Tick, Tick, Boom Goes Babesiosis: Microbial Minutes
The incidence of the zoonotic tickborne disease, babesiosis, has increased in certain parts of the U.S. What is contributing to the spread of this emerging disease?
What's Hot in the Microbial Sciences?ASM presents Microbial Minutes, a video series of trending topics in the microbial sciences.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report demonstrating that the incidence of the zoonotic tickborne disease, babesiosis, has increased in certain states over the past decade. This is part of a broader increase in the incidence of tickborne diseases in the U.S. overall. Here, we discuss the data from the CDC report, potential factors promoting the spread of babesiosis and research on the development of vaccines and new treatments for the disease. Take-away points and key resources used in this Microbial Minutes are listed below.
- The incidence of babesiosis in northeastern parts of the U.S. has increased. The disease is now considered endemic in 3 states it wasn’t before.
- Factors driving the spread are unclear, though climate change and a growing deer population may play a role.
- Preventing tick bites is key for avoiding infection. Researchers are also exploring potential vaccines and new anti-babesia agents to prevent and treat this emerging disease.
- Al-Nazal H., et al. A vaccine for human babesiosis: prospects and feasibility. Trends in Parasitology. August 3, 2022.
- Anthes E. Lyme Isn’t the Only Tick Disease to Worry About in the Northeast, C.D.C Says. New York Times. March 16, 2023.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Babesiosis. Last reviewed August 5, 2022.
- Ji S., et al. Efficacy of the Antimalarial MMV390048 against Babesia Infection Reveals Phosphatidylinositol 4-Kinase as a Druggable Target for Babesiosis. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. August 4, 2022.
- Krause P.J. Human babesiosis. International Journal of Parasitology. January 29, 2019.
- Olson E. What is Babesiosis? A rare tick-borne disease is on the rise on the Northeast. NPR. March 17, 2023.
- Swanson M., et al. Trends in Reported Babesiosis Cases — United States, 2011–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. March 17, 2023.