Human babesiosis

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2008 Sep;22(3):469-88, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2008.03.010.


Human babesiosis is an emerging intraerythrocytic infection caused by protozoal parasites transmitted by ixodid ticks. Babesiosis is endemic in the northeastern and upper midwestern regions of the United States and is found sporadically in other parts of the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Babesial infections range from asymptomatic to severe and occasionally are fatal. Specific laboratory diagnosis of babesial infection is made by morphologic examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears, serology, and amplification of babesial DNA using polymerase chain reaction. The combination of atovaquone and azithromycin is the treatment of choice for mild-to-moderate illness, whereas clindamycin and quinine and exchange transfusion are indicated for severe disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arachnid Vectors / parasitology*
  • Babesia / drug effects
  • Babesia / isolation & purification
  • Babesia / pathogenicity
  • Babesiosis / diagnosis*
  • Babesiosis / drug therapy
  • Babesiosis / epidemiology*
  • Babesiosis / transmission
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Ixodidae / parasitology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • DNA, Protozoan