Babesiosis

Infectious diseases

Clinicals - History

Fact Explanation
Asymptomatic Manifestation of symptoms is directly related to the number of parasites in the human body. Some patients remain asymptomatic. Asymptomatic
Manifestation of symptoms is directly related to the number of parasites in the human body. Some patients remain asymptomatic.
Flu-like symptoms Patients complain of fever with or without chills and rigors, increased sweating, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. Flu-like symptoms
Patients complain of fever with or without chills and rigors, increased sweating, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea.
Symptoms of hemolytic anemia Babesiosis causes hemolytic anemia. Patients complain of jaundice, itching and dark urine. Massive hemolysis produces malaise, chills, myalgia and anemia. These symptoms are much more significant in asplenic patients, immunocompromised patients and in elderly. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia
Babesiosis causes hemolytic anemia. Patients complain of jaundice, itching and dark urine. Massive hemolysis produces malaise, chills, myalgia and anemia. These symptoms are much more significant in asplenic patients, immunocompromised patients and in elderly.
Features of disseminated intravascular coagulation Patients present with spontaneous bleeding manifestations. Features of disseminated intravascular coagulation
Patients present with spontaneous bleeding manifestations.
History of travel to an endemic area People tend to get tick bites where ticks are common and babesiosis is endemic. History of travel to an endemic area
People tend to get tick bites where ticks are common and babesiosis is endemic.
Recent blood transfusion Donated blood from an asymptomatic person may transmit the disease. Recent blood transfusion
Donated blood from an asymptomatic person may transmit the disease.
Skin rash Skin rash may present in some patients. Skin rash
Skin rash may present in some patients.
Symptoms of central nervous system involvement Patients complain of headache, photophobia, neck or back pain and altered sensorium. Symptoms of central nervous system involvement
Patients complain of headache, photophobia, neck or back pain and altered sensorium.

Clinicals - Examination

Fact Explanation
Fever Often patients are febrile. Fever
Often patients are febrile.
Jaundice If hemolytic anemia develops patients can have jaundice. Jaundice
If hemolytic anemia develops patients can have jaundice.
Abdominal examination Hepatomegaly and splenomegaly can be detected. Abdominal examination
Hepatomegaly and splenomegaly can be detected.
Skin rash Rash can be seen in some patients. However it is not common. Skin rash
Rash can be seen in some patients. However it is not common.
Features of shock These include hypotension, rapid thread pulse and cold clammy extremities. Features of shock
These include hypotension, rapid thread pulse and cold clammy extremities.
Examination of the central nervous system Patients have neck stiffness and altered sensorium. Examination of the central nervous system
Patients have neck stiffness and altered sensorium.

Investigations - Diagnosis

Fact Explanation
Full blood count Normocytic normochromia anemia with thrombocytopenia. Leukopenia might be detected as well. Full blood count
Normocytic normochromia anemia with thrombocytopenia. Leukopenia might be detected as well.
Blood picture Babesia parasites can be seen in infected red blood cells. Blood picture
Babesia parasites can be seen in infected red blood cells.
Indirect (immuno) fluorescent antibody tests (IFATs) Recognizes the infection by identifying specific antigens of the tick. Indirect (immuno) fluorescent antibody tests (IFATs)
Recognizes the infection by identifying specific antigens of the tick.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Detects the DNA of the tick. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Detects the DNA of the tick.
Antibody against tick This allows the detection of antibodies but after an acute infection antibodies may persist for up to about 6 years. So positive antibody test does not necessarily means an acute infection. Antibody against tick
This allows the detection of antibodies but after an acute infection antibodies may persist for up to about 6 years. So positive antibody test does not necessarily means an acute infection.

Investigations - Management

Fact Explanation
Full blood count Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a known complication of the disease. Full blood count allows early detection of thrombocytopenia in DIC. Full blood count
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a known complication of the disease. Full blood count allows early detection of thrombocytopenia in DIC.
Hepatic transaminases Since the hepatic transaminases increase with the development of DIC, assessment of baseline levels of liver enzymes is helpful. Hepatic transaminases
Since the hepatic transaminases increase with the development of DIC, assessment of baseline levels of liver enzymes is helpful.
Prothrombin time and international normalized ratio (PT/INR) Evaluates the baseline clotting profile. Prothrombin time and international normalized ratio (PT/INR)
Evaluates the baseline clotting profile.
Serum bilirubin Unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia is present. Serum bilirubin
Unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia is present.
Serum lactic dehydrogenase Elevated due to hemolysis. Serum lactic dehydrogenase
Elevated due to hemolysis.
Renal function test Massive hemolysis can result in acute kidney injury. Renal function test
Massive hemolysis can result in acute kidney injury.
CT or MRI In severe disease this will aid in evaluating the liver and spleen. CT or MRI
In severe disease this will aid in evaluating the liver and spleen.

Management - Supportive

Fact Explanation
Health education Babesiosis is caused by tick bites. Tick bites should be prevented by avoiding their habitat areas. Cover the body properly when working outdoors. Chemical repellents like DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) and Permethrin can be applied to the skin or to the clothing to prevent tick bites.
Ticks are commonly found in leaf litter, brush, and overgrown grasses. It is better to avoid getting contact with them. After outdoor activities the whole body should be examined for the ticks especially behind the knees, groin area, between the toes, armpits, around the waist, inside the umbilicus, back of the neck, hairline, hair and around the ears.
If any tick is seen attached to the skin it should be removed immediately.
Health education
Babesiosis is caused by tick bites. Tick bites should be prevented by avoiding their habitat areas. Cover the body properly when working outdoors. Chemical repellents like DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) and Permethrin can be applied to the skin or to the clothing to prevent tick bites.
Ticks are commonly found in leaf litter, brush, and overgrown grasses. It is better to avoid getting contact with them. After outdoor activities the whole body should be examined for the ticks especially behind the knees, groin area, between the toes, armpits, around the waist, inside the umbilicus, back of the neck, hairline, hair and around the ears.
If any tick is seen attached to the skin it should be removed immediately.
Management of acute renal failure Severe intravascular hemolysis may lead to acute kidney injury. Dehydration can increase the risk of acute kidney injury. So meticulous fluid management is mandatory. Management of acute renal failure
Severe intravascular hemolysis may lead to acute kidney injury. Dehydration can increase the risk of acute kidney injury. So meticulous fluid management is mandatory.

Management - Specific

Fact Explanation
Conservative management Babesiosis is mild and self-limiting disease in majority of people. Human is the dead-end host of Babesia species. However transfusion of blood from an infected person can spread the disease even sometime after the acute infection, because the ticks are known to survive for a long time in human body. Patients should be advised not to donate blood in order to prevent the human to human transmission. Conservative management
Babesiosis is mild and self-limiting disease in majority of people. Human is the dead-end host of Babesia species. However transfusion of blood from an infected person can spread the disease even sometime after the acute infection, because the ticks are known to survive for a long time in human body. Patients should be advised not to donate blood in order to prevent the human to human transmission.
Pharmacological management Combined therapy with clindamycin (600 mg orally, three times daily, or 1.2 g parenterally, twice daily) and quinine (650 mg of salt orally, three times daily) is effective. Atovaquone and azithromycin is also an effective combination of treatment. Pharmacological management
Combined therapy with clindamycin (600 mg orally, three times daily, or 1.2 g parenterally, twice daily) and quinine (650 mg of salt orally, three times daily) is effective. Atovaquone and azithromycin is also an effective combination of treatment.
Exchange transfusion Patients with severe infection may need exchange transfusion in order to remove infected red blood cells from the circulation. Exchange transfusion
Patients with severe infection may need exchange transfusion in order to remove infected red blood cells from the circulation.

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