Navigation Links
Tick-borne Illness May Lurk in Blood Supply
Date:9/6/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- An uncommon, but potentially fatal, tick-borne illness may be creeping into the U.S. blood supply and doctors need to develop a way to spot it, researchers report.

Babesiosis is a parasitic infection that is transmitted through a tick bite or during a blood transfusion. Symptoms range from mild flu-like symptoms to severe difficulty with breathing, organ damage and death. People with compromised immune systems are most at risk for fatal babesiosis infection.

The first tick-borne case of babesiosis was documented in Massachusetts in 1969, and the first known transfusion-related infection occurred in 1979. Since then, there have been 159 transfusion-associated babesiosis cases reported in the United States, according to a study published in the Sept. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

There is no approved screening test for blood donors, and many people have no symptoms so they don't even realize they are infected when they donate blood.

Study author Dr. Barbara Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the threat "uncommon, but important."

Transfusion-related cases know no boundaries. "Most tick-borne cases of babesiosis occur during the warm months and have only been seen within seven states in Northeast and Midwest," she said. "Transfusion-related infection can occur in all four seasons and, in theory, could occur anywhere," she said. "Blood donors travel and blood components are shipped across state lines."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently working on ways to keep babesia out of the blood supply, but until that occurs doctors must put babesiosis on their radar screen, particularly if someone has unexplained fever or a certain type of anemia known as hemolytic anemia (low red blood cell count). These are the blood cells where the parasite takes up residence during babesiosis infection.

"Consider the diagnosis and then order the appropriate test," Herwaldt said. Diagnosis involves looking at droplets of blood under a microscope. "Babesiosis is treatable with antibiotics that are commonly and readily available."

"Babesia infection is on the rise and is potentially fatal, especially for immune-compromised and older people," said Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. "This is an important consideration in terms of testing on blood supply."

Time is of the essence, he said. The best option right now is for blood banks to look at a droplet of a donor's blood under a microscope. They may not be able to tell what is tainting the blood, but they will know it is tainted, he explained.

"They would be able to tell that the red cells may be parasitized by something, and that the blood needs to be further checked in microbiology lab," he said. "This is the best option right now in light of increase in numbers of cases."

Babesiosis in the U.S. blood supply "is something to be reckoned with, and by the time that anyone develops a test that is simple enough to be used by blood banks, it will be too late," he said. Excluding people with a history of babesiosis infection from the blood donor pool won't work because most people don't know they have it.

People who are receiving blood transfusions may be especially vulnerable to babesiosis, he said.

Prevention also has a role in keeping infection out of the blood supply in the first place, he said. "Keep away from ticks," Tierno said. "The same ticks that can give you Lyme disease and other types of tick-borne illness can give you babesiosis."

When you go outdoors during tick season, wear protective clothing and use an insect repellent, he added.

The CDC also recommends doing full-body checks and showering within a few hours of being in the woods, as well as tossing used clothes in the dryer to kill any ticks that may be hiding on them.

More information

Learn more about babesiosis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Philip Tierno, Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; Barbara Herwaldt, M.D., M.P.H., medical epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Sept. 6, Annals of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New Tick-Borne Illness Infects Midwesterners
2. Young patients with chronic illnesses find relief in acupuncture
3. New Diagnostic Guidelines for Mental Illnesses Proposed
4. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
5. Exercise Can Quiet Anxiety That Comes With Illness
6. Guardian Offers Critical Illness Insurance Advice
7. Foodborne Illness Costs U.S. $152 Billion Annually, Landmark Report Estimates
8. Food-borne Illnesses in U.S. Cost $152B Annually
9. The Pentagon Tragedy: Mental Illness, Violence and What Reporters Should Ask
10. Children with chronic respiratory illness are vulnerable to critical H1N1
11. Massive Food Flavoring Recall Underscores Need for New Tracking Technology to Contain Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tick-borne Illness May Lurk in Blood Supply
(Date:2/23/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... non-profit organization devoted exclusively to funding innovative lymphoma research and serving the lymphoma ... – will return to the La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach to ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Los Angeles-based weight loss ... WE TV’s “Mama June: From Not to Hot,” which will begin airing on February ... Shannon, known to millions from the 2012 reality television series, “Here Comes Honey Boo ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... EBSCO ... the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) framework. The ... National Health Service (NHS) to search, order and purchase medical and healthcare-related content ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Pink Pig Publishing LLC announces the launch ... the world from different perspectives. By providing a place for people of all ... empathy, and find greater happiness. , "Our approach to structuring content is ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... the pre-eminent publication and community for those in the fight against cancer, has ... important in their success. HRA will release top-line findings in a webinar, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017 Non-alcoholic ... on the various drugs being developed for ... all the drugs that are in various ... The pipeline focuses on novel pharmacologic drugs ... stem cell therapies, recombinant proteins and RNA-based ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  Xynomic Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ... announced that it has acquired exclusive worldwide rights ... best-in-class innovative HDAC inhibitor targeting hematological and solid ... 14 Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of ... have already been completed, demonstrating that ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb 23, 2017 Research ... Disorder Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016" report to ... ... - 2016, provides drug pricing data and benchmarks in the global ... What are the key drugs marketed ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: