(FiveNation.com)- The CDC has released new research showing that babesiosis, a disease spread by ticks, has become endemic in some areas of New England.
The red blood cell parasitic illness initially discovered 50 years ago on Nantucket is now known to be widespread throughout New England. The number of reported cases of babesiosis increased by 25% between 2011 and 2019 in the states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Black-legged ticks are the vectors for this disease since they inject the parasites directly into the bloodstream of whoever they bite.
According to articles published in Science and on Connecticut Public Radio in January 2023, a rise in temperature of even a few degrees would lead to an increase in tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease.
People may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and weariness due to the parasites’ destruction of red blood cells, while others may show no signs of illness. Nevertheless, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that the parasite infection may be deadly for those who suffer from a more advanced condition.
The CDC received reports of 16,456 cases of babesiosis between 2011 and 2019 from 37 states; 98.2% of these cases were found in the ten states where the illness is currently declared endemic. Vermont recorded a 1,602% rise, Maine a 1,422% increase, and New Hampshire a 372% increase in incidence during this time.
The CDC has warned about the potential effect of the rising babesiosis rate on the nation’s blood supply since the illness may be spread via transfusions. Those who get babesiosis through tainted blood have been demonstrated to have much poorer health outcomes and a greater chance of mortality than those who acquire the illness from a tick bite.
Consequently, the FDA has advised screening blood donors in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning residents and visitors to the affected states to be on the lookout for symptoms of the illness and has also suggested that healthcare providers stress tick avoidance in their message.