Philippe Brasseur

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks


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  • Medical Microbiology and Virology
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Babesia are intraerythrocytic, tick-transmitted, protozoan parasites that infect a broad range of wild and domesticated mammals including cattle, horses, dogs, and rodents. Human babesial infection is uncommon, caused by B. microti in North America and B. divergens in Europe, with most infections occurring in asplenic people. Presentation is typically with nonspecific ‘viral-type’ symptoms. Haemolytic anaemia is a characteristic feature and can be severe, particularly with B. divergens. Diagnosis is by discovering babesia organisms in Giemsa-stained blood smears, or detection of its DNA in blood by PCR. Aside from supportive care, treatment is usually with combinations of clindamycin, quinine, atovaquone and azithromycin. Mortality ranges from 5 to 40%. Prevention is by use of repellents, removing ticks from the skin, and avoidance of exposure in asplenic and immunocompromised individuals: there is no vaccine.

Chapter.  1396 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Microbiology and Virology ; Infectious Diseases

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