Tick borne disease: Babesiosis

Also known as: Piriplasmosis, Redwater fever, Texas cattle fever, tick fever, Nantucket fever

Disease Agent: Babesia microti

Infectious Bite Time: A tick infected with babesiosis usually needs to remain attached to you for 24 to 48 hours for disease transmission to occur

Incubation Period: The onset of impacts from babesiosis will begin 1 to 9 weeks after infection

Common Signs and Symptoms: Babsiosis symptoms include chills, sweats, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, cough, sore throat, depression, dark urine, jaundice, anorexia, nausea

Serious Complications: Congestive heart failure, renal (kidney) failure, acute respiratory distress, death

Treatment Options: If you contract babesiosis from a babesiosis infected tick seek the assistance of a health care expert. Medications commonly used to treat babesiosis include a combination of atovaquone and azithromycin, or clindamycin plus quinine. If you believe you have contracted babesiosis consult a medical professional, early diagnosis is essential to preventing serious complications, delaying treatment can make a bad situation worse, resulting in escalated symptom severity or even death.

Notes and Facts: Babesiosis is a life-threatening condition. If you contract babesiosis parasites attack your red blood cells, that is what you are up against. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems may be at a higher risk for serious complications from this disease. Babesiosis has a particularly long incubation period, it may be months after a bite before you begin to experience symptoms of the disease. Instances of babesiosis are most common in the Northeast and Midwest. If a tick is attached to you, there is no way of knowing if it is infected with babesiosis, read our page on how to remove a tick and use Tick Proof to prevent bites in the future.

What ticks transmit Babesiosis? Eastern blacklegged tick, Western blacklegged tick, “deer tick”

Primary Vector: Eastern blacklegged tick

Number of infections per year, United States: 7000+

The Western blacklegged tick (below) transmits babesiosis.