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BABESIOSIS

Babesiosis is a rare but a life-threatening infection of the red blood cells. It is caused by the parasite called “Babesia”. The infection is carried by the tick which spreads to human and animal when bitten.

The parasite is named after Viktor Babes a Romanian pathologist. He investigated the cause of a certain disease in cattle and the microorganism in the red blood cells. The disease can cause death in human but this can prevent with proper treatment involving anti-biotic.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The severity of the symptoms may vary. Some may not have symptoms at all. A person who’s infected by this disease may experience the following:

  • Fever and chill
  • A headache
  • Sweating
  • Body aches
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to possible complications like:

  • Abnormal function of the liver
  • Kidney failure
  • Severe hypotension
  • Development of anemia
  • Having a low platelet count
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Death

RISK FACTOR

The following are at risk of having this disease:

  • People residing in an endemic area
  • Bitten by an infected tick
  • Having outdoor activities during the season of tick activities
  • An adult person
  • A person with no spleen.
  • A person with a weak immune system

TRANSMISSION

A person can get infected through a bite of an infected tick. It can also spread through transfusion of the contaminated blood and transmission from infected mother to her baby during pregnancy.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of this disease is difficult. But doctors may use other methods in diagnosing the disease such as:

  • Blood smear
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Immunofluorescence (IFA)

TREATMENT

The parasite won’t respond to antibiotics alone. Treatment requires the use of azithromycin and antiparasitic drugs like Atovaquone. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe quinine and clindamycin to treat the disease.

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

The following are ways to prevent this disease:

  • Wear long sleeves shirts and pants.
  • Wear light-colored clothes so you can easily see the ticks.
  • Spray your shoes, socks and exposed areas with repellent containing DEET.
  • Inspect your body with infected ticks before entering your home.
  • Walk on clear trails when you’re going outdoors.
  • Keep off the place where infected ticks live.
  • Remove right away the ticks that attached to your skin.
  • In removing the tick use a long-handled brush to avoid biting.