Babesia: Short Articles
Increasingly, some physicians are realizing that their Lyme patient have also been infected with Babesia. It is an infection partly related to malaria, and the American form of Babesia is less likely to kill.
Common symptoms are marked fatigue, high fever, chills, diaphoresis (sweats), weakness, decreased appetite and headache.
Dr. Mylonakis, from Mass. General Hospital, mentions that in the past decade, cases of babesiosis in humans have been reported with increasing frequency, especially in the northeastern United States. There are different types, for example, Babesia microti (in the United States) and bovine strains (in Europe) cause most infections in humans. Most are passed to humans by ticks, though some have been infected from transfused blood or through the placenta.
Some patient can get jaundice with skin yellowing. Others occasionally get congestive heart failure, renal failure and serious breathing problems are the most common complications.
Treatments include atovaquone suspension plus azithromycin was effective.
Mylonakis E. When to suspect and how to monitor babesiosis. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63:1969-74.
Human babesiosis causes headaches, intermittent fevers, chills, nausea, vomiting, myalgia, altered mental status, and serious blood clotting, anemia, hypotension, respiratory distress, and renal problems insufficiency.
Humans require very much small loads of Babesia before becoming ill the harmful effects of which are mediated by the pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Clark IA, Jacobson LS. Do babesiosis and malaria share a common disease process? Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1998;92:483-8.
Approximately 10% of patients with Lyme disease in southern New England are co-infected with babesiosis. The number of symptoms and duration of illness in patients with concurrent Lyme disease and babesiosis are greater than in patients with either infection alone. In areas where both Lyme disease and babesiosis have been reported, the possibility of concomitant babesial infection should be considered when moderate to severe Lyme disease has been diagnosed.
Krause PJ, Telford SR 3rd, Spielman A, Sikand V, Ryan R, Christianson D, Burke G, Brassard P, Pollack R, Peck J, Persing DH. Concurrent Lyme disease and babesiosis. Evidence for increased severity and duration of illness. JAMA. 19965;275:1657-60.
Most reported U.S. cases of babesiosis have occurred in the Northeast and been caused by Babesia microti. In Washington State, cases of babesiosis have been reported which were caused by WA1 (for "Washington 1")-type parasites. Babesiosis can be caused by new forms of parasites, the WA-1 form or variety, detectable by visual manual examination of blood smearŐs, but not by routine blood testing like serologic or molecular testing for the more well known Babesia microti. Routine Babesia labs would miss the WA-1 form. Another form of Babesia exists labeled as the CA-1 Babesia Form.
This is one reason I test for both the WA-1 and CA-1 Babesia forms .
Herwaldt BL, de Bruyn G, Pieniazek NJ, Homer M, Lofy KH, Slemenda SB, Fritsche TR, Persing DH, Limaye AP. Babesia divergens-like infection, Washington State. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004;10:622-9
Babesia is a protozoan spread by ticks, blood transfusion, and in utero. Despite there being 13 known forms to date, current testing only looks for two of them.
The following symptoms were excerpted from Diagnostic Hints And Treatment Guidelines For Lyme And Other Tick Borne Illnesses, by Joseph J. Burrascano Jr., M.D. (Fourteenth Edition, November, 2002).
THERE ARE OTHER CO-INFECTIONS THAT COMPLICATE THE DIAGNOSIS AND SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LYME DISEASE. THESE INFECTIONS CAN ALSO OCCUR BY THEMSELVES OR IN VARIOUS COMBINATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, ANOTHER TICK-BORNE INFECTION IS CAUSED BY THE INTRACELLULAR PROTOZOAN BABESIA, FIRST DESCRIBED IN DOMESTIC ANIMALS IN ROMANIA . THERE ARE OVER 100 SPECIES OF THE GENUS BABESIA, BUT MOST INFECTIONS IN HUMANS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE CAUSED BY BABESIA MICROTI AND IN EUROPE BY BABESIA DIVERGENS AND B. BOVIS. THIS TYPE OF INFECTION CAN OCCUR AS A CO-INFECTION WITH BORRELIA (ABOUT 20% OF CASES OF LYME DISEASE HAVE BORRELIA PLUS BABESIA INFECTIONS). WHEN BOTH INFECTIONS ARE PRESENT, THE NUMBER OF SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS AND DURATION OF ILLNESS ARE GREATER , INCLUDING HIGH FEVER, CHILLS, GENERALIZED WEAKNESS, GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS (ANOREXIA, NAUSEA, ABDOMINAL PAIN, VOMITING, DIARRHEA, AMONG OTHERS), ANEMIA, MUSCLE AND JOINT PAIN, RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS AND DARK URINE. THIS COMBINATION CAN BE LETHAL IN SOME PATIENTS (ABOUT 7% OF PATIENTS CAN HAVE DISSEMINATED INTRAVASCULAR COAGULATION, ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME AND HEART FAILURE), BUT THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS WITH BABESIA HAVE THE CHRONIC PERSISTENT FORM OF THE INFECTION. IN BABESIA INFECTIONS PATIENTS OFTEN SHOW MILD TO SEVERE HEMOLYTIC ANEMIA (PROBABLY CORRELATING WITH THE PROTOZOAN COLONIZATION OF ERYTHROCYTES, WHICH CAN BE SEEN BY EXPERIENCED INDIVIDUALS IN BLOOD SMEARS) AND A NORMAL TO SLIGHTLY DEPRESSED LEUKOCYTE COUNT.
Garth L. Nicolson. DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPY OF CHRONIC SYSTEMIC CO-INFECTIONS IN LYME DISEASE AND OTHER TICK-BORNE INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Lyme Disease Diagnosis & Therapy Suggestions 2002