A potentially devastating infection caused by tick bites has gained a foothold in the Lower Hudson Valley and in coastal areas of the Northeast, government researchers have found.

The condition, called babesiosis, is a malaria-like illness that results from infection with Babesia microti, a parasite that lives in red blood cells and is carried by deer ticks. Though far less common than Lyme disease, babesiosis can be fatal, particularly in people with compromised immune systems.

Because there is no widely used screening test for babesiosis, its spread poses a particular threat to the blood supply, scientists said. “We are very worried about it and are doing everything in our power to address this,” said Sanjai Kumar, chief of the laboratory of emerging pathogens at the Food and Drug Administration.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were six cases of babesiosis in the Lower Hudson Valley in 2001 and 119 cases in 2008, a 20-fold increase. In areas where Lyme disease is endemic, like coastal Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island, babesiosis also is becoming very common, said Dr. Peter Krause, senior research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health.

In one study of residents of Block Island, R.I., Dr. Krause found babesiosis to be just 25 percent less common than Lyme disease. Babesiosis also is spreading slowly into other regions where it did not exist before, like the Upper Midwest, said Dr. Krause.

Many people who are infected with the parasite have no symptoms at all, while others experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms that may last for a few days or as long as six months. “But some people get so sick that they wind up hospitalized, put into an intensive care unit, or even dying,” said Dr. Gary Wormser, chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center in New York.

In states that track the disease, there are an estimated 1,000 reported cases a year, said Dr. Krause, but he and other experts believe this represents a fraction of the people who are infected. In the Block Island study, researchers tested about 70 percent of the islanders and found that about one quarter of adults and half of children who were infected had no symptoms and were therefore not reported. Even people with mild to moderate symptoms may never see a physician. Even if they do, the condition may not be accurately diagnosed.

Experts fear that many undiagnosed patients may be donating blood. Currently, blood banks do not screen for Babesia because the Food and Drug Administration has not licensed a test for this purpose. The only way to screen a patient is by using a questionnaire, which simply asks blood donors if they are infected.

Babesiosis already is the most frequently reported infection transmitted through transfusion in the United States, responsible for at least 12 deaths. In New York City, six transfusion-associated cases of babesiosis were reported in 2009. Infection by this route can be serious: One study found approximately 30 percent of people who were infected by a transfusion died.

Between 1999 and 2007, several infants in Rhode Island developed babesiosis following blood transfusions. The Rhode Island Blood Center has become the first in the country to use an experimental new test to screen blood for the parasite.

Experts urge blood transfusion patients and their doctors to be aware of symptoms of babesiosis, which can occur up to nine weeks after a transfusion.

The symptoms can be vague (there is no tell-tale rash as there may be with Lyme disease) and include fever, sweats, chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches and pains. In people who also have Lyme disease, doctors might suspect babesiosis if the symptoms are particularly severe or the antibiotics are not working, said Dr. Krause. A diagnosis can be confirmed through blood testing.

Infants and adults over age 50 are more likely to get moderate to severe symptoms if infected. People at increased risk of complications include patients with compromised immune systems (such as people receiving immunosuppressants), those who’ve had their spleens removed, and those with lymphoma or H.I.V. or who are being treated for cancer.

If not caught and treated early, babesiosis can lead to such complications as kidney, lung or heart failure. The infection can be treated with antimicrobial medications, but people with serious complications are less responsive to the drugs.

Why the parasite is spreading and why it’s spreading more slowly than Lyme disease are not well understood. One theory is that Babesia may be carried primarily in mice, which don’t tend to travel far afield. The bacterium causing Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, can be carried by birds.

Source : NY Times …


Comments on: "Once Rare, Infection by Tick Bites Spreads" (16)

  1. Belinda said:

    Hey,Mr CS, hope you are having a good day, and thanks for this post. Babesiosis is very serious, and likely mis-diagnosed on many infected, as the symptoms are similar to so many other infections especially flu.

    On another note, I just wanted to say that I am having some difficulty reading text on your new blog version. The contrast between the back text and the dark blue background is not very high, and I find myself having to highlight text to increase the contrast to a usable level of visibility. I tried CTL+ to increase text size, and while that helps a bit, the lack of contrast between text and background colors still requires highlighting. I like blue a lot, but wish you had chosen a slightly lighter shade of it for the background to provide more contrast from the text.

  2. lyndaincanada said:

    Hi this is LYNDAINCANADA with an update – I have seen a gastroenterologist specialist here in Canada and my results are very compelling: I have been diagnosed with (non alcohol related) Fatty Liver Disease. The specialist absolutely agrees with Trish’s statement to me that: “It is complete detox. Diet and Lifestyle changes etc.” – This seems to support Pamela’s theory of Hypertoxicity as well… Joe’s mercury theory as well.

    The specialist does not believe Morgellons is DOP, but rather as he put it a result of “diet and hormones” — (I know this entry is about babesia and am not suggesting that bacteria has nothing to do with Morg. Rather I believe that liver malfuction in some way may be responsible for our inability to filter out a variety of toxins including mercury, environmental, and also bacteria such as babesia and the lyme bacteria…)

    My theory about liver malfunction (clogged up fish tank analogy) may indeed play a role in Morgellons, or at least for me it seems it does. The Specialist has put me on a FLD diet and is also testing further for Celiac disease. The diet he recommends is very similar to the Morgellons healing diet protocols I have been following…and the symptoms of Fatty Liver correlate with most Morgellons symptons….hmmmm interesting…

    He is adamant that I also take Omega 3 and a diabetis drug Metformin to help process insulin properly to help relieve my liver of “overexhaustion” – My liver IS enlarged and apparently my body needs further detoxing…Having been on this new FLD regime for just 1 week I have already lost weight and feel an amazing lessening of inflammation. (Mr CS – have you investigated liver malfunction? ( Inflammation/muscle weakening/fatigue/depression can be an identifying symptoms.)

    I wanted to share this info for others to investigate. Look up the symptoms of FLD, or other liver related conditions and get some liver testing done. It would be very interesting to gather data about other Morgies and their liver health. Intellectually it just makes so much sense that malfuction of liver is involved here…
    It might be useful to get thoughts from Joe K. as well as high mercury levels and Fatty Liver Disease can indeed be related…

    I see the specialist again in 3 – 6 months.

    • lyndaincanada said:

      One more thing…the specialist asked about trouble swallowing — which I do occasionally have. It feels like enlargement at the back of my throat, to the point that I sometimes am concerned that it will interfere with my breathing. (Anyone else ever experience this?) He suggested that the symptom was of something called gout. Gout apparently is also a symptom of FLD and metablic syndrome/insulin resistance. It is worthwhile to investigate what ‘gout’ is – as it somewhat resembles lyme disease/fybro joint pain. Nodules often accompany gout and crystals of urid acid often poke through the skin. Sounds similar to what so many of us are experiencing.

      • Mr. Common Sense said:

        I believe that is often indicative of a thyroid gland issue, however, anxiety can even cause that, trust me, I know. If you try to touch your chin to your chest can you do it? and does it hurt?

    • Miss Kim said:

      I just had a Nutritional Blood Analysis done which tested for 20 different issues of the blood. Here’s my results;
      The following showed areas that were above normal-
      Spicules: fibers which form in response to LIVER stress/congested
      Yeast: An advantaged stage of fungal fermentation
      Fungal Forms: fungal growths found within the blood
      Rouleau- RBC’s linked in chains: caused by undigested protein by-product known as monosodium urate
      Target Cells- donut shaped RBC’s: caused by cells lacking iron or poor absorption of iron
      Acanthocytes-spur cell irregularly spiculated RBC with varying length projections depending on toxin- (liver issue)

      The following tested Normal-
      White Blood Cells
      Bacteria L Form
      Bacteria Rod Forms
      Parasitized RBC
      Sugar Crystals
      Uric Acid Crystals
      Erythrocyte Aggregation
      Ovalocytes-B-12/Folic Acid
      Free Radical Damage

      I wonder what those of us with Morgellons have in commom regarding the blood.
      I will post more later

      • lyndaincanada said:

        Wow – your above normal results seem to support the belief that the fibers are fungal…and that the condition can be somehow related to liver malfunction…Once I left a blue fiber in a jar in a wet paper towel – when I looked at it again (weeks later) it looked featherly – and had grown – very mold-like. Those with still active body-fibers should try this – leave fibers in a glass of water and see what happens? Miss Kim – your entry is very informative for Morgies — I’m cutting and pasting your tests and results and am printing them so that I can get these particular blood tests done as well. Although we should all add our name to Mr. Common Sense’s “tombstone” – I actually do feel extremely hopeful, that regardless of the CDC’s results – we are VERY near to figuring this condition out. All Morgis should read an inspiration book called “The Secret” — it posits that we can create our future through our thoughts — My hope is very strong right now!

    • HI
      Just for your information, there is some controversy (sigh, again) regarding Celiac and gluten intolerance testing. Some Doctors believe there is only a condition called Celiac, however many naturopaths and alternative health practiioners have said that there is also a condition called Gluten Intolerance which may have many negative effects on your body and/or mind long term. The blood tests given by a regular doctor may not reveal that you have gluten intolerance.

      A naturopath told me a good test is by a private lab in the US. It is not that expensive.
      Enterolab can do a Gluten sensitivity stool test and also genetic tests.


      good luck

    • Hi Lynda, I live in Canada also. It sounds as if you have a good Doc. I would travel if I had to. I live in near Northern Ontario. Do you mind sharing his name?

      • lyndaincanada said:

        Sharon I live in Northern Ontario as well. If you email Pamela Crane, I will authorize her to give you my personal email — perhaps we can communicate more that way, I’d love to give you my phone number to really talk — what an ordeal this has all been 😦 – the other thing I am wondering is if we both live in northern Ontario – could there be a common vector point between us? Looking forward to hearing from you! I will give Dr’s name that way – he is in Thunder Bay.

  3. Jennifer Keys said:

    How is it determined that one has babesiosis if there isn’t a blood test yet? I come from a long line of Rhode Islanders, I need to go there next month to deposit my dad’s ashes. I’ve spent months at the shore, been bitten by ticks there. My doc tested me for Lyme, and said it was negative. But I’ve gotten the impression that there are different tests by different labs, so what did his test really tell me? These infections can be transmitted through the placenta, too, I understand. My mom had odd problems, was a ‘Dylander, and my cousin died of odd unspecified causes, full of candida.

    • Have them reference Cottage Hospital in Nantucket, Falmouth Hospital or Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, they are all pretty savvy re : babesiosis. The Vineyard Hospital I hear, is not so much.
      People get air lifted to the Brigham ( BHMDC) pretty consistently.
      Don’t fret, I’ve survived and so did a friend of mine who was almost DOA.

      Not that i don’t think this is tick related…. I am quite sure of it

  4. i have the condition for 6 years now, and finally i believe i know what caused my condition,i contracted this condition from my dog’s parasitic skin problem what vets are not familiar with, at the begining i saw all sort of different bugs on his fur and skin, then morgellons particle covered my entire house, after numerous pest controls of my house and treating my dog with ivermectin and sufur dip, he got improved at first, still the problem continued, i got sharp biting one night laying in bed , then something entered my skin, i had strange tingling sensation and pain all over my back lasting several weeks. and i develped same skin symptoms as my dog, partices comming out of m y skin, something started biting us from all over my house and it seemed pest control made it worse, i saw abundunt dead gnt like fly in my closet, and these particle all over my clothing, after 2 years of this condition in my house, eventually i had to leave my home to a new house, but the condition followed us, it did not take long before my new house to get infected again, male a long story, i believe our condition is caused by microscopic algae eating fly larve on and in our skin and our surounding environment , i am not sure our body is creating these larve or it is there temporary from the environment, but there is near microscopic fly activity on lamp shade, creating same dust and tread like symptoms on my skin and clothing, i see a microscopic fly crawling wet laundry, i think these fly are hatching out of pupae during wash cycle and did not die because of their thick coccon, the brown mold like particles dropping from our skin, some one on the internet told me to try glass of milk with 2 table of cinnemon, and see the morgellon organism come to surface of the skin, i tried, and to my suprise, these larve crawaled out of my skin, some out of leisions, some were on the surface of the skin in about an hour , i see these fly larve is in refrigerator, freezer, in purse, and abundunt in the car,they are eating fibers on your clothing, blanket, interior of your car, trying to pupate, when they die, they create molds and dust, fungus, toxins, we are subject to these conditions day after day, breeding this micro dust,mold on the skin,from these larve on the skin, our body have hyper toxidity due to this cotinuousenvironment we are under,this micro dust, mold created by the condition of our body is what futhers the desease, created by larve in our own body,makes your house and car, filled with micro dust, there seems be micro dust all around my environment, irritates your lung, our body can’t recover, due to continue of new larve creation on our body this is environmental, these, algae eating plant based fly want to live inside house and parasite our body,i think the reason is our skin has the algae or mold these fly like to dwell on, i believe morgellos patients are exposed to morgellons microdust, algae dust, possibly bio chemtrail dust, which was deliever to us by gm modified plant eating organism, possibly aphid, i took fly sample tolocal agriculture extention and 2 fly is identified, one called hemeptera miradae, another called neuroptera coniopteydae, both are super micro, and will able to parasite dog’s fur, fiber of clothing,it seems these fly are trying to moving indoors, possibly due chemtrail spraying, my car seem to covered by microdust, i can’t seem to clean, this mold or algae growing on exterior of car, just like on my skin, these particle seem to attach to plastic and become bond to it, it is very strange phenominon

  5. lyndaincanada said:

    buddypet – I think your arguments here are tremendously profound! I am going to investigate the hemeptera miradae, and neuroptera coniopteydae. I have been searching for possible explanations to the micro-nits on my head hair… your theories above deserve real consideration and investigation; I too have noticed the microdust and have moved homes…it has not followed me to new house and I don’t intend for it to…am cleaning and bathing in enzymes and cannot believe what an incredible difference that is making…am soaking head in enzymes and using a baby steel nit comb to remove the micro-nits…my head feels much better. They are too small for lice…

    • lyndaincanada said:

      I GOOGLED: HEMEPTERA MIRADAE – IT IS ALSO CALLED A COTTON FLEAHOPPER!!!!! Noone has ever been able to explain why Morgellons sufferers are particularly bothered by cotton materials…perhaps it is because the cotton IS invested!! This is worthy of further investigation, perhaps this is our smoking gun…or is at least somehow a vector.

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