Archive for the ‘Babesia’ Category

Blood Screening for Babesiosis Using Enzymatic Assays

Screening of patient blood samples for babesiosis using enzymatic assays

Primus S, Akoolo L, Schlachter S, Parveen N.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, online first 2017 Nov 12.


Human babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne disease in the United States and Europe. Transmitted by Ixodes ticks, the causative agent Babesia microti is an intraerythrocytic parasite that causes mild to deadly disease. Transmission of B. microti can also occur by transfusion of infected blood and blood products resulting in transfusion-transmitted babesiosis (TTB), which carries a high risk of fatality.

To effectively manage this rise in B. microti infections, better screening tools are needed, which require minimal manipulation of the samples before testing. To this end, we tested two enzymatic assays, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), for efficacy in diagnosis of babesiosis. The results show that AST and ALT activity is significantly higher in the plasma of B. microti-infected patients.

Moreover, statistical analysis revealed that these assays have high sensitivity and positive predictive values, which highlights their usefulness as diagnostics for babesiosis. These standardized enzymatic assays can be used to perform high-throughput, large-scale screens of blood and blood products before they are certified safe for transfusion.


For more on Babesia:


Congenital Babesiosis in Two Infants

Congenital Babesiosis After Maternal Infection With Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti
Saetre K, Godhwani N, Maria M, Patel D, Wang G, Li KI, Wormser GP, Nolan SM.
Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, online first 2017 Sep 16.


We describe the cases of 2 infants with congenital babesiosis born to mothers with prepartum Lyme disease and subclinical Babesia microti infection.

The infants both developed anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia, and 1 infant required red blood cell transfusion. Both infants recovered with treatment.

Additional studies are warranted to define the optimal management strategy for pregnant women with early Lyme disease in geographic areas in which B microtiinfection is endemic.


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Amy Hilfiger & Lyme

Published on Oct 31, 2017

Ally Hilfiger shares her experiences at Focus on Lyme 2017

Ally Hilfiger, daughter of famous fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, has struggled with Lyme disease since childhood. We included an excerpt of her book “Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me” in our Fall 2016 Lyme Times issue. To take a look, click here:…


Lyme Wars Part 5 – Coinfections Oct. 27, 2017 (News video in link)

Man dies of Powassan virus and doctors are sounding the alarms to not only Lyme disease, but other tick-borne illnesses. Stefan Holt reports in the final part of News 4’s 5-part series on the Lyme Wars.



Another informative report on the dangers of other TBI’s (tick borne illness) besides Lyme Disease.  Please remember that a tick’s gut is a literal garbage can of pathogens that work synergistically to make us extremely sick.  This is why throwing doxycycline like napalm doesn’t work for a significant portion of patients and until doctors become educated and admit that Lyme Disease is usually MSIDS (multi systemic infectious disease syndrome) we are doomed as there is often far more than just Lyme (borrelia) at play requiring different medications.  The CDC/IDSA unscientific and antiquated guidelines are seriously behind the 8 ball.  (The actual number of pathogens is far greater than 6 and new ones are being continually discovered)

Also, please do not be taken in by doctors such as Dr. Wormser, chief of infectious diseases at NY Medical College, who claim this or that disease is “rare.”  That type of verbiage has kept thousands from being tested, diagnosed, and treated for decades.  I assure you all of this is more common than currently believed and until every TBI is reportable we have no clue about numbers.  Reporting criteria also needs to be brought up to speed as a majority of patients don’t meet the current arbitrary standards created by the CDC that follows the controlled narrative.


As of 2015, Wisconsin has the 2nd highest number of cases of Powassan:  While it’s true Powassan can be spread in mere minutes, the minimum transmission time for Lyme (borrelia) as not been determined.  Please know multitudes have become infected with LD in far less than 24 hours:


Bartonella – Dr. Phillips states many doctors completely ignore Bartonella, and while the CDC states there is no convincing evidence that ticks transmit Bartonella, Phillips is not surprised.  He says research on Bartonella is where Lyme was 30 years ago.  The majority of WI patients I work with have Bart symptoms.

Borrelia Miyamotoi (Relapsing Fever Group)  Antibiotics that have been used effectively include doxycycline for uncomplicated B. miyamotoi infection in adults and ceftriaxone or penicillin G for meningoencephalitis.


  • Prior to 2008, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis infections were referred to as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), respectively.
  • Since 2008, surveillance for human anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are classified as:
    • –  Anaplasmosis caused by the A. phagocytophilum bacteria (transmitted by the blacklegged tick).
    • –  Ehrlichiosis caused by E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii (transmitted by the Amblyomma americanum or lone star tick).
    • –  Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosisundetermined(speciesunknown) including the new species E. muris-like (EML).
  • Increase in probable cases of E. chaffeensis (lone star tick vector not traditionally seen in Wisconsin.)
  • In 2009, identified a cluster of novel E. muris-like cases.
    • In 2009, EML was first identified in a cluster of four case-patients from Wisconsin (3) and Minnesota (1). This atypical Ehrlichia had never before been identified in North America.
      • From 2009-2012, a total of 33 confirmed EML cases have been identified from both states and one case-patient was cultured positive.
  • It is uncertain how widely spread the E. muris-like infections are in Wisconsin because of the limited testing available.
  • DPH is currently working with laboratories to bring the 34 multiplex PCR testing on board.   Human granulocytic ehrlichiosis in Wisconsin and Minnesota: a frequent infection with the potential for persistence.

Anaplasmosis Treatment

Prevention Tips:

If one thing is clear it’s that none of this is straight forward and simple.  Research and testing for all things TBI is abysmal and has been a controlled narrative from the beginning.  Until researchers and doctors have an unbiased approach patients are caught in the Lyme Wars.

Please spread the word.





No Lyme in Oklahoma – Yeah Right

by Jennifer Crystal


Last summer, a friend who lives in Oklahoma found a classic bullseye rash on her seven-year-old daughter.

“That’s a spider bite,” a local pediatrician told her. “We don’t have Lyme in Oklahoma.”

The doctor was wrong. Had my friend taken his advice, her daughter would not have been diagnosed in a timely fashion and she would likely have developed symptoms over the next few months or years. She probably would have become severely debilitated, and the infections might have crossed the blood-brain barrier and become chronic.

In other words, the little girl could have wound up like me. For as it turns out, she did not have a spider bite. She had Lyme disease and two co-infectionsBabesia and Bartonella.

Now she’s a healthy, happy second grader because a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) was brought in who accurately saw the bullseye rash for what it was. Another pediatrician ordered special tests, and started the child on proper medication for all three infections. Because they were caught early, those infections have now cleared up.

This little girl was lucky, but that’s because her mother was informed about Lyme and knew to persist beyond the “spider bite” diagnosis. But what about all those children whose parents and pediatricians aren’t Lyme literate? Especially those who live outside the so-called endemic areas?

I don’t believe the Oklahoma pediatrician meant harm with his inaccurate diagnosis. His lack of awareness stemmed from a common myth that Lyme only exists in New England, and specifically in the woods. I’ve had people in Massachusetts say to me,

“Oh Lyme—that’s the thing you get when you’re hiking, right?”

Yes and no. Ticks live not only in the woods but also in long grasses, gardens, woodpiles, leaf litter and on lawns. They love any moist, shady area. They feed not just on deer—another common myth—but also on mice, chipmunks, shrews, birds, and other small mammals. Therefore, they travel a lot. People travel, too. Someone from South Carolina might take a vacation in Maine, get bitten by a tick, and later be told by their doctor, “It can’t be Lyme. We don’t have it in the South.” In fact, cases of Lyme disease have been documented across the United States, and throughout the world.

New research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows that infected ticks are now in half the counties across the country, a number that has almost doubled since a similar survey was done in 1998. The study notes that over the past two decades, the black-legged tick

“has expanded from its northeastern focus northward into upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and northern Maine; westward across Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and New York; and south—and southwestward into West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.” The study also notes a similar geographic expansion in the North-Central states. “The two previously distinct foci in the Northeast and North-Central states appear to be merging in the Ohio River Valley to form a single contiguous focus.”[1]

Ticks are spreading across the country, bringing not just Lyme but co-infections. These require different treatment and can complicate recovery.

Had my friend’s daughter only been treated for Lyme and not for Babesia and Bartonella, she would still be sick.

Some of these co-infections are specific to states that are nowhere near New England. Bourbon virus, a rare but potentially deadly illness, has been reported in Kansas and Oklahoma. The Heartland virus, spread through the bite of an infected Lone Star tick, has been found in Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Also transmitted by the Lone Star tick is Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), while dog ticks and Rocky Mountain wood ticks carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Tick borne illnesses are rampant not just in New England, not just deep in the woods, but all across the country and world. As the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society states on its website,

“ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries.”[2]

No matter where you live, if you have symptoms of Lyme and/or co-infections, it’s critical to see an LLMD. If you still have the tick, you can also get that tested. Follow the smart lead of my friend in Oklahoma, so you don’t wind up like me.


Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. She is working on a memoir about her journey with chronic tick-borne illness. Contact her at

[1] Rebecca J. Eisen, Lars Eisen, Charles B. Beard; County-Scale Distribution of Ixodes scapularisand Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Continental United States , Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1 March 2016, Pages 349–386,




Lyme/MSIDS is everywhere.  Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.  The entomology maps of tick locations have been used for decades keeping patients undiagnosed and untreated.  For a great article on how the Spielman maps have been an iron curtain keeping patients from getting tested:  (scroll to page 6 & 7 for details) (Southern patients are STILL told there is no Lyme in the South.)  This article is a perfect example of why all things related to Lyme/MSIDS has hardly budged in over 40 years.

As to testing, the current CDC two-tiered testing misses over half of all cases.  The “special” tests Ms. Crystal mentions are more sensitive but are not supported by main stream medicine for reasons I won’t delve into here (essentially governmental collusion, patents, power and money – read article about the CDC needing a good dictionary above).  

Great testing info here: and here,

Lyme literate doctors (LLMD’s) use the more sensitive testing but also diagnose patients clinically as some NEVER test positive.  This is important to know.  Here is a common checklist you can print out and complete on your own.              If you have a preponderance of symptoms – think TBI’s (tick borne illness); however, there is a caveat – some people present differently and don’t fit the classic mold.  For instance, for some, the only significant symptom is psychiatric:, didn’t have the normally thought of symptoms – just horrible anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. Her doctor knows Lyme is the great imitator and suspected it despite a negative test. She tested positive for Ehrlichia, which implies contact with a tick. Due to the Lyme/MSIDS diagnosis Kyra went from blaming herself to understanding she now had something she could fight. After doxycycline they chose IV Rocephin – and Kyra became herself again. “The feeling of actually starting to recognize pieces of what I was before was such an amazing feeling.”

And don’t ever forget the probable involvement of coinfections which will significant complicate everything:



Nearly 30% of Ticks on Italian Dogs Found to be infected with Tick-borne Pathogens

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Molecular Survey on Rickettsia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilumBorrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and Babesia spp. in Ixodes ricinus Ticks Infesting Dogs in Central Italy

Morganti Giulia, Gavaudan Stefano, Canonico Cristina, Ravagnan Silvia, Olivieri Emanuela, Diaferia Manuela, Marenzoni Maria Luisa, Antognoni Maria Teresa, Capelli Gioia, Silaghi Cornelia, and Veronesi Fabrizia.

Online Ahead of Print: October 12, 2017


Dogs are a common feeding hosts for Ixodes ricinus and may act as reservoir hosts for zoonotic tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) and as carriers of infected ticks into human settings. The aim of this work was to evaluate the presence of several selected TBPs of significant public health concern by molecular methods in I. ricinus recovered from dogs living in urban and suburban settings in central Italy.

A total of 212 I. ricinus specimens were collected from the coat of domestic dogs. DNA was extracted from each specimen individually and tested for Rickettsia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Babesia spp., and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, using real-time and conventional PCR protocols, followed by sequencing.

Sixty-one ticks (28.8%) tested positive for TBPs; 57 samples were infected by one pathogen, while four showed coinfections. Rickettsia spp. was detected in 39 specimens (18.4%), of which 32 were identified as Rickettsia monacensis and seven as Rickettsia helvetica. Twenty-two samples (10.4%) tested positive for A. phagocytophilum; Borrelia lusitaniae and Borrelia afzelii were detected in two specimens and one specimen, respectively. One tick (0.5%) was found to be positive for Babesia venatorum (EU1).

Our findings reveal the significant exposure of dogs to TBPs of public health concern and provide data on the role of dogs in the circulation of I. ricinus-borne pathogens in central Italy.


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Today is PANS/PANDAS Awareness Day  October 9, 2017

The following article is just one example of how children are affected by a hard to diagnose complex illness called PANDAS or PANS.  Infections such as Lyme/MSIDS can trigger it and one prominent Wisconsin LLMD states that 80% of his PANS patients have it.

carsonCarson Spears, 11, has PANS, a disorder where his body’s antibodies attack his brain instead of foreign pathogens. Homeopathic treatment has helped him, however. Kate Stevens

It started with strep throat. Then ‘it’s like your kid died but they’re still there’


SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 3:16 PM

Carson Spears was just like the other pupils in kindergarten. The bubbly little boy loved to play outside and had plenty of friends.

Then, Carson came down with his first case of strep throat.

He didn’t respond to antibiotics and his sore throat and fever worsened, said Carson’s mother, Melissa Spears.

After changing antibiotics three times over a two-week period, Carson seemed to improve.

But on Sept. 24, 2011 — his mother remembers the date — the Spears family’s only son came downstairs a changed boy.

Carson had developed an unusual and noticeable eye tic seemingly overnight.

Her son’s eyes were traveling back and forth as if to the 10 and two position on a clock over and over, said Melissa Spears, 37.

By the time she returned home from work that afternoon, she counted Carson’s eyes tics at about 80 per minute, she said.

Cory Spears said his son’s obsessive tics reminded him of an android in a science-fiction movie.

“You ask him a question and he can’t compute,” Cory Spears recalled. “That’s what I relate it to. Everything reset.”

This initial symptom of uncontrollable eye tics began the Spears’ journey into learning about Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome, or PANS, a disorder resulting from an infection or environmental trigger causing abnormal activation of the immune system.

The Spears family of Mooresville has fought for the past six years to bring back Carson from this disorder that nearly robbed him of his personality.

“It’s like your kid died but they’re still there,” said Cory Spears, 39.

The Spears family hopes to educate others about PANS on Sept. 16 when they will participate in the PRAI for 100K 5K fundraiser at Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw.

The fundraiser is held by the Pediatric Research & Advocacy Initiative, or PRAI, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to find answers for children affected with neuroimmune disorders.

The disorders could affect as many as one in 200 children, most of whom are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, according to PRAI statistics.

Awareness events like these fundraisers help educate people who may not have even heard of PANS and helps those diagnosed with PANS to realize there are others like them.

“The biggest thing that worries me about families with PANS kids is they think they’re alone,” said Cory Spears.

Carson’s eye tics were the first symptoms that eventually led to an unofficial diagnosis of PANDAS six years ago by his eye specialist.

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, or PANDAS, is a subset of PANS and is linked to a recent streptococcal infection, according to PRAI.

“We are very, very, very fortunate that we had an unofficial diagnosis within 24 hours of onset symptoms,” said Melissa Spears. “Some parents go years.”

‘It hurts worse than average’

PANS is related to other bacterial or viral infections, including strep but other co-diseases, as well, Melissa Spears said.

Antibodies in a healthy person will attack a foreign antigen like a virus or bacteria once it enters the body to prevent illness, said Melissa Spears. For a person with PANS or PANDAS, the antibodies will instead attack the person’s brain instead of the foreign antigen, she said.

The inflammation of the brain can cause symptoms including terrible headaches, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, sleep disturbances and aggression in children with PANS or PANDAS, Melissa Spears said.

When Carson has a “flare,” as the Spears family calls it, he says it feels like “his brain is on fire,” Melissa Spears said.

“It sort of feels worse than other people would think it would,” said Carson, now 11. “Other people are like, they’re thinking that I’ll be OK over time but it hurts worse than average.”

After Carson’s unofficial diagnosis in 2011, the family was left on its own to discover who could treat their son.

Meanwhile, Carson’s symptoms multiplied. He became withdrawn and began having issues focusing and completing tasks. He would leave lights on all over the house and leave cabinet doors open. He developed a life-changing fear of anything that flew, including insects and birds.

Carson developed severe separation anxiety from his parents and refused to go into a room alone or sleep in his own bed.

“He didn’t leave the house one summer,” Melissa Spears said.

Treatment trail

Over the next two years, the family took Carson to five doctors from Greensboro to Charlotte to Matthews where the Spears experienced backlash from physicians.

Doctors didn’t believe the disorder was real or thought Carson’s problems were psychiatric, said Melissa Spears.

The family spent $17,000 seeking medical answers the first year after Carson was diagnosed, Melissa Spears said.

After trying different medicines and going to local doctors “that didn’t listen to us as parents,” Melissa Spears turned to Dr. Rosario Trifiletti, a New Jersey neurologist who, at the time, was one of the few in the world who specialized in PANS/PANDAS cases.

During a phone appointment, Trifiletti listened to the Spears’ story and ordered lab work for all the family members, including Carson’s younger sister, Braxtynn.

Lab technicians took 17 vials of blood from Carson, then just 7 years old.

Trifiletti officially diagnosed Carson with PANS, not PANDAS, due to the active co-infections found in his blood work: mycoplasma, the bacteria that causes pneumonia; coxsackie — the virus causing Hand, Foot and Mouth disease; streptococcus, the bacteria causing strep throat; bartonella and babesia — a bacteria and parasite related to Lyme disease; and yeast, Melissa Spears said.

Instead of attacking these infections, Carson’s antibodies were instead going after his brain.

Carson began taking antibiotics daily for two years, as well as Tylenol and Ibuprofen, but his symptoms, although better, persisted. His parents began worrying how the treatment was affecting his already fragile body.

They decided something new had to be done.

‘Changed our lives’

At a crossroad, Melissa and Cory Spears could either commit to a $25,000 intravenous immunoglobin treatment commonly used for cancer patients to reset their immune systems or try integrative medicine and homeopathy.

The family found Dr. Angelica Lemke, a naturopathic doctor or ND, online.

After a 3 1/2 hour initial Skype consultation, Lemke asked for 30 days to see if her remedies would make a difference in their lives.

“My experience is that for the rapidly growing group of kids like Carson who have been diagnosed with PANS, and who often tend to have significant sensitivity, damage or imbalance in their immune system, homeopathy is a very excellent tool because it is specific enough to be tailored to each individual, gentle enough to not cause more harm than good, and when used correctly is particularly well-suited for improving or balancing children’s immune response to infections,” said Lemke through an email interview.

Three weeks in, Lemke’s treatment “changed our lives,” Cory Spears said.

Carson stopped waking in the middle of the night and he would actually go into a room alone, Melissa Spears said.

Instead of antibiotics, Melissa Spears picks from a number of paper packets containing nosodes, a diluted form of a disease used to treat that same disease.

Carson then drinks the nosode after it is dissolved in a small amount of water.

The nosodes teach the body to recognize the disease and then push it out, said Melissa Spears.

The family also diffuses essential oils and applies them topically to aid Carson’s immune system as well as purifies the air inside the home since toxins can make him sick. No one wear shoes inside the house to keep germs from getting inside.

Carson also avoids cow’s milk, which affects his ability to focus.

The homeopathic treatments have worked miracles and for that they are grateful.

“Our goal is to heal his immune system so that he will no longer have to battle this disorder on a daily basis,” said Melissa Spears.

The homeopathic treatments cost less than $500 annually, substantially less than some western medical treatments, the Spears family said.

A new Carson

The family feels they pretty much got Carson back about two and a half years ago, thanks to Lemke’s homeopathic treatments.

Today, Carson is a sixth-grade student in the gifted program at Mooresville Intermediate School.

He communicates his needs with his teachers and will work in the hallway quietly if he needs a break from the noisy group work that comes with some of his lessons, Melissa Spears said.

He enjoys playing Xbox, collecting and sorting his Pokemon trading cards and playing basketball with friends down the street, he said.

“Over the years it will get better if you have it,” said Carson. “I’ve gone through hard times with it and I’ve been healed from it. I hope other people are able to heal from it too.”

Kate Stevens is a freelance writer:

For information about PANS/PANDAS, please contact Melissa Spears at or Cory Spears at


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Some LLMD’s are using a treatment called LDA/LDI to treat immune dysfunction:  In short, it is transdermal injections every two months with substances that a person reacts to and can include anything from mold to dust, to Bartonella and Lyme.  The principle is somewhat like homeopathy as mentioned in the article.