Babesia May Not Show Symptoms

Babesia May Not Show Symptoms

On June 20, 2011, The New York Times published an article, “Once Rare, Infection by Tick Bites Spreads” by Laurie Tarkan; bravely presenting  evidence that shows the alarming spread of Babesiosis  (Babesia – a malaria-like parasite that attacks the red blood cells, and has been considered by many of us to be a common co-infection of Lyme disease.)

Finally the extraordinary mystery surrounding the wide range of differing symptoms and intensity of various symptoms have been set under the umbrella of Babesia microti (although there could be many different and as of yet unlabeled variations of the parasite) while only months ago, and today in some hospitals, Babesiosis was only considered if the symptoms were life threatening.  My own primary care doctor told me five years ago – in spite of my symptoms – that I wasn’t sick enough to have Babesiosis.

Not surprisingly, the fatalities were always in the spotlight, and it has not been until recently with the release of some new studies that more is being understood about Babesiosis, and more in depth questions being brought to the fore.

The CDC recently announced that there has been a twenty-fold increase in Babesiosis  between 2001 and 2008 – in only seven years!  Another study on Block Island showed that Babesiosis is only 25% less common than Lyme disease in the 70% of islanders tested.  Even more alarming is that one quarter of the adults, and one half of the children that tested positive for Babesiosis showed no symptoms at all!

These frightening results affect our society on so many levels, many of which are immediately obvious.  Thankfully government officials are not closing their eyes like they have with Lyme disease but have immediately considered the ramifications concerning the nation’s blood supply.  As you may or may not know, blood banks do not screen blood for Lyme and/or the many co-infections including Babesiosis.

Additionally, it appears that contracting Babesiosis from blood transfusions is more likely to end in fatality according to a study by the American Red Cross – 30% of those infected through infusions died.

The good news is that more effort is being made to find a reliable screening tool to discover these pathogens as soon as possible. The Rhode Island Blood Center has become the first in the country to use an experimental new test to screen blood for the parasite which will hopefully develop into a blood test for those of us trying to find a diagnosis for our mysterious disease symptoms.  The pressure is definitely on.

For more information: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/health/21ticks.html?_r=3

and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19624607

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4 Responses to Babesia May Not Show Symptoms

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Again, Thank you for your lyme updates and and happy you are having a number of fine days!! I definitely have Babesia and just have dreadful detox symptoms even when taking a fraction of required medication. I am going to call Dr. Ernie
    Murakami and hopefully he can guide me with treatment!
    My prayers are with you and for continued recovery and thank you for shharing your Lyme knowledge, it is so helpful, makes me feel I’m not alone in this illness and that there is hope.

    Jennifer

  2. Jean Springsteen says:

    Jenna, I cannot tell you how helpful you have been in our battle again lyme and coinfections. I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the time and dedication you have to helping those of us unfortunate enough to be plagued by this stupid disease.

  3. Rachel Pouliot says:

    I believe that I have lyme & The co infection babesia. I have been having symptoms for over a year. I have gone to numerous doctors & specialists & 5 emergency rooms. I have every test possible only to be told I am fine. Doe any of this sound familiar? Too bad doctors do not believe in lyme disease. What are some of your symptoms? I still don’t think it will go away.

    • Jenna Smith says:

      Hi Rachel –
      It is so disheartening to be sick for so long and have doctors look at you like you’re crazy, or worse yet – diagnose you as depressed! Of course you’re depressed! Who wouldn’t be? One year feels like forever but you have a better chance of recovery if you fight it hard now. Every week it just gets harder to destroy. Everyone is different – age, immune system, stress level, number of co-infections…so recovery will be different for everyone too.

      I am not a doctor so I can’t give you medical advice but I can share what is working for me (at the very least I have had Lyme, Bartonella, Babesiosis, mycoplasma and candida in addition to some unidentified infections and rashes. You need to find a Lyme specialist who knows what to look for and the best tests to run (the common diagnostic tests are useless for the most part.

      Where do you live?

      Blessings, Jenna

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