Babesiosis is caused by parasites that infect the erythrocytes (red blood cells) and reproduces within the mammalian red blood cells. Babesia microti is transmitted by Ixodes scapularis (black-legged or deer) ticks, which are more prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest.
Babesiosis often occurs at the same time as Lyme disease, as the Ixodes ticks that carry Lyme disease can also carry the Babesia parasite.
The signs and symptoms are not specific to the disease; therefore, laboratory confirmation is required to identify babesiosis. Infectolab Americas Babesia microti Spot helps to monitor the antigen specific T-cell activity. These cells are part of the adaptive immune system; tracking their immune response gives a clear picture of the stage of the disease as well as providing the tools necessary to assess the success of any treatment.
The severity of babesia infection symptoms varies from no symptoms at all to serious, life-threatening complications. The incubation period ranges from 1-9 weeks. Severe symptoms may be experienced in patients with no spleen, the elderly, and immune-impaired individuals. Complications include very low blood pressure, liver problems, lysis of red blood cells (known as hemolytic anemia), and renal and heart failure. Other common symptoms include:
Yellowing of skin and eyes
Signs and Symptoms
The type of treatment should be based on the patient’s age, clinical status, spleen condition and any other medication they are currently taking. The parasite does not respond to antibiotics alone, therefore a combination of antibiotics with an anti parasitic drug is required. A 7-10 days treatment with a combination of atovaquone + azithromycin or clindamycin + quinine is considered for severely ill patients.