Sep 01, 2023
Babesiosis is a condition brought on by many species (types) of the parasite Babesia. It can be acquired either by organ transplantation or through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.
Babesiosis typically manifests as flu-like symptoms. However, if your immune system is weakened then the destruction of red blood cells due to parasites could lead to potentially lethal complications. A common adverse consequence is hemolytic anemia, which occurs when red blood cells are lost more quickly than they can be replenished.
Several types of Babesia parasites cause babesiosis. Babesia are protozoa, one-celled organisms that require a microscope to be seen. Through a tick bite, they enter your blood. Your red blood cells are contaminated and killed there. This may make you feel exhausted in mild circumstances.
The infection may cause problems that are lethal in severe cases, such as when you have a compromised immune system. The most typical cause of symptomatic babesiosis in the United States is B. microti. The Babesia species B. duncani, B. divergens, B. venatorum, and B. crassa are also occasionally contagious.
Babesiosis symptoms begin one to four weeks after exposure. They incorporate:
Most of the persons with babesiosis are asymptomatic. It typically doesn't result in a rash, unlike other tick-borne infections.
Additional signs and symptoms of severe babesiosis include:
Babesiosis can be identified through blood tests. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Even if you don't remember being bitten, tell them if you have lately (within the past three weeks) visited a location where a tick may have bitten you. It's also critical for them to understand if you recently obtained a blood transfusion.
Your doctor will order tests to check for parasites in your blood if they suspect you may have babesiosis. They'll also rule out any conditions that could be causing the same symptoms.
Babesiosis can be managed by your healthcare provider using a variety of drugs. Antiprotozoals, antibiotics, and antimalarial medicines fall under this category. You might receive them as pills or a liquid to swallow, or they might administer them to you via an IV in your arm.
If you have a severe illness, you could need further care, like a blood transfusion.
Prescription drugs for babesiosis
Your doctor may prescribe a mix of these drugs to treat you:
If you are suffering from serious illness then the doctor might suggest the following methods:
The best way to prevent babesiosis if you reside in or are visiting an area where it exists is to avoid tick bites. Among the specific steps you can take to lower your risk of tick bites are:
Babesiosis can result in potentially fatal complications, particularly if your immune system is already compromised. They consist of:
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