Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire experience largest percent change in Babesiosis incidence


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Babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne zoonotic parasitic disease in the United States that occurs primarily in the Northeast and Midwest.

According to another Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Babesiosis trends were evaluated in the 10 states where babesiosis was reported during the 2011-2019 period.

Babesia microti/CDC

The infection rate increased most significantly in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, with the largest increases reported in Vermont (1,602%, from 2 cases to 34 cases), Maine (1, 422%, nine (to 138), New Hampshire (372%, 13th to 78th), and Connecticut (338%, 74th to 328).

In contrast to the other seven states, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were not included as endemic states in previous CDC’s babesiosis surveillance summaries. These three countries should now be considered to have endemic transmission similar to that of the other high-infection countries; They consistently identified newly acquired cases each year during 2011-2019 and documented the presence of Babesia microti in the associated tick vector. As the rate of infection in the Northeast states, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, is increasing, tick prevention messages, provider education, and awareness of infection risks must be emphasized among travelers to these states.

Giant microbes

The first case of human babesiosis acquired in the United States was identified in 1969 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. In 2011, Babesiosis became a nationally reported case.

During 2011-2019, a total of 16,456 cases of babesiosis were reported to the CDC by 37 states, including 16,174 (98.2%) reported from the 10 states included in this analysis – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts , Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin.

Babesia Life Cycle/Center for Disease Control

New York has reported the highest number of cases (4,738 total; average = 526.4 annually), followed by Massachusetts (4,136; 459.6), and Connecticut (2,200; 244.4).

As the number and rates of cases increase, clinicians should be aware of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for babesiosis in their areas of practice, especially since other tick-borne conditions can have similar clinical manifestations, risk of disease acquisition, and geographic distribution.

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Finally, the expansion of the risk of developing babesiosis may have implications for the blood supply. Babesia It can be transmitted through blood transfusions, and people who contract babesiosis through contaminated blood have been shown to have significantly worse health outcomes and a higher risk of death than those who contract the disease from a tick bite. Currently, the FDA recommends screening blood donations for babesiosis in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Babesiosis risks in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are similar to those in the northeastern and midwestern states where babesiosis is considered endemic, and FDA guidelines recommend screening blood donors for Babesia infection in these countries. Continuous assessment of both tick and blood transfusion risks in states bordering those with endemic transmission is important for the evaluation and development of babesiosis blood screening policy.

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