Wilderness Medicine, First Aid, and Outdoor Skills
Babesiosis, Symptoms and Treatment

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Appendix A: First Aid Case and Kits, Dressings, and Bandages
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Appendix F: Glossary


Introduction

Babesiosis is transmitted to mammals through tick bites. It has recently received a lot of attention because it is frequently associated with Lyme disease. Ticks can carry both babesiosis and Lyme disease. Throughout history, cattle fever epidemics have been attributed to babesiosis.

Babesiosis can affect other mammals, as well. According to Auerbach, the first human diagnosis was made in 1957 in Yugoslavia. Since 1970, there have been many reported cases in the northeastern part of the country, specifically Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. There have also been a few cases in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We do know that the major vector is the white-footed mouse, which is also responsible for Lyme disease. The tick feeds off of the mouse, ingesting the parasite. These replicate within the tick, and then are passed on to the mammal the tick bites.

Babesiosis Symptoms

Research has show that there are risk factors for contracting a severe form of babesiosis, which include advanced age, the absence of a spleen, and generalized immunodeficiency. The affected individual may be asymptomatic for months and even years before presenting with classic symptoms. Generally, however, the incubation period is one to two weeks after being bitten. Symptoms are varied and can include nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, dark urine and temperatures around 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit. One should always consider a coexisting of Lyme disease, specifically if there is a rash resembling erythma migrans. The most common symptoms are weakness, fatigue and fever, as well as chills and nausea.

Babesiosis Treatment

Antibiotics are very effective, including Clindamycin, Zithromax, and Quinine being a good alternative.

 

Works Cited: Merck Manual, Wilderness Medicine by Auerbach





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