Human babesiosis is an emerging tick‐borne infectious disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia. The disease is named after Victor Babes, a renowned 19th‐century microbiologist and pathologist who first discovered the causative pathogen in Romanian cattle in 1888. The first case of human babesiosis was reported in a Yugoslavian farmer in 1957. A decade later, the first case of babesiosis in an immunocompetent person was described on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, which soon became the first area recognized as endemic for the disease in humans. It was here that the endemic cycle was first described, including the causative pathogen, Babesia microti; the tick vector, Ixodes dammini or deer tick (subsequently renamed Ixodes scapularis or black‐legged tick); and the reservoir host, Peromyscus leucopus (white‐footed mouse). The same tick vector was subsequently found to transmit the agent of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), a disease first described in 1977. Babesiosis and Lyme disease have spread across the northeastern and upper Midwestern United States but Lyme disease has been predominant in both number of cases and geographic range. Clinical and research interest therefore focused on Lyme disease, while babesiosis was viewed somewhat as a medical curiosity. This perception began to change
Transfusion – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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