Congenital Babesiosis From Maternal Exposure: A Case Report

J Emerg Med. 2019 Apr;56(4):e39-e41. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2018.12.044. Epub 2019 Jan 29.


Background: Babesiosis is a disease caused by parasites that infect red blood cells; in infants it can be acquired from tick bites, blood transfusions, or congenitally via vertical transmission. It can present with thrombocytopenia, fevers, and parasitemia.

Case report: A case of vertically transmitted babesiosis in an infant is described. Thrombocytopenia and parasitemia > 4% developed in this well-appearing infant. The diagnosis was made by history and blood smear in both infant and mother, and the patient recovered fully with oral antibiotics. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Congenital babesiosis has been reported infrequently in the literature and is reviewed here. It is important to consider congenital tick-borne illness in endemic areas as a cause for febrile thrombocytopenia in neonates.

Keywords: babesiosis; congenital; parasitemia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Babesia microti / pathogenicity
  • Babesiosis / complications*
  • Babesiosis / diagnosis*
  • Babesiosis / transmission
  • Fever / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Male
  • Parasitemia / complications
  • Parasitemia / transmission
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology