Health Care

Babesiosis, tick-borne disease now endemic in Vermont

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The CDC says a relatively new tick-borne disease is now “endemic” in Vermont.

In other words, Babesiosis is in Vermont to stay. The Green Mountain State has seen the fastest rate of increase of any of the 10 states study, even though overall cases are still relatively low.

Transmission can also occur through blood transfusions, transplantation of organs from infected donors, or congenital (mother-to-child) transmission. Babesia infection can be asymptomatic or cause mild to severe illness that can be fatal. 

Overall, U.S. tickborne disease cases have increased 25%, from 40,795 reported in 2011 to 50,856 in 2019. Babesiosis trends were assessed in 10 states where babesiosis was reportable during 2011–2019. Incidence increased 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 two to 34 cases), Maine (1,422%, from nine to 138), New Hampshire (372%, from 13 to 78), and Connecticut (338%, from 74 to 328). 

Unlike the other seven states, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, were not included as states with endemic disease in previous CDC babesiosis surveillance summaries. These three states should now be considered to have endemic transmission comparable to that in other high-incidence states; they have consistently identified newly acquired cases every year during 2011–2019 and documented presence of Babesia microti in the associated tick vector. 

Because incidence in Northeastern states, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, is increasing, tick prevention messaging, provider education, and awareness of infection risk among travelers to these states should be emphasized, tge CDC said.

Babesiosis can cause illness ranging from asymptomatic or mild to severe; the disease can be fatal, particularly among persons who are immunocompromised or asplenic. Common symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain, and headache. In certain patients, severe complications can occur, including thrombocytopenia, renal failure, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Babesiosis can be treated using a combination of antimicrobial medications, such as azithromycin and atovaquone.

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 notifiable condition. Where babesiosis is reportable, cases are reported to CDC by state health departments.

Categories: Health Care

3 replies »

  1. Plum Island …what happened in the 1950’s when ‘tick disease’ started spreading from Long Island out and up to New England? Ticks were not even HERE until the 70s or 80s… ticks in and of themselves are harmless if horrifying blood suckers… all of a sudden… they started carrying diseases… hmmmm… something screwy in Whoville?

    Research Plum Island Animal Disease Center – DHS.

    This is an example of ‘going around’ international rules on biological weapons being developed by nations…we’ve been at it awhile. Of course, we’re not the only ones.

    Don’t let them scare you out of or away from Nature – there is an intention to disconnect you from your source and origins…why?
    And of course: who benefits?
    Follow the money.

  2. No one burns fields anymore. Not sure if that’s an impact but it’s gotta help. Tell me: why can’t science figure this tick issue out? We’ve got collars for dogs and cats but not people? I’d wear a people collar in a heartbeat. Ticks are a pain in the arse

  3. Tick-borne disease is at least as impacting on our society now as was/is COVID. We need to put more resources into seeking effective vaccines or prophylaxis. We were willing to completely turn our society upside down for 3 years for a flu-like but communicable illness…no reason why we can’t put a similar level of resources into tick-borne disease. Maybe if we spent a little less on putting illegal aliens through college and proposing to pay off the school loans for people with worthless degrees, we could allocate those resources?