Archive for the ‘Babesia’ Category

More Than Lyme: Tick Study Finds Multiple Agents of Tick-borne Diseases


More than Lyme: Tick study finds multiple agents of tick-borne diseases




In a study published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Jorge Benach and Rafal Tokarz, and their co-authors at Stony Brook University and Columbia University, reported on the prevalence of multiple agents capable of causing human disease that are present in three species of ticks in Long Island.

Tick-borne diseases have become a worldwide threat to public health. In the United States, cases more than doubled, from 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Tick-borne diseases range from subclinical to fatal infections with disproportionate incidence in children or the elderly. Moreover, some infections can also be transmitted by blood transfusions and cause severe disease in patients with underlying disorders. While public attention has focused on Lyme disease, in recent years, scientists have uncovered evidence that ticks can carry several different pathogens capable of several different tick-borne diseases, sometimes in a single tick.

In the new study, researchers collected ticks from multiple locations throughout Suffolk county in the central and eastern part of Long Island, where seven diseases caused by microbes transmitted by ticks are present. In total, they examined 1,633 individual ticks for 12 separate microbes. They found that more than half of the Ixodes (deer ticks) were infected with the Lyme disease agent, followed by infections with the agents of Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. Importantly, nearly one-quarter of these ticks are infected with more than one agent, resulting in the possibility of simultaneous transmission from a single tick bite.

Notably, the lone star tick, a species originating from the southern U.S., has expanded its range, possibly fueled by climate change. This study documents that the invasive lone star tick is abundant in Long Island, and that it is a very aggressive tick that can transmit a bacterium that causes a disease known as Ehrlichiosis. The lone star tick has also been implicated in cases of a novel form of meat allergy, and the immature stages can cause an uncomfortable dermatitis.

Polymicrobial infections represent an important aspect of tick-borne diseases that can complicate diagnosis and augment disease severity,” says corresponding author Jorge Benach, PhD, Distinguished Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. “Some of the polymicrobial infections can be treated with the same antibiotics, but others require different therapies, thus enlarging the number of drugs to treat these infections.”

“In evaluating tick-borne infection, more than one organism needs to be considered,” says senior author Rafal Tokarz, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a graduate of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. “This study emphasizes the need to focus on all tick-borne diseases, not just Lyme.”


The first author is Santiago Sanchez, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook University. Teresa Tagliafierro from Columbia and James Coleman from Stony Brook are co-authors of the study.

This study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Benach. Support was also provided by the Island Outreach Foundation in Blue Point, NY, to the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine. Support from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation (CU18-2692) was provided to Tokarz.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.



Again, climate change has nothing to do with tick proliferation and disease spread:  Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, provides insight into the debate over climate change and the political games played to create policy.

Political games surrounding Lyme/MSIDS have gone on long enough. Do research on important issues that will help patients.




Babesia Subverts Adaptive Immunity and Enhances Lyme Disease Severity

. 2019; 10: 1596.
Published online 2019 Jul 10. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01596
PMCID: PMC6635642
PMID: 31354683

Protozoan Parasite Babesia microti Subverts Adaptive Immunity and Enhances Lyme Disease Severity


Lyme disease is the most prominent tick-borne disease in the United States. Co-infections with the tick-transmitted pathogens Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto are becoming a serious health problem. B. burgdorferi is an extracellular spirochete that causes Lyme disease while B. microti is a protozoan that infects erythrocytes and causes babesiosis. Testing of donated blood for Babesia species is not currently mandatory due to unavailability of an FDA approved test. Transmission of this protozoan by blood transfusion often results in high morbidity and mortality in recipients.

Infection of C3H/HeJ mice with B. burgdorferi and B. microti individually results in inflammatory Lyme disease and display of human babesiosis-like symptoms, respectively.

Here we use this mouse model to provide a detailed investigation of the reciprocal influence of the two pathogens on each other during co-infection.

We show that

  • burgdorferi infection attenuates parasitemia in mice while
  • B. microti subverts the splenic immune response, such that a marked decrease in splenic B and T cells, reduction in antibody levels and diminished functional humoral immunity, as determined by spirochete opsonophagocytosis, are observed in co-infected mice compared to only B. burgdorferi infected mice


  • immunosuppression by B. microti in co-infected mice showed an association with enhanced Lyme disease manifestations.

This study demonstrates the effect of only simultaneous infection by B. burgdorferi and B. microti on each pathogen, immune response and on disease manifestations with respect to infection by the spirochete and the parasite. In our future studies, we will examine the overall effects of sequential infection by these pathogens on host immune responses and disease outcomes.



Two of the authors recently completed a review of literature on concurrent Babesia and Lyme infections:

Due to the high prevalence of infection and the issues of congenital transmission and transmission through blood transfusion, the issue of concurrent infection and what it does to animal and human health is of paramount importance.

For more on Babesia: Symptom checklist within this link as well as treatment options.

While a current article downplays Babesia in Canada, another article shows it’s much more of a problem than suspected:  This clearly shows there were more than 200 Babesia transfusion-transmissions reported. It also shows you don’t have to reside in an endemic area or travel to an endemic area to get it. The article also clearly points out that the geographic range of ticks is expanding, which means the pathogens they carry will as well.

Babesia Microti – Borrelia Burgdorferi Coinfection

Pathogens 2019, 8(3), 117;


Babesia microtiBorrelia burgdorferi Coinfection

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
*Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 26 July 2019 / Published: 31 July 2019


The incidence and geographic distribution of human babesiosis is growing in the U.S. Its major causative agent is the protozoan parasite, Babesia microti. B. microtiis transmitted to humans primarily through the bite ofIxodes scapularis ticks, which are vectors for a number of other pathogens. Other routes of B. microti transmission are blood transfusion and in rare cases of mother-to-foetus transmission, through the placenta. This review discusses the current literature on mammalian coinfection with B. microtiand Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent Lyme disease.
Please see above link for entire study.  Highlights:
  • B. microti and Borrelia burgdorferi coinfection is common in vector (ticks) & host (animals & humans)
  • In endemic regions, almost 20% of Lyme disease patients reported concurrent babesiosis while up to 25% of babesiosis patients also had Lyme disease
  • A large percentage of patients with chronic/post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (52%) show evidence of past or active Babesia coinfection
  • There is some evidence that coinfections with a different Babesia species, B. duncani, and B. Burgdorferi may be more common than previously suspected.
  • Of the two studies that have examined B. microtiB. burgdorferi coinfection on humans both studies found patients reported symptoms of greater variety and longer duration than those infected with Bb alone
  • In C3H mice, B. microti coinfection exacerbates symptoms of arthritis caused by B. burgdorferi because B. microti causes splenic dysfunction that reduces B- and T-cell function and the production of antibodies required to control Bb infection
  • It aptly points out that besides infected ticks, humans can become infected with Babesia congenitally as well as by blood transfusions.

Recently these two articles essentially found divergent outcomes. This article shows Babesia is widespread in Canada, while this one states it’s rare:

The only conclusion that can be made is that blood testing is not picking it up. I’ve read over and over that Babesia is rarely detected using one diagnostic test alone.

Yet, if I am reading this properly, they only used one test. If a sample was reactive, only then did they test it further – kind of like using 2-tiered testing for Lyme when you only move onto the Western Blot IF you test positive first using the Elisa. So these patient samples were tested only once at the beginning to determine who had reactive samples to Babesia.

This testing discrepancy that differs from reality is true for all tick-borne diseases and practitioners need to become educated in this fact as well as understand the importance of symptomology to determine a clinical diagnosis. The continued stubbornness of utilizing poor testing to weed out people in the beginning is foolish. It only seems logical to cast a wider net in the beginning rather than a narrower one. Everyone knows testing is abysmal, yet it’s followed like the Pied Piper to the doom of patients.

People are going to continue to fly under the radar with these pathogens until better testing is developed. Mainstream medicine has been lobotomized and is functioning without the capacity of a brain.


Avid Hiker Meets Bad Bug, Ends Up With Babesiosis

Avid hiker meets bad bug, ends up with babesiosis

Dear Dr. Roach • I am an avid hiker, and I live in an area with lots of Lyme disease. I recently developed some fever, headache, shaking chills and dark urine, and just felt awful. My doctor did some blood tests and said I had Babesia and/or Anaplasma. Are these related to Lyme disease? — I.J.M.


Answer • Like Lyme disease, babesiosis (caused usually by Babesia microti) and anaplasmosis (caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilium) can be spread by the bite of the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, but neither bacteria species is related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease. These diseases are not well-known by most people, nor even by many general doctors outside the areas where they are common, such as Wisconsin and Connecticut.

Babesiosis causes fever as high as 105.6 F, fatigue and feeling unwell. Dark urine is occasionally present. There are nonspecific lab findings, such as anemia and low platelet counts, but the diagnosis is confirmed by seeing the bacteria inside the red blood cells or by sophisticated blood testing (PCR). Treatment is with azithromycin and atovaquone.

Anaplasmosis has a generally lower fever, muscle aches, headache, chills and the same feeling of being unwell (called “malaise” in medical literature). Blood counts frequently show low white blood cell counts. The diagnosis is made by antibody or PCR testing, but treatment is usually started in the appropriate setting even before positive results. Treatment is with doxycycline.

Tickborne diseases may exist at the same time, so consideration must be given to people having both anaplasmosis and babesiosis, with or without Lyme disease.Doxycycline treatment for anaplasmosis also treats early Lyme disease, but does not treat babesiosis.

Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis can be very severe in people with immune system disease, such as HIV or an organ transplant. Older people are also at higher risk for severe disease.

Readers may email questions to or send mail to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.



This article reminds us of issues that demand answers:

  1. Why does mainstream medicine STILL know so little about tick-borne diseases after 40 years?
  2. Why is testing STILL being used that is so unreliable after 40 years?
  3. Please notice the doctor’s wise usage of “usually caused by?” This is wise because it could be one of a number of strains of Babesia.
  4. Please notice the the doctor’s wise explanation that a tick bite can transmit a whole host of pathogens – not just Lyme and sometimes not Lyme at all.  This issue is what is completely being neglected in mainstream medicine because doctors aren’t looking at all for any of these coinfections that can come with or without Lyme. Since testing is abysmal for ALL of them, they should be educated in symptomology since diagnosis has always been and still is a clinical diagnosis. Testing is not accurate and should not be the sole means of diagnosis.
  5. Little research has been done on concurrent infection & what it does to the body and how it affects testing:  But this recent study shows by Garg et al. shows a 85% probability for multiple infections including not only tick-borne pathogens but also opportunistic microbes such as EBV and other viruses.  Mainstream medicine isn’t touching this with a ten foot pole.
  6. The good doctor points out that anaplasmosis and babesiosis can be very severe in people with compromised immune systems. I believe tick borne illness compromises the immune system greatly and it’s only logical to conclude that concurrent infection with numerous pathogens do so even more. Add a few opportunistic infections like Chlamydia and EBV, and you have a patient as sick as a dog:  This is why patients are so sick and why standard mono therapy often doesn’t work.
Taking into account the totality of these issues presents an entirely different picture than what authorities such as the IDSA and CDC present.

This is often a complex illness with many moving parts which necessitates various drugs of longer duration than currently being used.

The CDC/IDSA “One size fits all” approach just doesn’t work. Until authorities take into account these variables and allow doctors to treat patients accordingly, it’s a losing battle – and make no mistake about it – it’s the patients who loose.


Prevalence of Babesia in Canadian Blood Donors: June – October 2018

2019 Aug 5. doi: 10.1111/trf.15470. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of Babesia in Canadian blood donors: June-October 2018.



The erythrocytic protozoan parasite Babesia microti, the cause of human babesiosis, is transmitted not only by tick bites but also via blood transfusion. B. microti is endemic in the northeastern/upper midwestern United States, where partial screening of blood donations has been implemented. In Canada, a 2013 study of approximately 14,000 donors found no B. microti antibody-positive samples, suggesting low risk at that time.


Between June and October 2018, 50,752 Canadian donations collected from sites near the US border were tested for Babesia nucleic acid by transcription-mediated amplification (TMA). Reactive donations were tested for B. microti by IgG immunofluorescence assay and polymerase chain reaction. A subset of 14,758 TMA nonreactive samples was also screened for B. microti antibody. Donors who tested reactive/positive were deferred, asked about risk factors, and were requested to provide a follow-up sample for supplemental testing.


One sample from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was TMA and antibody reactive. Of the 14,758 TMA-nonreactive donations tested for antibody, four reactive donations were identified from southwestern Ontario near Lake Erie. None of the interviewed donors remembered any symptoms, likely tick exposure, or relevant travel within Canada or the United States.


This is the largest B. microti prevalence study performed in Canada. The results indicate very low prevalence, with only one TMA-confirmed-positive donation of 50,752 tested. This donor was from the only region in Canada where autochthonous infection has been reported. Seropositive donations in southwestern Ontario suggest low prevalence; travel should not be ruled out given the proximity to the US border.


For more: I would caution authorities in believing there is a low prevalence of Babesa. I’ve heard it takes a trained eye to see it and is rarely detected using only 1 diagnostic test. I think the word is out on the seriousness of tick-borne disease. Let’s not go back in time by adopting a carefree approach. We should be looking hard and using accurate testing methods.  This clearly shows there were more than 200 Babesia transfusion-transmissions reported. It also shows you don’t have to reside in an endemic area or travel to an endemic area to get it. The article also clearly points out that the geographic range of ticks is expanding, which means the pathogens they carry will as well.

According to Dr. Ken Singleton, Babesia is rarely detected using one diagnostic test alone.


Lyme-aware physicians generally screen for 2 strains—Babesia microti and WA-1 (Babesia duncani)—by testing for antibodies (by IFA or ELISA testing) made by the body against those organisms.

Another very useful test for Babesia is known as the FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) test. The FISH test is performed on thin blood smears (tests used to detect germs in white blood cells) and is able to detect the RNA (genetic material) of Babesia. If this test is positive, it is very strong evidence of the presence of active Babesia. The advantage of the FISH test is that it will detect other subspecies of Babesia in addition to B. microti and B. duncani. (A direct thick and thin blood smear using a staining technique called “Giemsa” can also be done by one’s local or commercial labs to look for Babesia organisms in red blood cells; however, it is an insensitive test except during acute Babesia, particularly when fever is present.)

A final potentially useful test is the Babesia PCR (polymerase chain reaction). Unfortunately, in my experience it is also not a sensitive test and is the least useful of the three tests mentioned.

All three of these tests—Babesia IFA, FISH, PCR—are available through IgeneX, a laboratory specializing in Lyme disease and other tick-borne organisms. Medical Diagnostics Laboratory (MDL) has two of the tests—Babesia ELISA and PCR. Both labs are excellent and I utilize both regularly. (See the resources section for more information.) However, as mentioned, Babesia can frequently escape detection by diagnostic tests. Therefore, many times babesiois must be a clinical diagnosis made by physicians who are experienced in its detection and treatment.

How many Canadian people slipped through the cracks?



Tick-Borne Infection Risk in Blood Transfusion

Tick-Borne Infection Risk in Blood Transfusion

North Central Integrated Pest Alert


They have the following for ticks and specific diseases: