Tick, Tick, Boom Goes Babesiosis: Microbial Minutes

April 30, 2023

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?

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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.

Take-Away Points

  • 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.

Key Resources

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Author: Madeline Barron, Ph.D.

Madeline Barron, Ph.D.
Madeline Barron, Ph.D. is the Science Communications Specialist at ASM. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.