Babesia and Lyme — it’s worse than you think

Babesia, a tick-borne infection that causes malaria-like symptoms, has been making headlines over the past two years as the number of reported cases increases, and concerns grow over the seriousness of the disease and its ability to be transmitted through the blood supply.

 

by Daniel J. Cameron, MD, MPH

Although Lyme disease is the most talked about tick-transmitted disease, Babesia is more common than you might think. In the 2015 issue of Trends in Parasitology, Diuk-Wasser and colleagues report that up to 40% of patients with Lyme disease experienced concurrent Babesiosis. [1]

This means that out of the estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme disease reported annually in the U.S., 120,000 of those individuals may also have Babesia. This is particularly alarming given that the disease can go undetected in asymptomatic individuals and is transmissible through blood transfusions or congenitally. Additionally, Babesia requires different treatment than Lyme disease.

The Babesia microti (B. microti) parasite that leads to Babesia is commonly seen in blacklegged deer ticks. But according to the authors, it’s also common to find ticks and enzootic hosts carrying both Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative agent of Lyme disease) and B. microti. In fact, between 12% and 42% of rodents are co-infected with both agents. This would suggest that “coinfection provides a survival advantage for both pathogens.” [1]

reported_cases_by_year_2013

Source: CDC. Number of Babesiosis cases since it become a nationally reportable disease in 2011.

The first case of Babesiosis caused by the B. microti parasite was identified in 1969 in an individual who had vacationed in Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 2011, that it became a nationally notifiable disease with more than 1100 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two years later, this number had risen to nearly 1800.

A commentary, published in July 2015, entitled Time to Become Familiar with Babesiosis?  highlights the concern among those in the medical community. The article points out, “Babesiosis is the single most common transfusion-related infection.”

Setty and colleagues summarized their concern in a 2003 review, “Parasitemia in humans is transient and episodic. For this reason, there is a risk of asymptomatic donors transmitting the disease to recipients.” The authors raised concerns that there were 20 cases of Babesiosis and a variant Babesia strain called WA1 by red blood cells and blood component transfusions by 2003.

Babesia can lead to serious illness. Patients have presented with atrial fibrillation, [2] noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, [3] and anemia. [2] In New York, between 1982 and 1991, 7 people with Babesia died, while another patient on Nantucket Island developed pancarditis and died. [4]

Babesia occurs in individuals without the risk factors of increased age, prior splenectomy, immunosuppression, prematurity, and liver disease. [2] In one study of 192 patients, the average age was 46 years for individuals with Babesia. [5] The ages ranged from 27 to 83 years in a New York case series. [6] Five of 192 patients were immunosuppressed, [5] while none of the four subjects in another study had a splenectomy. [2]

Babesia can increase the severity of Lyme disease. Coinfected patients were more likely to have experienced fatigue, headache, sweats, chills, anorexia, emotional lability, nausea, conjunctivitis, and splenomegaly more frequently than those with Lyme disease alone. [7] 

Babesia can also increase the duration of illness with Lyme disease. Babesia patients can remain symptomatic for years with constitutional, musculoskeletal, or neurological symptoms. One study found that 50% of coinfected patients were symptomatic for 3 months or longer, compared to only 4% of patients who had Lyme disease alone. [7] Meanwhile, one-third of patients with a history of both Babesia and Lyme disease remained symptomatic an average of 6 years. [2]

“The clinical pictures for 3 out of our 4 coinfected patients included a large number of symptoms, and 1 coinfected patient had persistent fatigue after treatment,” according to a study by Steere and colleagues. [8]

Babesia – difficult to diagnose 

Equally worrisome is the fact that the disease can be difficult to diagnose based on symptoms. Nearly all patients with Babesia reported sweats. However, if the patient was coinfected with Lyme disease, the incidence of sweats dropped to 42%. Sweats can also be reported in other tick borne illnesses. [5]

Blood sample for babesia parasite testingBabesia can also be difficult to diagnose with current testing. The parasite was detected microscopically in as few as one-third of patients with Babesia. [5] Specific amplifiable DNA and IgM antibody were more likely to be positive. [5] The reliability of tests for Babesia in actual practice remains to be determined.

The Babesia tests can become negative. The Babesia sporozoites can be too few in number to be detected on a thin smear or can resolve with or without treatment. It’s been reported that a positive serologic test for B. microti will decay over time, leading to a negative test. Half of the patients with positive serologic tests for B. microti were negative on follow-up. [2]

Treating Babesia  

Babesia cannot be treated with the same medications used to treat Lyme disease. Doxycycline is effective for Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis but not for Babesia.   Treatment with Mepron and Zithromax has been effective for Babesia. Quinine and clindamycin have also been effective but are associated with a higher rate of side effects. Flagyl and Tindamax drugs have been proposed but not well studied. The optimal treatment for Babesia has yet to be worked out.

Physicians have different views over the diagnosis and treatment of Babesia. The Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) guidelines advise:

  1. Symptomatic patients whose serum contains antibody to Babesia but whose blood lacks identifiable Babesia parasites on smear or Babesia DNA by PCR should not receive treatment.
  2. Treatment is also not recommended for asymptomatic individuals, regardless of the results of serologic examination, blood smears, or PCR.
  3. Asymptomatic patients with positive Babesial smears and/or PCR should have these studies repeated, and a course of treatment should be considered if Parasitemia persists for >3 months. [9]

There are physicians who have elected not to treat Babesia patients, who are asymptomatic. In 1998, Krause and colleagues reported, “24 of 46 Babesia-infected subjects, who received no specific treatment, had Babesia DNA detectable in their blood for an average of 82 days.” [10]

In 2002, Krause et al reported, “Because symptoms had resolved or improved by the time concurrent Babesiosis or HGE was diagnosed, therapy was not administered to 38 (58%) of the patients with Lyme disease plus Babesiosis.” [5]

There are physicians concerned that symptoms of Babesia may be overlooked when evaluating patients. [11] The symptoms of chronic Lyme disease were overlooked for up to 14 years until reported in the 1990 New England Journal of Medicine by Logigian et al. [12] Meanwhile, the symptoms of Lyme disease were dismissed in by the IDSA Lyme disease guideline committee in 2000 and 2006 as nothing more than the aches and pains of daily living. [11] And the severity of the chronic manifestations were not validated until the 4 National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored clinical trials were completed. [13]

 

Sources:

  1. Diuk-Wasser MA, Vannier E, Krause PJ. Coinfection by Ixodes Tick-Borne Pathogens: Ecological, Epidemiological, and Clinical Consequences. Trends Parasitol, (2015).
  2. Wang TJ, Liang MH, Sangha O et al. Coexposure to Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti does not worsen the long-term outcome of lyme disease. Clin Infect Dis, 31(5), 1149-1154 (2000).
  3. Golightly LM, Hirschhorn LR, Weller PF. Fever and headache in a splenectomized woman. Rev Infect Dis, 11(4), 629-637 (1989).
  4. Marcus LC, Steere AC, Duray PH, Anderson AE, Mahoney EB. Fatal pancarditis in a patient with coexistent Lyme disease and babesiosis. Demonstration of spirochetes in the myocardium. Ann Intern Med, 103(3), 374-376 (1985).
  5. Krause PJ, McKay K, Thompson CA et al. Disease-specific diagnosis of coinfecting tickborne zoonoses: babesiosis, human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease. Clin Infect Dis, 34(9), 1184-1191 (2002).
  6. Meldrum SC, Birkhead GS, White DJ, Benach JL, Morse DL. Human babesiosis in New York State: an epidemiological description of 136 cases. Clin Infect Dis, 15(6), 1019-1023 (1992).
  7. Krause PJ, Feder HM, Jr. Lyme disease and babesiosis. Adv Pediatr Infect Dis, 9, 183-209 (1994).
  8. Steere AC, McHugh G, Suarez C, Hoitt J, Damle N, Sikand VK. Prospective study of coinfection in patients with erythema migrans. Clin Infect Dis, 36(8), 1078-1081 (2003).
  9. Wormser GP, Dattwyler RJ, Shapiro ED et al. The clinical assessment, treatment, and prevention of lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis: clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis, 43(9), 1089-1134 (2006).
  10. Krause PJ, Spielman A, Telford SR, 3rd et al. Persistent parasitemia after acute babesiosis. N Engl J Med, 339(3), 160-165 (1998).
  11. Cameron DJ, Johnson LB, Maloney EL. Evidence assessments and guideline recommendations in Lyme disease: the clinical management of known tick bites, erythema migrans rashes and persistent disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 1-33 (2014).
  12. Logigian EL, Kaplan RF, Steere AC. Chronic neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease. N Engl J Med, 323(21), 1438-1444 (1990).
  13. Cameron DJ. Clinical trials validate the severity of persistent Lyme disease symptoms. Med Hypotheses, 72, 153-156 (2008).


99 Replies to "Babesia and Lyme — it’s worse than you think"

  • Mary
    08/02/2017 (7:10 pm)
    Reply

    I am also interested in the correlation between elevated creatinine/BUN and kidney disease. My husband has been told that he has third stage kidney disease. We have had multiple tick bites (Hudson River Valley) and now wonder if babesia treatment might be indicated. No LLMD on board, unfortunately.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      08/02/2017 (11:40 pm)
      Reply

      Kidney disease has been reported due to Lyme disease. I have not seen any literature addressing your question. Sorry

  • Crissy Naticchia
    08/20/2017 (8:32 pm)
    Reply

    My husband of 50 years old recently passed away from Babesia. He has a splenectomy when he was a child and by the time this illness was diagnosed, it was too late for him. His liver and kidneys shut down and the doctors treated him for alcohol withdrawal. I would love to see more awareness of babesia out there.

    • Cheryl
      01/18/2018 (3:43 am)
      Reply

      My husband had liver kidney failure as well, which I believe stemmed from Babesia (Positive FISH). His infectious disease doctors said the test was “invalid” but he responded to the Babesia treatment. Unfortunately it was too late and he went into full liver/kidney failure. He received a liver/kidney transplant in May 2017, but the liver is again showing signs of severe inflammation.

      • Dr. Daniel Cameron
        01/18/2018 (5:34 am)
        Reply

        There are shortcomings of all tests including the western blot IgG and IgM patients. Doctors are often left withe clinical judgment when making a treatment decision if a tick borne illness is a possibility. It is also important to rule out other conditions.

  • Deb B
    09/04/2017 (9:36 pm)
    Reply

    I believe I was bitten over 20 years ago yet I don’t remember it. I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, migraines and multiple psych disorders. I always felt they were missing something. I felt so sick and kept being told I was fine. I just found out I have Lyme Babesia and Bartonella. My regular doctors still don’t believe me but I have a positive clinical diagnosis and a positive iSpot lyme test. It literally explains everything I’ve gone through. I’ve been having scary chronic migraines that no medication will get rid of. I get complete loss of vision for a few seconds, vertigo, dizziness and aura along with swishing in my ears. Also the most awful pressure in my head and ears when standing or changing position. It feels like my pulse. My neck and shoulders hurt too but these are not tension headaches and my no is usually normal. Does this sound like something that could be explained by Lyme or Co Infections? All my Brain imaging has been normal.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/04/2017 (10:19 pm)
      Reply

      You would be reasonable to include include a tick borne evaluation in your workup.

  • Alicia Kwalton
    09/14/2017 (5:26 am)
    Reply

    I was bitten by an insect on August 9, 2014 while lying in my bed. I broke out in hives, went to the ER and my heart just went off. I was hospitalized for 9 days on the cardiac floor. No one could tell me what was happening. Since then I have experienced pericarditis, tachycardia and since December, significant pain in my bones. I am desperate for answers. What is a tick borne evaluation?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/15/2017 (5:08 am)
      Reply

      Your doctor has likely already considered Lyme disease. You may benefit from being evaluated again for a tick borne infection by a doctor with experience in that area. You should also continue to look for answers with your cardiologist.

    • Matteo
      09/24/2017 (12:06 am)
      Reply

      Alicia–where do you live? Have you investigated Chagas, or the cone nosed assassin beetle (kissing bug)? I have heard of severe reactions along these lines.

  • Richard
    09/19/2017 (3:50 am)
    Reply

    Babesia and Bartonella are nasiter than Lyme disease for most. Babesia can take forever to get rid of sometimes it can take 9-15 months of intensive multi anti-malarial cocktails to eradicate this. A good check on whether you’ve gotten it under control is to check the inflammation of your liver and spleen. Babesia loves to hang out there (then again so does Bartonella). Forget getting tests they are quite inaccurate better off being treated based on symptoms.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/19/2017 (4:26 pm)
      Reply

      The original study only prescribed 10 days of treatment for Babesia. The cases were caught at the time Babesia was in the red cell. The time to resolve Babesia that was not caught early is not as clear.

  • Paige
    09/22/2017 (8:06 pm)
    Reply

    Do you know if Babesia has been found in humans in Hawaii? Also, can Babesia symptoms come and go similar to MS and Lyme? I was diagnosed in 2013 with Guillain-barre but have since had two relapse episodes of extreme weakness and the last one left me with continued weakness, fatigue, and pain. Neurologist said it is not Guillain-barre but doesn’t know what it is and rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I am beginning to wonder if I had tick paralysis in 2013 and got a rickettsial disease.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/23/2017 (7:57 am)
      Reply

      I am no familiar with the tick borne issues in Hawaii.

    • Linzie
      01/29/2018 (11:54 am)
      Reply

      You may want to talk to your neurologist about transverse myelitis or NMO (neuromyelitis optica), although this sounds more like transverse myelitis (TM). I have chronic lyme, recent babesia contraction from a blood transfusion, and transverse myelitis. All of the tick borne infections were from before transverse myelitis so I absolutely know the different symptoms from lyme and TM. What you’ve explained sounds A LOT like transverse myelitis. Did you have MRIs done of your spine and brain at the onset of weekneas/paralysis? Did they find a lesion in your spine? If not, it still doesn’t preclude the possibility of having TM. I’m assuming you had a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). Did they test for oligoclonal bands, protein, and white blood cells? Again, all can be normal and still be TM. Lyme disease is also a known cause of transverse myelitis. Mine was triggered by mycoplasma pneumonia although the lyme and babesia have hindered my recovery. I am incredibly lucky, however, and am one of the 1/3 who will recover to nearly 100%. It’s a disease that’s actually even more rare than Guillian-Barré (only 1,400 cases per year in the U.S.) and there are very few neurologists who are even well educated on the disease. You can always send all of your original medical files from the Guillian-Barré diagnosis to Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center and they will help give you a diagnosis. If you’re curious if this is possibly what is going on, I recommend the Facebook group Transverse Myelitis Folks (Blue Crew). Just my two cents from someone who has experienced all three illnesses.

      • Dr. Daniel Cameron
        02/01/2018 (12:52 am)
        Reply

        Thanks for your comments. They reflect how little we know.

      • Mai
        02/04/2018 (12:54 am)
        Reply

        Could you please tell me more about your Babesia symptoms? I am recovering from Bartonella but I am not sure if heat sensitivity is due to Babesia. Thanks

  • Ace
    09/24/2017 (5:13 pm)
    Reply

    During a routine blood donation I was notified that babesia PCR was positive. I was bit 1 month prior and my PCP gave me antibiotics as a precaution to contracting Lyme’s. I was told by my doctor after receiving the information from the blood donation clinic that because I was not experiencing symptoms I could not be treated and my body would eliminate the pathogen. I was just tested again 3 months after being bit. I’m now being put on 1 week of medications. Do you think this is enough time to kill this infection? I’ve read places that say min 10 days of treatment. I want to get rid of this parasite sooner than later.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/24/2017 (6:42 pm)
      Reply

      There are often symptoms of Babesia during followup. There are also periods of time without symptoms making it difficult for blood banks to detect Lyme disease. The ten day recommendations for Babesia were proposed based on the original study comparing a combination of Mepron and Zithromax vs Clindamycin with Quinine. They were able to clear Babesia from the red cells. I often find longer patients more effective if symptomatic. Doctors are divided.

  • Mitchell
    09/29/2017 (8:30 pm)
    Reply

    After 6 nights of night sweats, chills, headache behind eyes and 103+ fever my 24 year old son received an equivocal result for acute lyme and negative for long term lyme. The babesia test results done by the ER won’t be back for 2 weeks. He has started on 100mg doxy 2x per day for 21 days. Should we be treating for babesia NOW based on symptoms? We live in Massachusetts.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      09/29/2017 (9:13 pm)
      Reply

      There are sweats from other tick borne illnesses.

    • Rebecca
      10/23/2017 (1:51 pm)
      Reply

      Doxycycline for 21 days? Might as well put a gun to the poor guys head and save him a lifetime of suffering. Bring him to a real lyme doc. Tests are garbage.

    • Mai
      02/04/2018 (1:00 am)
      Reply

      21days it’s not enough, they did the same to me and I have been having a lot of pain for 10 years and now I had life treating symptoms, very bad neurological problems. This is really serious, don’t waste your time, you need a serious treatment and evaluation I had Bartonella and nobody realize. Please look for help. Dr. Mozayeni in Maryland knows how to treat this. DON’T TRUST IN DOCTORS WHO THINK YOU CAN BEAT LYNE WITH 21 days of antibiotics.

  • Bonnie
    10/02/2017 (1:49 am)
    Reply

    I had my first lyme test in november and all IGGs and IGMS were positive. Now, I have only one IGM absent, and still have a 5.09 lyme test value. Been on doxy for 5 weeks, malarone for 7 months and zithro for 5 months – do your titers stay elevated even if the lyme is gone? I also have babesia – when do you know when you are well enough to get off the meds. I am good for the most part, but every day around 6-7 PM I get really fatigued. Since it is like clockwork, makes me wonder if it is the bugs anymore, or the meds.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      10/02/2017 (4:12 pm)
      Reply

      The titers typically remain elevated even if the infection has resolve. Your doctor will have to use clinical judgement including ruling out other infections

  • Melissa Linger
    10/11/2017 (3:48 pm)
    Reply

    My 11-year-old son tested positive for Babesia using the DNA Conexions test. The LLMD we were using only prescribed herbs and they did not work. We need to find another medical professional. What treatment should we seek? He has many symptoms and is missing out on a normal childhood.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      10/11/2017 (11:09 pm)
      Reply

      I am not certain the significance of the urine test you are referring to. It is challenging to validate each test. You might need to add a doctor familiar with antibiotics for tick borne illnesses. You will also need to work with other doctors to rule out other causes.

  • roxanne
    11/06/2017 (1:05 am)
    Reply

    I have babesia and lyme and have been treating for six years without much success. It would appear that Babesia is the biggest player in my illness yet, nothing seems to knock it. Not even Mepron and Azithromycin. My Dr. is now putting me on the dreaded Quinine/Clindamycin protocol. In your experience is one protocol better that the other in you patients?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      11/07/2017 (11:39 pm)
      Reply

      I prefer Mepron and Azithromycin to avoid the side effects of Quinine and Clinadamycin. Nevertheless Quinine and Clindamycin helps some people. Flagyl and tindamax has been considered for their antiparasite effects but the research has not caught up.

  • Julie
    11/13/2017 (3:11 pm)
    Reply

    I was bit in 2001 and had symptoms since that no doctor could explain. In 2010 after a brain and spinal MRI I was told I most likely had MS due to lesions. In 2012, I was positive for chronic lyme and bartonella and in 2016 tested positive for babesia microti and duncani. I have been treating since 2012 with the worst herxing beginning with babesia treatment in 2017 and ongoing.

    My MRI’s are much worse and I am no better. My family thinks it is foolish to continue to treat lyme and the co-infections and that I should go on MS drug treatment. I am really discouraged at this point but not sure if MS treatment will make me worse.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      03/01/2018 (5:21 pm)
      Reply

      The lesions of Lyme and MS are similar. I urge my patients to include neurologist as part of the evaluation as you weight options.

  • Jennifer
    11/26/2017 (8:21 pm)
    Reply

    Two months ago, I tested positive for Babesia antibodies, but the follow-up smear and PCR were negative. I now have recurrent episodes of fever/chills/aches/sweats/headache and other symptoms, each short in duration (12-48 hrs) with rapid recovery after. I fear my physician will deny treatment due to the test results and my apparent good health, and I will continue to have a lingering low-level infection. Will this infection, if Babesiosis, truly resolve on its own?
    I have been working as a field biologist in MA (Cape/Islands and inland) for 25 years (= major tick exposure). Amazingly, this is my first known tick-borne disease but most of my coworkers have been ill one or more times. I have found many physicians to be (back then and now) a bit slow to the table.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      12/02/2017 (1:51 am)
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing your concern. The smear and PCR can resolve before testing leaving only the antibody test. I would not dismiss a positive antibody test.

  • Kay
    12/27/2017 (6:04 pm)
    Reply

    My Lyme and Babesia went undiagnosed for a year, maybe a bit longer. I’ve finally completed the abx part of my treatment, and was feeling almost 100% I’m starting herbal antimicrobials soon to clean up the last bits, but the problem remains my Babesia infection has clung to my body quite stubbornly. I just had a chest episode (the crushing elephant sitting on your chest feeling) and it’s been atleast a month since my last one. Why is this parasite so damn hard to ridd my body of??! My biggest fear is I’ll never fully get back to normal.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      12/27/2017 (10:37 pm)
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing your frustration. Keep working on getting healthy.

  • Fidmar
    12/29/2017 (4:26 pm)
    Reply

    I had Lyme Disease 2 years ago and was treated with antibiotics. Recently my bloodwork showed a high indication of Babesia infection, which my doctor said indicated a past infection. I have never felt the same since being diagnosed with Lyme Disease (constant fatigue and joint pain). Can Babesia still be present and flare up? Is it worth following up with a Specialist or Rhuematologist? Thank you for your help.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      01/10/2018 (1:47 pm)
      Reply

      Babesia is a condition where a IgG “past infection” does not mean that the infection is necessarily gone.

  • Nic
    01/03/2018 (4:28 pm)
    Reply

    My doctor wants me to take Zithromax/Mepron combo for 4 months because the life cycle of the red blood cell is 110 days.

    Is this necessary? I have having increased brain fog, dizzyness and “spacy” feeling since starting a month and a half ago and it is kind of worrying me.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      01/10/2018 (1:37 pm)
      Reply

      The life cycle of a red cell is limited. I use clinical judgement based on response rather than tie it to red cells.

  • Tom
    01/07/2018 (3:36 am)
    Reply

    I had babesia and was hospitalized and treated and retested after treatment.Supposedly I am cured. Why do I still feel totally fatigued and have very poor balance. I have even had to get PT for balance.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      01/10/2018 (1:28 pm)
      Reply

      The original treatment trial was 10 days for Babesia but those cases were identified early. There are a growing number of case reports where longer therapy and retreatment of Babesis has been described.

  • Bonnie Wilson-Davis
    01/12/2018 (12:04 am)
    Reply

    I had Babesia caught early, major symptoms cleared within a couple weeks, a few mild symptoms have lingered like balance issues and fatigue and are slowly trailing off after several months. PCR, smears, etc. repeated several times all blood work is negative. Feel like everything is on the wane, but how long (typically) does it take to get completely back to normal? Are there any supplements, herbs, etc. that might help? Thanks.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      01/14/2018 (7:00 am)
      Reply

      I am happy to hear the major symptoms cleared. Ther are some individuals where they remain ill over time. Some benefit from retreatment for Babesia with retreatment. The trials have not addressed who will benefit from retreatment. Supplements have also been proposed but are also not studied.

  • Katie
    01/18/2018 (7:14 am)
    Reply

    I have been fighting Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted and Babesia Duncani for approx. 4 years. I have had IV pic line for 1 year. Babesia symptoms as wells as Lyme re occurred 7 months after IV removal. I cannot seem to clear the Babesia. I feel that I have tried nearly everything in every combination with only minor relief of symptoms. Is there anything novel you would recommend for the Babs I cant seem to clear? Thanks!

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      01/18/2018 (1:29 pm)
      Reply

      Your case highlights the difficulties we all face when tick borne issues are a concern. Each case needs to be evaluated individually.

  • Lorraine
    01/29/2018 (3:11 pm)
    Reply

    My brother has Lyme, babesia,and bartonella. He suffers every day . Headaches, inflamed gut, passes out,going on for 12 years . Seeing a dr in NY we live in IL . He said he’d be dead if didn’t have treatment .
    But nothing stays away. Of course antibiotics. My sister has journal of everything .
    He is 59. Strongest person because I’d be laid out . Too long but dr in ny said never seen anyone like my brother. Meaning so sick. I’m so sad he still cooks for people he’s a good one.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/01/2018 (12:52 am)
      Reply

      It can be difficult to know whether a tick borne infection has cleared. I am sorry to hear he has not recover. He should be evaluated by various specialist to rule out other causes.

  • Ev
    02/02/2018 (10:16 am)
    Reply

    Hello,
    I am from the Netherlands. In 2005 I got bitten by a tick and had a bullseye rash. and in 2013, after being sick for over 7 years, they found out I had Lyme disease, Babesia, Q fever, bartonella, ehrlichia and another co infection I can’t remember now.
    I had 4 months of antibiotics, Claritromicyn because I am allergic to doxycycline.

    But I never got better. Have a lot of symptoms but the most worrisome are the fevers.
    Still having high fevers a few hours a day and every night. They go up to 40 degrees. And after that I have it so cold. And than it starts again. This is going on for 9 years already. Is it the Babesia? They never gave me a treatment for it. Because it would clear by itself. And my house doctor doesn’t believe in Babesia. She says it’s a animal disease and I am not a cow so I can’t have babesiosis. The test in the hospital must be wrong she states. (4 years ago they tested me for Babesia two times in a hospital. )

    What can I take to stop those fevers? And can Babesia persist? I have it since 2005, and they never treated it.. is it possible that I still have it?or do I need to look for another reason I have those fevers for 9 years. (Can’t be malaria though, never been in a country where they have malaria, and I am only 29 so not menopausal).

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/07/2018 (12:40 am)
      Reply

      I am sorry to hear you remain ill. Babesia is increasingly common in people. They often only test Babesia by blood smear. Don’t forget to rule out other causes of illness other than tick borne conditions.

      • Ev
        02/17/2018 (3:14 pm)
        Reply

        Thank you for your comment.

        My doctor ruled out other illnesses already (like thyroid disease and diabetes etc) so he says I have to learn to live with it. But thanks again for your reply, I will come back here more to read new comments.

        • Dr. Daniel Cameron
          02/17/2018 (7:21 pm)
          Reply

          I hope you you get your health back.

  • Ann Prow
    02/05/2018 (1:22 pm)
    Reply

    I have had Lyme starting in 1983 and appreared symptomless after IV antibiotics for 2 weeks hospitalized. I was reinfected in 1992 (new husband) and treated again for Lyme Borrelious and co-infections in 2002. I am having a reoccurrance of Babesia and Bartonella. I took Rifampin 300 mg and Doxy 100mg and got lessened some symptoms – hot/cold, extreme cold extremedies, much mental confusion but since that was completed, I continue with “freight train tinnitis” with loss of hearing, extreme exhaustion and brain inflammation feeling like my brain is larger than my skull.
    I feel I need to continue on the Bart meds above but need also the cognitive and brain inflammation addressed. Can you suggest the best antibiotics, strength and duration?
    My husband with Parkinson’s diagnosis is showing the same symptoms, he needs this treatment as well, we are not functioning well at all. Thank you for your thoughts, we have spent our savings and are still suffering. Our internist is perscribing our treatment with advise.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/05/2018 (3:34 pm)
      Reply

      I share what I have learned in the published literature and in my practice. Neither Rifampin or doxycycline work for Babesia. It can be difficult to determine the best treatment without a consultation.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/05/2018 (3:44 pm)
      Reply

      It can be complicated when tick borne illnesses are part of the problem. For example, neither rifampin nor doxycycline work for Babesia. It is also important to rule out other conditions.

  • Hank
    02/19/2018 (12:17 am)
    Reply

    How do you feel about using malarone instead of mepron? What amount of malarone do you recommend daily?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/19/2018 (1:01 pm)
      Reply

      I have been using Malarone more often than Mepron lately. For readers who are not familiar with the difference, both are based on atovaquone. Mepron is 750 mg per tsp and Malarone contains 250 atovaquone combined with proguanil.

  • Cindy
    02/26/2018 (7:29 pm)
    Reply

    Is a positive antibody test reason to treat symptoms?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/27/2018 (12:32 am)
      Reply

      The blood smear and PCR are more typical of early presentations. Often the only remaining evidence is an antibody test. The symptoms may not include sweats. You still have to use clinical judgement to decide treatment.

  • Felip
    03/02/2018 (7:28 pm)
    Reply

    I grew up in northern Westchester county, NY in a deer infested area and it took doctors almost 7 years to diagnose me with lyme disease. My problems go back to the early 90’s. I’ve heard of babesia and co-infections but never knew they could cause all these issues based on what folks in this thread are mentioning so that might be something for me to check out. The infectious disease doctor I saw in New York City sent me to have a SPECT scan of my brain since my big issues were panic attacks, phobias, stomach issues and intense brain fog. Most other docs said it was just hypoglycemia or mono. The SPECT scan showed extreme white matter hypoperfusion and abnormal ‘swiss cheese’ blood flow in my brain. I was put on a home IV for 16 weeks and they tried two different kinds of antibiotics. It didn’t do much to clear my symptoms and the infectious disease doctor said he did all he could and said I should probably just go on SSRI meds for the rest of my life to deal with it. Strange as Xanax does seem to help with the brain fog and panic most of the time. I’ve lived with this for almost 25 years now, but somehow managed to start of successful company, get married and start a family. Hopefully they will make SPECT or PET scan more readily available for diagnosis of these tick diseases so people don’t have to go through what I went and still go through.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      03/03/2018 (10:51 pm)
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing. It is unclear from your comments if Babesia and other co-ifections were considered as a contributing cause of continued symptoms.

      • Felip
        03/12/2018 (7:54 pm)
        Reply

        Nah they never tested or treated me for Babesia back in the day. My family doctor here in NYC thinks all the co-infections are BS and that I just suffer from plain old generalized anxiety disorder since I already went to the best infections disease doctor in the country and was treated in her mind. Glad she can get on a subway, fly alone, drive a car alone without benzos, isn’t afraid to get on elevators and doesn’t yell at her wife and kids for no reason. Wish I could say the same. This disease has really ruined a lot of people’s lives so my hope is some consensus on treatment and diagnosis occurs in my lifetime.

  • Jillory
    03/18/2018 (10:47 pm)
    Reply

    I have had these symptoms for 25+ years. Lived in Oregon and Maine spending much time in the woods. Main symptoms, body pain, horrible sweats, vivid wild dreams, depression, restlessness, brain fog, tremor, unsteady balance, itching, increases heart rate and palpitations, chest pain, bladder instability anxiety, fatigue and more. Had to quit my nursing career because I could not deal with the stress. Was framed with diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Last fall had 6 weeks of severe vertigo and doctor sent blood work to Stanford. Came back with Babesia lab value of 160. Have been put on all the top antibiotics mentioned here, even the Doxycycline. Have felt no improvement at all. If I have had it for so long is it useless to do antibiotics anymore?
    Saw a cardiologist for chest pain. Was put on 400mg magnesium a day due to profuse sweating and my chest discomfort has dropped 85%. So that was helpful but feel that five months of antibiotics have not changed my symptoms with the exception of having a bad herxing reactions. Almost died after trip flying from Maine to California on New Year’s Day 2018.
    They said my kidneys were dry and said I was in critical condition . My body felt that it was shutting down. I don’t know if I should pursue treatment or accept things as they are after having it so long.
    But was hoping I would have improved after that and didn’t. In bed most of my days. My SaO2 in RA is 94. Should I give in to the fact that this is just who I am now.?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      03/19/2018 (12:18 am)
      Reply

      I am happy to hear the doctors considered Babesia. It can be difficult to find a solution. You also need to consult other doctors to rule out other illnesses.

  • Carolyn
    03/21/2018 (5:52 pm)
    Reply

    I tested positive for Lyme back in 2007. Did 21 days of doxy and was fine. This past Oct I wasn’t feeling well…tested positive for Lyme but the doxy didn’t help this time. I went to a LLMD she has made taking zythromax and malorone along wth allergy meds. I have been feeling better with some bad days mixed in. I have read the symptoms on MS however and can not believe how similar they are to my symptoms. I feel like I haven’t had “classic” babesia symptoms. My worst symptom is I feel a shakey sensation in my head. Some other symptoms been fatigue, feeling sore in my hips when I lay down, air hunger, and anxiety. Should I be doing other testing or is it safe to say this is most likely babesia and/or bartonella. She is treating the babesia currently but thinks we will most likely be tackling bartonella next…

  • Guy Langellotti
    03/22/2018 (4:56 pm)
    Reply

    Good Morning Dr. Cameron…

    I came across this web page as a result of my search looking into repercussions for having Babesiosis…

    I was diagnosed with Babesiosis in July of 2016 (as well as Lyme, have had quite a few times) and had quite a bout with the Babesiosis. It’s a long story as to how I came to be tested though just the same, I definitely had it (or might I say still “have it”). I was blessed that my Emergency Room Doctor knew of the denial game that is going on and had my blood samples sent to California …

    At that time, the only suggested antibiotics to take was Zithromax with Mepron, though the insurance would not approve the Mepron because it was not an approved medication at that time by the FDA for addressing Babesiosis (don’t know if it is still not an approved medication for Babesiosis)…

    Because the insurance would not approve the Mepron and that the price I was told was ridiculously high, much more than I could afford, I searched the internet for anything else that could be used. I felt that if the insurance wouldn’t approve the medication that there might be other medications that might be available to use against this parasite. That possibly the insurance had something else in mind that they were not mentioning…

    I came across a site which mentioned that one doctor had good results with using Doxycycline, Zithromax, and Clindamycin taken together. I was already on Doxycycline for the Lyme (yes, of course I had that as well…lol) and before the Dr. learned the Mepron was not approved had me on the Zithromax as well, it was on filling the scripts for the Zithromax and Mepron that I learned about the insurance concerns for the Mepron. Was approved for the Zithromax so I started taking that with the Doxycycline…

    So I mentioned me findings to my Family Dr. who then gave me a script for the Clindamycin as well….

    It was a terrible 10 days taking the Clindamycin with the other medications with acid reflux that could kill a bull (oh, did I burn…lol) though it seemed to take away the symptoms I was having from the Babesiosis…

    I have a local Infectious Disease Doctor who originally came out of Stony Brook University’s Infectious Disease group. I am not happy at all with the information I received from this Doctor, I seem to get a run around from anyone coming from the group at Stony Brook (I had originally seen one of the doctors there many years ago after my first bout with Lyme, same run around)…

    I keep all my record history pertaining to my Lyme tests, both IgG (6) and IgM (2-3) are lit up across the board on the last few tests. I am told now that I will not be tested anymore because the results with be the same no matter what…that I will always show positive now with the western blot using the IgG and IgM bands…

    I recently called my present Infectious Disease Doctor about some new tests at this time and was very dissapointed that he had no idea of any (Nanotraps is one, I hope I spelled it right) after I brought this to his attention he then found that the tests are real and most likely not covered by the insurance yet…

    I am on Long Island NY and I am wondering if there is more information on dealing with both Babesiosis and Lyme and their aftermath…I am concerned…wait…more than concerned…I feel one or both of these are still attacking my system…

    I am a person who is quite tough (or should I say I was)…I am now 62 and can’t tell if my issues are just because of my age or are they related to having these diseases still active in my system…

    Please, if you can, help…lol…is there any light you can shed on this…

    I thank you in advance for your time and consideration…

    Sincerely

    Guy Langellotti

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      03/22/2018 (5:38 pm)
      Reply

      Most antibiotics are not approved by the FDA. I don’t believe that doxycycline, amoxicillin, Zithromax or IV Rocephin are FDA approved. Clindamycin combined with quinine has been recommended for Babesia but has more side effects that Mepron and Zithromax. It is not clear that clindamycin works without quinine for Babesia. You may find a lower dose Mepron or oral Malarone might help your doctor. The cost is lower if you can use the GoodRx app.

      • Guy Langellotti
        03/24/2018 (11:55 am)
        Reply

        So what you are saying in that I did not have the Clindamycin with quinine I might still have the Babesiosis? I was only given the combination Doxycycline, Zithromax, and Clindamycin taken together as I stated. Also, is it worth me coming to see you in that your address shows you are 1 hr 40 min away from me. I am with Health First with the Gold Leaf Premier policy? I really am not getting much attention from the local infectious doctors, as I stated, they seem to have a printed statement concerning these diseases.

        Guy

        • Dr. Daniel Cameron
          03/25/2018 (3:07 am)
          Reply

          I am not convinced that clindamycin works without quinine. You are welcome to call the office agt 914 666 4665.

  • Gabriel Saks
    04/10/2018 (5:52 pm)
    Reply

    Hi Dr. Cameron. I found an adult deer tick on me (feeding near armpit) and removed it, and sent it to be tested at UMass “tickreport”. The tick tested positive for Babesia microti. It has been 10 days since I removed it, I am still asymptomatic (I have been feeling somewhat lethargic/depressed, and my arm on that side is slightly sore, but it may not be related). Should I get antibiotics just in case, since early treatment is more able to eradicate it?
    Thank you very much!
    Gabe

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      04/10/2018 (9:45 pm)
      Reply

      I am always concerned when my patients have any symptoms within 6 weeks of a tick bite. Babesia may take awhile to develop symptoms. see my blog at http://danielcameronmd.com/blood-donor-infects-premature-infants-babesia/ I can’t give individual advised without an office visit. You should consult your doctor given the symptoms even if they are not so clear cut.

  • Elisa Masslich
    04/15/2018 (9:45 pm)
    Reply

    I used to go to you, Dr. Cameron, for treatment, but since I am very far and do not drive long distances and feel so very sick every day, I don’t know what to do. I tested positive for Lyme and Babesia microti, but recent tests from regular pc came back negative for both; I believe they used any old lab. I suffer with joint pain, night sweats, stiffness, constipation, heartburn, but MOST OF ALL SOMETHING I NEVER HEARD ANYONE MENTION, I HAVE CONSTANT BURNING LIKE A FIRE INSIDE MY ANAL AREA, 24/7, ALL DAY. gASTRO SAID IT MAY BE PUDENDAL NERVE DAMAGE. i HAVE HAD SHOTS FOR pn with no success. Have you heard of Babesia microti causing this burning, from any of your patients. Some doctors have told me I am a psychopath with all these strange symptoms, especially the burning sympton. It’s like having a fireplace lit inside my rectal/anal area.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      04/16/2018 (12:04 am)
      Reply

      Sorry to hear you remain ill. I have not seen the pain you describe. Perhaps others have. It sounds as if pudendal nerve blocks have also failed. Keep working on finding a solution.

  • MT
    05/04/2018 (10:04 am)
    Reply

    Last August I was sent a letter from the RI CDC that I was infected with B. Microti, recognized after a blood donation. I believe I was infected early summer. After convincing PCP to test , got tested in OCTober, smear neg. PCR was positive, serology not performed, and not given treatment. Pursued PCP due to symptoms, though not debilitating but present and affecting quality of life. Retested in Feb., smear was neg, PCR was neg, antibodies in sereology were 256. Granted treatment of Zpack and meprone. Felt good for a couple of weeks. Fatigue and joint pain resurfaced, more than before. pursued more blood work. Smear and PCR clear. Antibodies at 64. PCP declares success. I think otherwise, do symptoms still appear after a successful treatment? Is a second opinion recommended? Will this clear up on its own? Is bloodwork the holy grail of diagnoses? Aargh, its frustrating when you live in ground zero for these infections and you would think there would be more knowledge about them. You make an inquiry but all you hear is crickets. I asked the CDC director in the beginning via email if there were any research I could get involved in but she said she did not. It all seems strange to me. Sorry for rambling and there are those who are much worse off than I, just needed to vent and this seemed like a good place.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      05/04/2018 (2:17 pm)
      Reply

      I am happy to hear your doctor has worked hard with some success. It can be difficult to resolve the illness. Sometimes a change in treatment to include Babesia is helpful. There is no test to verify an infection has resolved. It is also important to rule out other causes. I typically have to do a complete evaluation to look for opportunities that might have been overlooked.

  • Steve
    05/12/2018 (1:21 am)
    Reply

    Hello Dr. Cameron and fellow lyme peeps : )

    No lyme disease for me as I can find from past ELISA and Western blot test but a recent blood work on me included a Babesia Microti Anti Panel test, and came back positive on the IgG @ 1:80. I suspect infection happened back in November 2013, but can not be sure.

    My Dr wrote me a prescription for 42 -100mg doxycycline capsules to be taken 2 times a day. But from the info here and elsewhere that is not the antibiotic that is normally used for babesia. When i questioned him on his choice of antibiotic he stated it was the normally prescribed antibiotic for babesia. I will be seeing a LLMD that is listed with the ILADS organization in about a week for a second opinion on that. 1 1/2 hour commute but it is very important to me to get this right.

    Severe headaches on the left side along with many of the other reported symptoms for me. I am a bit worried about my 55 year old kidneys feeling the strain of the last four years. I was miss diagnosed with cluster headaches and migraines by various neurologist and previous family doctor.

    I was very pleased that a new family doctor agreed to include various lyme co-infections tests with latest blood work. But was confused by his doxycycline script. I am thinking of picking up the doxycycline anyway or should I wait until I see a LLMD?

    Thanks

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      05/12/2018 (7:00 pm)
      Reply

      The best treatment for Babesia is a combination of Mepron with Zithromax since the article by Krause PJ1, Lepore T, Sikand VK, Gadbaw J Jr, Burke G, Telford SR 3rd, Brassard P, Pearl D, Azlanzadeh J, Christianson D, McGrath D, Spielman A. in the N Engl J Med. November 2000 Nov. called Atovaquone and azithromycin for the treatment of babesiosis in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11078770

      Until then quinine and clindamycin had been preferred. Some have used a lower does Malarene for Mepron for the atovaquone.

  • Nancy G.
    05/17/2018 (2:32 pm)
    Reply

    That’s interesting about kidney disease being associated with babesia. I didn’t know that. I have babesia, Lyme and bartonella. My kidney function test showed low filtration since at least 2015. GP’s and Internists don’t even mention it until their patients are critical and need dialysis, but my LLMD, who is a functional medicine doctor, was alarmed enough to suggest that I might need to see a kidney specialist. She also suggested I take Trizomal Gluthatione liquid, which can help heal kidneys. After a couple of months of that, my last kidney function test was normal, for the first time in two or three years.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      05/19/2018 (11:59 pm)
      Reply

      I have not seen renal disease in Babesia. I understand renal disease is common in dogs.

  • Richard
    05/29/2018 (3:49 pm)
    Reply

    I have had Lyme several times over the past 20 years and had a doctor that specialized in the treatment of it. He has since retired from practice and my present Dr does not support long term treatment. I have tested positive/inconclusive for B. microti and cannot donate blood. My question is has there been any research on using colloidal silver? I used it with the antibiotics with the first Dr and told him and he said there was no reason to think it would not work as it was used to treat syphilis.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      05/29/2018 (11:41 pm)
      Reply

      I am not familiar with the research on colloidal silver. I assume your treatment included medications for Babesia.

  • Sandy
    05/29/2018 (9:02 pm)
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with Branch Retinal Artery Occlusions in April 2018 and Babesiosis about 6-weeks later. I have Hollenhorst Plaques in the Occlusions. I am 40 and do not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, my echocardiogram and carotid doplar were good. I saw a hematologist and there has been no indication of a blood clotting disorder. I underwent a stroke assessment with an MRI/MRA and that was clear. I have severe fatigue, night sweats, chills, elevated temperature, excessive yawning after being up about 6hrs, and sometimes day sweats. My PCP prescribed the anitibiotic/antiparasitic that the CDC recommends. I am thinking I should see an Infectious Disease Specialist for the Babesiosis. Could the Babesiosis cause the BRAO or contribute to aortic issues that may have released the plaque? I also have a history of illness and less effective immune system. My PCP was thinking my case was mild, but I’m wondering if there is more cause for concern? Thanks for your input

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      05/29/2018 (11:47 pm)
      Reply

      I have not seen any information to address whether the retinal or aortic issues are related. There are doctors who are reluctant to treat Babesia unless the parasites are seen in the red cells and then only for 10 days. Doctors are divided on their approach to Babesia.

  • Evan
    07/06/2018 (1:29 pm)
    Reply

    Back in January of this year, after multiple trips to urgent care and my pcp over the course of 4 weeks, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme and Babesiosis. I was treated with Doxy as well as Atovquone and Azithromycin for 10 days. Within 48 hours the majority of my symptoms had cleared up. Now, 6 months later, I am having the same symptoms, but they seem to be worse. It’s only been a week, but the headaches are crippling sometimes, and the fatigue is so bad I have a hard time making it through a day just sitting at my desk.
    I feel like it must be the Babesia again, as the symptoms are nearly identical. My doctor is hesitant to treat me without my visiting an ID specialist. The only problem is it would likely be 3-4 weeks before I could visit a specialist. I feel like I am barely functioning, and don’t think I can handle a month of this again.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/06/2018 (11:29 pm)
      Reply

      The original paper proposed ten days of treatment. Their cases were treated early. There are cases in the literature where longer treatment was required. I treat longer when clinically necessary.

  • Hilary
    07/08/2018 (9:30 pm)
    Reply

    Hello Dr Cameron,
    I’ve been searching for years (close to a decade now)for a doctor that can help me in the Houston area. I’ve been told that I have fibromyalgia, but my symptoms are so much more and keep getting worse. After 20 years in dentistry, I had to stop because of severe pain and migraines. I started to suspect Lyme after my mom was diagnosed and those close to me said my symptoms matched. The deeper I researched, the more I realized I have/have had every symptom on rhe chronic Lyme list as well as other coinfections. The last neurologist I saw would not order a blood test for Lyme or any coinfections because he said it is not here in Texas. So I ordered a CD -57 test online. It showed numbers for chronic Lyme. When you take this into account as well as symptoms that could fill up a page if I listed them, I need to find a doctor in this area that is a LLMD. Do you know of any here in Houston/Cypress/Tomball/Katy/Sugarland? (I can go several different areas.)
    Greatly appreciated,
    Hilary

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/09/2018 (9:10 pm)
      Reply

      You could contact ILADS, the global Lyme Alliance, Lyme Disease Association or LymeDisease.org. You could contact a local support group. You could also fly to New York if all else fails.

  • Tammy Sullivan
    07/11/2018 (5:16 pm)
    Reply

    Dr. Cameron
    Can Babesia be cured without treatment over time and a strong immune system? I recently tested positive to ALL bands on western blot. I believe I was infected in 2009 when I was violently ill with a “flu” that lasted several weeks and since then, I continue to get the same familiar achiness throughout my body and last summer was sick from June-Sept with “5ths disease”. In April of this year my knee became double in size which finally resulted in a lyme test ….. I am now on my ninth week of doxy with two doctors that admit this is not their area of expertise…. I do not want to be treated with a PICC – waiting on more test results of the fluid from my knee since I understand the fluid is a better test vs. blood / western blot will always show positive even if very old…. by the way I am located in upstate NY.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/11/2018 (5:32 pm)
      Reply

      I often have patients who find Babesia to be part of their illness. They often find they don’t get better until they get treated for Babesia. Doxycycline does not work for Babesia. The knee fluid typically negative doxycycline even if the symptoms and knee swelling persist.

  • Tammy Sullivan
    07/11/2018 (5:47 pm)
    Reply

    Thank you for your quick response. Are you saying because I’ve been taking doxy, the knee fluid will be neg. even if active lyme? My doctor said I have old antibodies to babesia but not currently active – she did a lab order for Babesia Microti DNA, QUAL, PCR, Unspecified Specimen and Babesia Smear, Blood . I know results can be false/neg and feel confident I have it and need to be treated for it – do you take lyme patients? Where you you located in NY?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/12/2018 (3:13 am)
      Reply

      The smear clears quickly. It is not clear how often the PCR picks up Babesia.

      A positive IgG antibody test for a virus typically means the virus has cleared. The best know exception is HIV where a positive antibody test does not mean the virus has cleared. The same goes for a tick borne illness. A positive antibody to Babesia does not mean the infection has resolved. Nor does a positive IgG western blot for Lyme disease mean the infection has cleared. I am seeing patients in Mt. Kisco, New York, 35 miles north of New York City. Call 914 666 4665 if you have any questions.

      • Tammy Sullivan
        07/12/2018 (3:13 pm)
        Reply

        Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I appreciate the information very much!

      • Tammy Sullivan
        07/12/2018 (3:44 pm)
        Reply

        If you do not mind, may I ask one more question – is there ANY way to determine if the virus or confection has cleared?
        Also, (sorry, more than one question). I’m being treated for the lyme with Doxy (12 weeks now and still having knee issues) – should I be treated for Babesia at the same time or stop the doxy and then start on Mepron & Zithromax, for example (as I know you are unable to suggest without seeing me in person). Thank you in advance for your opinion…. I need to be smarter than my doctors because they do not know…. admittedly. 🙂

        • Dr. Daniel Cameron
          07/15/2018 (5:40 pm)
          Reply

          We do not have tests to determine if tick borne illnesses resolve, yet. Your treatment plan will depend on the doctors assessment e.g. have other infections resolved.

  • Tammy Sullivan
    07/11/2018 (7:28 pm)
    Reply

    Dr. Cameron:
    I’ve asked this question to my pharmacists and others and can not seem to get a clear cut answer – Is it okay to use an infrared sauna while taking doxy?

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/12/2018 (3:16 am)
      Reply

      I do not know if the light from an infrared sauna can lead to a photosensitive reaction.

  • Colleen
    07/17/2018 (9:43 am)
    Reply

    My son and I were each bitten, him by an Ixodis larva or nymph, and me by an adult dog tick, 2 days ago, while vacationing in Long Island, NY. Far in country, we had no tweezers, and had to remove both ticks by hand, with some squeezing of tick bodies unavoidable. I think we got each out looking intact, in less than 24 hours, but worry that each tick body got squeezed during removal.
    Dr. Cameron, my question is: how soon can we test for tick-borne pathogens, and which tests would be best? Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/17/2018 (2:24 pm)
      Reply

      The tests will depend the clinical presentation. The tests should assess for other illnesses. The tests for Lyme disease often take 3 to 6 weeks and then may not become positive. The time for other tick borne illnesses is less clear. Your doctor may have to use clinical judgement.

  • Douglas Acker
    07/20/2018 (4:16 pm)
    Reply

    Dr Cameron, I am being treated for Babesia (Mepron / Zithromax). I started feeling better within ~9 hours of starting antibiotics. I also tested positive for Lyme. Initially I convinced my Dr to start the Babesia treatment before tests came back. All of the symptoms were a perfect fit including ultrasound of liver and spleen (enlarged). He agreed enough to prescribe the two drugs, but only 5 days initially. Now it is time to prescribe remaining treatment and he was prepared to only add 2 days. I explained most updated literature talks about individual clinical assessment to determine length of treatment. I also mentioned, per what you’ve written here, that the papers on the drug combo were written using a 10 day protocol. He is open minded and asked me to provide him links to the papers that show this. Can you provide me with supporting documentation that will satisfy a medical Dr so he doesn’t cut me short of a full recovery? I am doing better, last night and this morning first time in 5 days I haven’t had a fever. Still have headaches (less severe). I just want a full recovery.


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