Some seem surprised that just a tick bite can cause a complicated infection such as Babesiosis. To help you understand more about the infection, you need to learn what Babesiosis is and how can it be contracted, its symptoms, how to diagnose it, how it is treated, its complications, and how to prevent it.
Basesiosis is a rare yet complicated and fatal disease. Learning what this infection is all about will help you avoid all its serious complications. Here is some pertinent information that will give you enough understanding and awareness of Babesiosis to help you detect, diagnose, and immediately treat a potentially serious infection.
What is Babesiosis and how is it contracted?
Babesiosis, otherwise known as Babesia, is a blood-borne infection caused by Babesia microti and Babesia divergens protozoa. It is quite a rare infection that is often transmitted through ticks that also carry Lyme disease. This makes it possible for you to get infected with both Babesia and Lyme Diseases at the same. Both diseases are common during late spring, summer, and early fall. You may also get infected with Babesia through a contaminated blood transfusion.
What are the symptoms of Babesiosis?
In most cases, the symptoms of Babesia will show after a one to four week incubation period following a tick bite. You will exhibit symptoms similar to those of a flu, including fever, chills, headaches, and muscle pain that can last up to several months. You may also experience some kind of depression, anemia, jaundice, nausea,vomiting, and sweating, especially at night. The symptoms often mimic those of malaria.
How is Babesiosis diagnosed?
Many cases in the past have failed because Babesiosis has been mistaken as Malaria. The only difference in symptoms is that Malaria has aperiod fever. Apart from studying the symptoms, your personal history, including your tick bite, and a blood test will be required in order to appropriately diagnose Babesiosis. The difference between the two diseases can be seen in a blood test. 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. Some diagnostic tests employed include PCC techniques, IFA tests, and Giema stains.
How is it treated?
Babesiosis may be treated using a combination of anti-parasite medicines. You will not get well with common antibiotics, since this infection is not due to bacteria, but rather a parasite. An antibiotic, such as clindamycin, may be used in combination with other drugs, including quinine sulfate. Azithromycin, another antibiotic, may also be combined with atovaquone, which is an antimalarial drug. In some cases, exchange blood transfusions also help treat Babesiosis.
What are its complications?
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 such unhealthy conditions, fatalities have been reported, as well as cases of liver problems, low blood pressure, and severe anemia. If you are also infected with Lyme disease, your condition could be more complicated. On the other hand, if you are healthy, Babesiosis should not be that harmful and can cause only momentary and mild health issues.
How can Babesiosis be prevented?
The best way to prevent Babesiosis is to make sure you do not get bitten by ticks. When participating in outdoor activities, like hiking, camping, or hunting, make sure you thoroughly cover your body from head to toe. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a pair of shoes with good coverage. You may also apply insect repellents. 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. These are the seasons when ticks are most commonly found.
Babesiosis is a very rare infection, so you do not need to be terrified about it. As long as you know how to prevent it, recognize its symptoms, and have it treated immediately by your physician, you will be safe from this disease.