LDA/Columbia 2011
Scientific Conference

Hyatt Penns Landing

Philadelphia, PA

October 1-2, 2011

Category:  Other Tick-borne Diseases

What is babesiosis?

Babesiosis is another disease that can be transmitted by the ticks that carry the agent of Lyme Disease. It is caused by an protozoan inside red blood cells: babesia microti. The clinical manifestations of the illness can be mild or severe and include such symptoms as intermittent temperature elevations, high fevers, chills, sweats, myalgia, arthalgia, nausea, and vomiting. There may be an associated anemia or low platelet count or protein in the urine. The most accurate way of diagnosing babesiosis is by blood smear, however many labs are now providing PCR assays which are thought to be accurate when done in a reputable lab with good quality controls standards. Serologic testing is also useful; a reactive titer however does not necessarily indicate that infection is present. Therapy for babesiosis includes either clindamycin and quinine or atovaquone (Mepron). Because in some areas 10% of ticks that carry the agent of Lyme Disease also carry the agent of Babesiosis and because co-infection can make Lyme Disease seem more chronic and resistant to antibiotics, testing for coinfection is very important.

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