Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for many people. However, the warm temperatures do not only bring good things. This is how the population of ticks increases, sometimes transmitting diseases. In addition to the well-known Lyme disease and TBE, the parasites are also carriers of babesiosis, which affects humans and animals and can even be fatal.
Babesiosis – rare infectious disease caused by tick bite
Babesiosis occurs in dogs and humans. Protect yourself. Your loved ones from tick bites.
Until a few decades ago, babesiosis was known only as a disease of domestic and farm animals. Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly important in humans and occurs v. a. in some regions of the USA. In Europe, only 60 cases have been documented since the 1950s, although experts suspect a high number of unreported cases.
Babesiosis is caused by hematoprotozoa of the Babesia group. These are animal protozoa that infect the blood cells. In the case of babesiosis, the red blood cells that s. g. Erythrocytes, affected.
The Transmission of babesiosis happens mostly through Ticks of the subfamily Ixodidae (shield ticks). In rare cases, infection has occurred after infection via administered Blood products (z. B. blood transfusions) and about the Placenta during pregnancy or during birth on the child.
Babesiosis in humans
The symptoms, course and severity of babesiosis depend on many factors. So they differ depending on the exact pathogen. Especially from the condition of the patient. Here, the age, previous illnesses and the performance of the immune system have an effect on the disease.
Due to the main route of transmission by the tick, babesiosis occurs mainly during the summer. The time between infection and the onset of the first symptoms, the Incubation period, Has a wide range from 5 to 33 days. If transmission occurs through the mother to the unborn child or newborn, the incubation period is between 3 and 6 weeks.
Symptoms of babesiosis in humans
The symptoms of babesiosis in a mild course resemble a cold. Those affected have a slight fever, headache and pain in the limbs.
Persons without previous illnesses and with a properly functioning immune system usually have only mild symptoms or do not show any abnormalities after infection with Babesia. If symptoms occur, they resemble a flu-like infection  with:
– slight fever – fatigue – aching limbs
For the elderly and people with a weakened immune system it can come to a serious manifestation. Here the clinical picture then resembles an acute malaria with:
– high fever – anemia caused by destruction of the red blood cells (med. Yellowing of the skin. Mucous membranes (med. icterus) – a functional impairment of the kidneys and lungs
In these extreme courses there is potentially life threatening with a mortality rate depending on the exact pathogen of ca. 6.5%  to 42%  .
Treatment of babesiosis in humans
In the case of a mild course of babesiosis, rest and physical protection help.
In the case of an mild course the babesiosis usually heals by itself again. Medical treatment is not necessary. General measures such as rest, physical protection and the intake of medication to combat pain and reduce fever alleviate the symptoms if necessary. If it comes to severe courses an in-patient treatment in the hospital is necessary, whereby it comes partially to a care in intensive care units.
Preventing babesiosis in humans – prevention is the best therapy
To prevent infection with Babesia, it is important to protect against ticks. For this you wear best also in the summer a Long, closed clothing from light, bright materials. Anti-tick medication in the form of lotions or sprays to prevent tick bites complement the right clothing. Especially after spending time in forests and meadows, the entire dog should be cleaned Body searched for ticks are.
How to prevent a tick bite.
Ticks usually do not bite immediately. They still crawl around on the skin for a while. Because: you are looking for a suitable place. Often you are lucky and can remove the tick before it bites.
If the tick has already found a suitable place, it must be removed quickly. Because: The longer it sucks, the higher the probability that the pathogens are transmitted. For this purpose, you have several tools at your disposal: Tick forceps, tick tweezers or tick card work in a similar way.
How to remove a tick correctly.
Babesiosis in dogs
Ticks transmit the pathogens that are particularly dangerous for dogs.
Babesiosis is quite common in dogs. After an incubation period of 10 to 21 days, the symptoms appear, which are reminiscent of malaria in humans. The canine disease is therefore also called "canine malaria. Through a destruction of the red blood cells the disease is usually fatal if left untreated.
Symptoms of babesiosis in dogs
Dogs with babesiosis are often listless and lack appetite.
Typical is the episodic high fever. In addition comes:
– Loss of appetite – loss of weight – dullness – darkening of the urine – yellowish discoloration of the eyes and mucous membranes
If the animal survives the acute phase, there is occasionally a subsequent chronic course. In this case, the resilience of the animal decreases noticeably and there are regular episodes of fever on. Digestive problems such as diarrhea also occur with babesiosis. Respiratory problems and water retention are also part of the typical clinical picture of chronic babesiosis in dogs.
Babesiosis in dogs prevent
Therefore, it is also absolutely advisable in the dog to a "Tick bite" to prevent. Apply for this purpose special Tick collars, spot-ons or tick protection sprays at. Many products are reliable means of repelling ticks. Nevertheless, it is important to check your pet for ticks after a foray through meadows and forests. If a tick has made itself comfortable in your dog's fur, you can remove the parasite with light, light-colored Tick forceps, tick tweezers or a Tick hook Remove the same way you would in a human.
In Germany for dogs a vaccine against babesiosis approved. However, there is no general vaccination recommendation. Your veterinarian will advise you on prevention of the disease and general measures such as appropriate repellents and proper removal of ticks.
Treatment of babesiosis in dogs
An early treatment of babesiosis in dogs is crucial for the course of the disease. Untreated, the disease usually leads to death. If symptoms and behavioral abnormalities occur in the animal, the veterinarian should be consulted, who should be consulted after the Diagnosis by blood tests will initiate the appropriate drug therapy.
More information our reading tip: Ticks in dogs
Status as of: 17.03.2022
1: Vannier E, Krause PJ: Update on babesiosis. Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2009;2009:984568. DOI: 10.1155/2009/984568
2: White DJ, Talarico J, Chang HG, Birkhead GS, Heimberger T, Morse DL: Human babesiosis in New York State: Review of 139 hospitalized cases and analysis of prognostic factors. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Oct;158(19):2149-54. DOI: 10.1001/archinte.158.19.214
3: Hildebrandt A, Hunfeld KP. Human babesiosis – a rare but potentially dangerous zoonosis [Human babesiosis – a rare but potentially dangerous zoonosis]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr.