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(15,302 posts)
Mon Jun 10, 2024, 05:33 AM Jun 10

Once called Nantucket fever, this nasty tick-borne illness is on the rise

https://www.npr.org/sections/shots-health-news/2024/06/10/nx-s1-4992276/once-called-nantucket-fever-this-nasty-tick-borne-illness-is-on-the-rise

Once called Nantucket fever, this nasty tick-borne illness is on the rise

JUNE 10, 2024 5:00 AM ET
Allison Aubrey



Tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and babesiosis are spreading in the U.S.
Ladislav Kubeš/Getty Images


[...]

The first case of babesiosis in the U.S. was identified on Nantucket Island in 1969. The tick-borne parasitic disease is endemic in New England, and as deer ticks expand their range it’s now found from Virginia to Maine as well as the upper Midwest, from Michigan to Minnesota. The CDC points to a significant increase in incidence over the last decade.

Babesiosis can be treated with drugs, typically a seven to 10 days course of an antibiotic, azithromycin combined with atovaquone, which are both prescription medications. But, sometimes, this isn’t enough to kill off the parasite, and there’s a risk of relapse.

Now, researchers are launching a randomized, controlled clinical trial, slated to begin this month, to test whether the anti-malaria drug — tafenoquine — in combination with the other drugs already used, can speed up recovery and clear the parasite from patients’ bodies faster.

Most younger people who get infected after a tick bite have only mild illness. “A fever that can take a couple of days to a week or two to go away,” says Linden Hu, an infectious disease doctor at Tufts University. Some people have no symptoms. But some people over 50 as well as those with compromised immune systems can become very ill and end up in the hospital.

[...]

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