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Published On: Sat, Jul 24th, 2010

Increases in babesiosis seen in New York according to DOH

A relatively rare tick borne parasitic infection is being reported with increased frequency in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley according to the New York State Department of Health and infectious disease physicians in the area.

This includes the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Rockland.

According to Dr. Gary Wormser, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Westchester Medical Center, “The number of cases reported annually in just this area has increased from around 5 in 2001 to nearly 120 in 2008.”

Like Lyme disease, babesia is transmitted via the bite of a deer tick. The diseases are occasionally seen as co-infections. Babesia can also be transmitted through blood transfusions.

This parasitic disease of the red blood cells (like malaria) can be found worldwide, however most documented cases have been found in the United States. Most human infections are attributed to the species, Babesia microti, while other species are less often seen in zoonotic infections.

It is seen most frequently in the Northeast (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island) and to a lesser extent in the upper Midwest (Minnesota and Wisconsin).

The parasite is typically transmitted through a tick bite, Ixodes scapularis in the U.S., from late spring to early fall.

Depending on host factors (people without a spleen, immunocompromised) the disease can range from asymptomatic to life threatening.

Symptoms if present typically appear as non-specific flu like symptoms, fever, chills, body aches, and hemolytic anemia.

Laboratory diagnosis of acute cases is by identifying the parasite within red blood cells microscopically. It is sometime difficult to differentiate from the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum).

If you live in Babesia endemic areas, prevention is through rodent control (deer mice and other small mammals) and the use of tick repellent.

http://www.examiner.com/x-7707-Infectious-Disease-Examiner~y2010m7d24-Increases-in-babesiosis-seen-in-New-York-according-to-DOH

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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