Babesiosis is an uncommon and serious tick-borne ailment brought about by a parasite. An infection can trigger symptoms strikingly resembling malaria including nausea, muscle aches and spleen enlargement.
Remember that an infection might be deadly among individuals with a compromised immune system or those who had the spleen removed.
- Being exposed to infected ticks during outdoor activities such as trekking or camping
- Living in an area where deer, black-legged or bear ticks are widespread
- Those with a weakened immune system or suppressed by continuous use of immune-suppressing drugs and treatment for certain ailments
- Individuals who have undergone splenectomy. If the spleen has been removed, defense against infection is lost.
- Babesiosis can spread via blood transfusion
- Transmission from an infected mother to the child during pregnancy and delivery
What are the signs?
In most cases, an individual infected with babesiosis usually feels fine and does not show any symptoms. Some might end up with flu-like symptoms such as:
- High fever with chills and fatigue
- Appetite loss
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pain and headache
- Nausea and vomiting
Due to the similarities of the symptoms with the flu, the travel history must be included during an assessment with the doctor.
Management of babesiosis
In asymptomatic cases of babesiosis, treatment is not necessary. In some cases, though, treatment is initiated only after a diagnosis has been confirmed.
Some of the commonly used treatment options include:
- Antimicrobial drugs
- A combination of 2 types of anti-parasitic medications
- Adequate rest
- Increase the intake of fluids to prevent dehydration