Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and are spread by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). In the United States, tick-borne transmission is most common in certain regions and seasons: it mainly occurs in parts of the Northeast and upper Midwest and usually peaks during the warm months. Many people who are infected with Babesiado not have symptoms and can unknowingly transmit the parasite via blood transfusion to an unhealthy recipient. This can result in the death of the recipient. Effective treatment is available.
An Ixodes scapularis nymph as shown here on the face of a penny is about the size of a poppy seed or freckle.
(Credit: G. Hickling, University of Tennessee)
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