Babesiosis: 6 Things To Know

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Published: 18th November 2010
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People may be shocked to learn a tick bite may lead to something as dangerous as Babesiosis. You cannot possibly fight against Babesiosis unless you know everything you can about it, and this means learning what it is, how it is contracted and spread, what its symptoms are, what complications arise from it, how it is diagnosed, treated and prevented.

Babesia is an ailment which can be classified as the quite uncommon and still intricately complex ailment. Being informed about this infection should safeguard you from the dangers associated with it. Some relevant facts are herein providing sufficient knowledge and cognizance about Babesiosis enabling you to find, diagnose, and get the right care of a communicable illness:

What is Babesiosis and how is it contracted?
The blood-borne infection caused by Babesia microti and Babesia divergens protozoa is known as Babesia or Babesiosis. It is quite a rare infection that is often transmitted through ticks that also carry Lyme disease. You can possibly be infected by Babesia and Lyme Disease both at the same time. Each of these diseases is prevalent from late in spring to early in autumn. Babesia infection can occur due to receiving tainted blood as well.

What are the symptoms of Babesiosis?
After a tick bite, Babesia generally has a 7-28 day incubation period before symptoms become apparent. You will exhibit symptoms similar to those of a flu, including fever, chills, headaches, and muscle pain that can last up to several months. Most commonly noticeable at night, you may feel some anemia, depression, nausea, jaundice, vomiting, and sweating. The symptoms often mimic those of malaria.

What method is used to diagnose Babesiosis?
As Babesiosis has been wrongly diagnosed as Malaria, many past cases ended up with dire results. A fever is the only different symptom of Malaria. To get a correct diagnoses of Babesiosis, your personal medical history, information about the tick bite, and a blood test will all be needed. Variations between these diseases are observable with blood testing. A so-called Maltese Cross, or the presence of tetrads is visible in the red blood cells of patience with Babesiosis, and a ring-like formation shows in patience with Malaria. Doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose this condition including IFA tests, PCC techniques and Giema stains.

What is it that can be done to treat it?
Doctors will often prescribe a combination of anti-parasite medications to treat Babesiosis. Antibiotics are useless against this infection as it is a parasitic infection rather than bacterial. A combination of drugs including quinine sulfate may be used but include an antibiotic such as clindamycin for the disease. Azithromycin is one more antibiotic which also can be used along with an antimalaria medicine , Antovaquone. Blood transfusions exchanges may also help treat Babesiosis.

What complications are associated with this condition?
As with other infections not immediately or properly treated, Babesiosis could cause complications, especially in the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, and those whose spleens have been removed. In this dismal environment, deaths do happen, along with liver problems, low blood pressure, and severe anemia. For those who have contracted Lyme disease too, this may aggravate the condition. Otherwise, if you are in good health, Babeosiosis should not be too dangerous and can only result in minor health problems. 

What may be done to prevent Babesiosis?
Avoiding ticks and not getting bitten by them is the best way to prevent infection of Babesiosis. Thoroughly cover your body from head to toe when participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping or hunting. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a pair of shoes with good coverage. Application of bug spray is another option. Finally, you need to check for ticks on your body from time to time, or after an outdoor activity in the grassy and woody areas, especially during late spring, summer, and early fall. Ticks are most commonly found in the spring and summer.

Do not worry too much about being infected with babesiosis as it is an exceedingly rare infection. This disease will not hurt you if you take steps to prevent it, know its symptoms in your body and seek treatment.

The signs of Babesia can be further studies by checking out

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