Tick-Borne Babesiosis Cases Increase in Northeastern States, Says C.D.C.
Ticks have always been a concern for anyone who loves outdoor activities. With the onset of warm weather, a surge of tick problems is being reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A recent report released by the CDC affirms that the increase in tick-borne cases is a result of Babesia parasites, which cause the potentially life-threatening disease called babesiosis. Knowing the effects and ways to prevent this disease can make a significant difference in protecting oneself from being infected.
Babesiosis- What Is It?
Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by the Babesia parasite, which mainly infects red blood cells. The parasite spreads to humans through the bites of certain types of ticks, most commonly the black-legged tick (or deer tick). While mosquitoes transmit malaria, ticks transmit babesiosis.
Human babesiosis can range from mild to severe, and many people who are infected do not experience any symptoms. Symptoms may not appear for up to several weeks after infection, but can include: fever, chills, muscle soreness, fatigue, and sweating.
Babesiosis is common in the Northeastern states, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The disease is usually transmitted from late spring to the autumn months when ticks are most active. According to the CDC report, the highest reports of confirmed Babesia cases were recorded in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Therefore, residents of these states, as well as visitors, must take extra precautions during outdoor activities.
Preventive measures can help reduce the risk of babesiosis. If you live in or plan to visit a known-risk area, there are several things you can do to help prevent getting bitten by ticks. Use insect repellents containing DEET, wear light-colored clothing and long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks. It is also important to check yourself and your family members for ticks after spending time outdoors, especially in wooded areas.
Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease that can be life-threatening if left untreated. However, it is preventable if the necessary precautions are taken, such as using insect repellent and checking for ticks. As outdoor activities increase during the warm months, it is vital to be aware of the heightened Babesia transmission risk in specific regions of the country. Taking small steps towards prevention is critical in staying safe and healthy in the great outdoors.
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