Open J Public Health | Volume 6, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

Human Babesiosis Caused by Babesia odocoilei: Hiding Behind a Mask

Scott JD, Sajid MS , Kashif Hussain and Hina-tu-Zahra

1Upper Grand Tick Research Centre, 365 St. David Street South, Fergus, Canada 2Department of Parasitology, Molecular Parasitology and One Health Laboratory, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

*Correspondance to: John D Scott 

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Background: Human babesiosis is a tick-transmitted, zoonotic disease caused by a singlecelled, intraerythrocytic parasite of the genus Babesia. In North America, Babesia odocoilei is the predominant Babesia species, and has considerable medical and economic dysfunction. Sequestering Babesia spp. form occlusions and blockage in capillaries, and are recalcitrant to treat. Methods: This international human babesiosis study encompassed 113 participants from Canada and the USA. A professional phlebotomist drew blood from each participant. The human study protocol was approved by WCG IRB, an international ethical review board. Nucleic acid detection was used to carry out Babesia identification. Results: Since participants had been taking antibabesials before blood draw, nucleic acid detection of B. odocoilei was thwarted. Most participants had an array of clinical symptoms associated with human babesiosis. On the consent form, the most common symptoms were unrelenting fatigue, muscle or joint ache, sleep disturbance, brain fog, and slow/impaired cognition. Conclusion: Babesia odocoilei-infected I. scapularis are playing havoc with patients’ lives. The 18S rRNA gene is not stable when the patient has been on babesial treatment prior to blood draw. Nucleic acid detection results are unreliable when patients have previously taken antibabesials.


Human babesiosis; Intraerythrocytic parasite; Molecular identification; Babesia odocoilei; Zoonosis; Fibrin-bonding entanglements; Fibrolytics; Antibabesials; International study


Scott JD, Sajid MS, Kashif Hussain, Hina-tu-Zahra. Human Babesiosis Caused by Babesia odocoilei: Hiding Behind a Mask. Open J Public Health. 2024; 6(1): 1047.

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