Babesiosis is a malaria-like illness caused by the protozoan Babesia microti or other Babesia organisms. B. microti is transmitted to humans by bites from I. scapularis (the blacklegged tick or deer tick), the same vector that transmits the agents of Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis, one form of human ehrlichiosis, and a strain of Powassan virus. Babesia parasites can also be transmitted by blood transfusion.
In 2012, 41 confirmed and probable babesiosis cases (0.77 per 100,000 population) were reported, a 43% decrease from the 2011 record of 72 cases. The median number of 29 cases (range, 9 to 72) reported from 2004 through 2012 is considerably higher than the median number of 2 cases (range, 0 to 7) from 1996 to 2003. Twenty-four (59%) babesiosis cases reported in 2012 were male. The median age of cases was 57 years (range, 1 to 82 years). Onsets of illness peaked in the summer months, with 22 (55%) of 40 cases with known onset occurring from June through August. In 2012, 18 (44%) cases were hospitalized for their infection, for a median duration of 5 days (range, 2 to 26 days). At least 1 reported case died from complications of babesiosis in 2012.
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