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CDC Reports Tick-Borne Disease Babesiosis is on the Rise in the Northeast

CDC Reports Tick-Borne Disease Babesiosis is on the Rise in the Northeast

The reported increase is partially attributed to better diagnostic techniques.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Babesiosis, a tick-borne disease that can be fatal in rare cases, is rising in the Northeast and is now considered endemic in 3 states.

The findings show that among the 10 states that reported babesiosis cases from 2011 to 2019, eight saw their numbers rise, while just two — Minnesota and Wisconsin — observed declines.

What’s more, babesiosis in now considered endemic in three new states: Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Previously, the disease was considered endemic only in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

“Nine years of data show [an] increase in tickborne disease in parts of the U.S. that previously saw few cases,” said Megan Swanson, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, who co-authored the report.

Endemic indicates it is anticipated that the disease will regularly appear in an area. Babesiosis was already considered endemic in several states.

Seven states were already considered to have endemic transmission of babesiosis, with consistent presence of the disease: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added three others to that list – Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont – where case rates have grown the fastest and now match or surpass other states.

In those 10 states, reported cases of babesiosis have increased in all but two: Minnesota and Wisconsin, where case rates were about 30% lower in 2019 than they were in 2011.

Overall, more than 16,000 cases of babesiosis have been reported to the CDC between 2011 and 2019, according to the report.

The uptick in cases can be partially attributed by better diagnostic methods for tick-borne illnesses.

Even though the study showed the number of cases doubled in the states that were studied, experts say the increase might be partly explained by better testing for tickborne diseases, which increased 25% from 2011 to 2019.

…”There’s been kind of revolution in diagnostic testing that’s made it easier” to test for babesiosis and other tickborne diseases, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

But the CDC study warned not all cases are likely captured. For example, babesiosis is not a reportable disease in Pennsylvania even though cases have been found there. Others might not get tested because they don’t have symptoms. Cases are reported in states were the patient lives, but that might not be the state where the infection occurred.

Many people who are infected with Babesia microti, the pathogen causing babesiosis, feel fine and do not have any symptoms. The microbes target red blood cells.

Some people develop nonspecific flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue.

Because Babesia parasites infect and destroy red blood cells, babesiosis can cause a special type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and dark urine.

Babesiosis can be a severe, life-threatening disease, particularly in people who

  • Do not have a spleen;
  • Have a weak immune system for other reasons (such as cancer, lymphoma, or AIDS);
  • Have other serious health conditions (such as liver or kidney disease); or
  • Are elderly.

Here are some practical tips for avoiding ticks.

  1. Wear long sleeves and long pants, even tucking your cuffs into your socks if there’s a gap.
  2. Spray exposed skin with repellent.
  3. Shed your clothes before heading back indoors.
  4. Throw those clothes into the dryer on high heat for a few minutes to quash stragglers.
  5. And don’t forget to check your pets and kids.


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nordic prince | March 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm

I wouldn’t trust the CDC to tell me the sky is blue.

That list of symptoms sounds suspiciously like covid.

So, does it make regular people into babes? Or does it just make homely people think they’re babes? Or does it only infect/affect babes?

(C’mon, you can’t tell me nobody else was thinking that?)

If the CDC is sounding the alarm, then my bet is that Pfizer has a savior-med ready for FDA approval. No doubt, just a coincidence.

There a second reason to keep free-range chickens. Chickens eat ticks.

    GWB in reply to rhhardin. | March 21, 2023 at 9:53 am

    The only drawback is that it only helps in your yard.
    Unless you can walk your flock in the local fields and meadows. (There’s a Far Side waiting to be drawn….)

I can see the headlines now: “JUST IN!! BREAKING NEWS!!! Phizer has a new mRNA vaccine for this tick borne disease, specifically Chinese ticks found in the Northeast”. Human trials were skipped in order to stop the spread. Do your part and think about the children.

BierceAmbrose | March 21, 2023 at 4:50 pm

Surprisingly, the people who have to be sequestered for public health, happen to generally vote the wrong way, and value the wrong things.

Convenient, that.

Isn’t it interesting, that the CDC lately has been putting out alerts for various diseases that could be deadly. No news surprise with the tick issues., but for those not well informed it could be scary, What was it yesterday, oh yeh, “CDC warns against Candida auris, a drug-resistant fungus invading health care facilities “a rapid rise and geographic spread” All of this has one major thing in common that all are “especially harmful if you have a weakened immune system “. Perfectly orchestrated campaign to cover up, pollute, dilute, mislead, etc., the adverse effects of something the well informed are greatly aware of, just a thought.