HistoryThis section has been translated automatically.
DefinitionThis section has been translated automatically.
Zoonosis caused by babesias (protozoa parasitizing in erythrocytes) and transmitted by ticks. In humans, malaria-like clinical pictures (fever, anaemia, jaundice) can be triggered.
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PathogenThis section has been translated automatically.
Plasmodium-like protozoa. Transmission by ticks (Ixodes dammini, Ixodes ricinus) or small rodents.
Babesia divergens: spread in Europe; transmission by Ixodes ricinus.
Babesia microti: transmitted by Ixodes dammini, infects red deer in the adult stage, rodents in the larval and nymph stage. Transmission by blood transfusion described.
Occurrence/EpidemiologyThis section has been translated automatically.
- Babesiosis caused by Babesia divergens:
- Parasitosis of cattle with great losses in livestock with worldwide distribution. Endemic in subtropical and tropical regions.
- In humans: spread in Europe.
- Transmission by Ixodes ricinus.
- Babesiosis by Babesia microti:
- More common in humans than Babesia divergens.
- Mainly occurring in splenectomized patients.
- Mainly occurring in the USA (Nantucket Islands, Martha's Vineyard, Long Island; Massachusetts; New York and Connecticut)
- Transmission through ixodes dammini.
- Reservoir are rodents.
ManifestationThis section has been translated automatically.
Clinical featuresThis section has been translated automatically.
Integument: Little itching at the tick bite, brown-red to black round tick body. A tick bite is not always memorable. Pale, discoloured, anaemic mucous membranes (oral cavity, lips). Often, but not always, a haemolytic icterus occurs. In individual cases mucous membrane hemorrhages, petechiae, purpura.
Incubation period: 1-4 weeks.
Babesia divergens infection: fever, chills, muscle and limb pain, hemolytic anemia, hemoglobinuria, hepatitis and nephropathy. Spleno- and hepatomegaly, dyspnea (due to anaemia and haemolysis). High lethality.
Babesia microti infection: usually latent or subclinical course. In rare, severe courses similar to Babesia divergent infection, rarely lethal.
DiagnosisThis section has been translated automatically.
- Thick drop: Difficult to differentiate from malaria.
- Blood smear: Parasitemia low, several smears necessary.
- Serology: indirect fluorescence antibody test, antibody increase expected after 2-4 weeks (low specificity).
- PCR: genome detection.
TherapyThis section has been translated automatically.
- Babesia microti infection:
- Therapy of choice: Clindamycin 3 times/day 600 mg p.o. and quinine 3 times/day 650 mg p.o. for 7-10 days.
- Alternatively, atovaquone twice a day 750 mg and azithromycin once a day 250 mg (500 mg on the first day) p.o. for 7-10 days.
- Babesia divergence infection:
- In severe cases: exchange transfusion.
Progression/forecastThis section has been translated automatically.
- Babesia divergens infection: High lethality.
- Babesia microti-infection: Often subclinical course, low lethality.
ProphylaxisThis section has been translated automatically.
LiteratureThis section has been translated automatically.
- Krause PJ et al (2008) Persistent and relapsing babesiosis in immunocompromised patients. Clin Infect Dis Feb 46: 370-376
- Genchi C (2007). Human babesiosis, an emerging zoonosis. Parasitologia 49: 29-31
Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.