Babesiosis Definition

An illness that results from INFECTION with the parasitic protozoan Babesia microti. Most people who have babesiosis do not have symptoms; the infection causes illness primarily in people who are IMMUNOCOMPROMISED or who have had SPLENECTOMY (surgical removal of the SPLEEN). The bite of the Ixodes tick, found in the northeastern United States, is the mode of transmission. Babesiosis is rare in other parts of the United States.

Babesia microti infects the erythrocytes (red BLOOD cells), causing alterations in their cell membranes that affect their ability to carry oxygen. Hemolytic ANEMIA is a key consequence of babesiosis. Symptoms may include FEVER, COUGH, and shortness of breath (DYSPNEA). The doctor uses blood tests to diagnose babesiosis. The tests show the damage to the erythrocytes and the presence of antibodies. Treatment with ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS cures the infection. Rarely, a person may develop the lifethreatening complication ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (ARDS).

Antibiotic Medications to Treat Babesiosis

clindamycinquinine sulfate


Babesiosis disease Babesia microti and symptoms
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