What is Babesiosis ?

Babesiosis is an intraerythrocytic parasitic infection caused by protozoa of the genus Babesia and transmitted through the bite of the Ixodes tick, the same vector responsible for transmission of Lyme disease.The Ixodid ticks ingest Babesia during feeding from the host, multiply the protozoa in their gut wall, and concentrate it in their salivary glands. Babesiosis is a zoonotic disease maintained by the interaction of tick vectors, transport hosts, and animal reservoirs. The primary vectors of the parasite are ticks of the genus Ixodes. In the United States, babesiosis is usually an asymptomatic infection in healthy individuals. Several groups of patients become symptomatic, and, within these subpopulations, significant morbidity and mortality occur. The disease most severely affects patients who are elderly, immunocompromised, or asplenic. Among those symptomatically infected, the mortality rate is 10% in the United States and 50% in Europe.

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