = 1), Switzerland (n = 3), Germany (n = 2), and the Czech Republic (n = 2) and in immunocompetent patients in China (n = 7) (2–5). Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an obligate, intracellular, tickborne bacterium of the family Anaplasmataceae and causes granulocytic anaplasmosis in humans and domestic animals. In Europe, I. ricinus ticks are its major vector, and red deer, roe deer, rodents, and European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) are suspected reservoir hosts (8).
An article by Emerging Infectious Diseases
Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 20, No. 3, March 2014