Babesiosis: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis
- Peter J Krause, MD
Peter J Krause, MD
- Senior Research Scientist
- Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine
- Edouard G Vannier, PhD
Edouard G Vannier, PhD
- Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Tufts Medical Center
Babesiosis is an infectious disease caused by protozoa of the genus Babesia. It is transmitted primarily by tick vectors. Transmission rarely occurs through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or congenitally. Babesia protozoa infect mammals and cause lysis of host red blood cells [1-4].
Babesia microti is the primary agent of human babesiosis in the United States, particularly in the Northeast and upper Midwest where it is endemic. Nearly all cases in Europe have been attributed to Babesia divergens, but the infection is sporadic. Babesia venatorum is endemic in northeastern China.
The clinical manifestations and diagnosis of babesiosis will be reviewed here. The treatment, prevention, microbiology, epidemiology, and pathogenesis of babesiosis are discussed separately. (See "Babesiosis: Microbiology, epidemiology, and pathogenesis" and "Babesiosis: Treatment and prevention".)
Babesia infections range from asymptomatic to severe and sometimes are fatal. The severity of infection depends on the Babesia species and the immune status of the host.
Infection due to B. microti — B. microti is the predominant species that infects humans in the United States. B. microti also causes disease in Europe, Asia, and Australia. Clinical manifestations may be absent or range from mild to severe.To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS
- Infection due to B. microti
- - Asymptomatic infection
- - Mild to moderate disease
- - Severe disease
- - Relapse
- - Coinfection with other tick-borne illnesses
- Infection due to other species
- - B. divergens
- - B. divergens-like organisms
- - B. duncani and related organisms
- - B. venatorum
- Clinical approach
- Laboratory diagnostic tools
- - Microscopy
- - Polymerase chain reaction
- - Serology
- Radiographic studies
- DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS
- SOCIETY GUIDELINE LINKS