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Case Reports
, 45 (6), 2084-7

First Case of Human Babesiosis in Korea: Detection and Characterization of a Novel Type of Babesia Sp. (KO1) Similar to Ovine Babesia

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Case Reports

First Case of Human Babesiosis in Korea: Detection and Characterization of a Novel Type of Babesia Sp. (KO1) Similar to Ovine Babesia

Jung-Yeon Kim et al. J Clin Microbiol.

Abstract

We report on the first case of human babesiosis in Korea. The intraerythrocytic parasite (KO1) in the patient's blood mainly appeared as paired pyriforms and ring forms; but Maltese cross forms were not seen, and the parasite showed morphological features consistent with those of the genus Babesia sensu stricto. The sequence of the 18S rRNA gene of KO1 was closely related to that of Babesia spp. isolated from sheep in China (similarity, 98%). The present study provides the first evidence of the presence of a hitherto unidentified, new type of Babesia parasite capable of infecting humans.

Figures

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.
Giemsa-stained smears of blood obtained on 2 July 2005 from a patient in Gurae, Korea, who had acquired babesiosis. (A) Paired pyriform parasites; (B) ring-form parasites. Bars, 5 μm.
FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.
Phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rRNA gene sequences of Babesia sp. strain KO1 (newly found in the Korean index case patient) and closely related Babesia spp. The phylogenetic tree was built by using the neighbor-joining method. Multiple-sequence alignment was carried out by use of the ClustalW alignment program in the MacVector software package, and the aligned sequence was used to construct phylogenetic trees by using the Phylogenetic Analysis program in the same software package. The numbers on the nodes indicate the percentage of replicates of 1,000 samplings in which the given branching pattern was obtained. The scale bar indicates 0.02 nucleotide substitutions per site. The designations in brackets are GenBank accession numbers.
FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.
PCR amplification for detection of Babesia spp. from the inhabitants in the village where the patient lives (lanes 1 to 7). DNA from the patient (lane P) was used as a positive control. The products of the second PCR with primers Bab6 and Bab7 are shown. Lanes M, molecular size marker.

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