Thursday, August 21, 2008

Babesia

I don't know if my comments about Bartonella are correct. But I am convinced Babesia is the real thing. Labcorp and Quest will only test for B. microti. Babesia duncati or W.A. is supposed to occur only on the west coast. My east cost patients test positive for this strain at IgeneX. Other strains may be pathogenic. We really don't know. There is no accurate test. Only acute disease is associated with positive blood smears. PCR is a nice idea but it only works if you know which strains you are testing for. The IgeneX FISH test only looks for microti strains as well. I look for malaria like symptoms: sweats, chills, flu like symptoms, fever and malaise which occur in a cyclical, undulating fashion. If severe Lyme patients without any of these symptoms fail to respond to treatment as expected anti-Babesial therapy frequently does the trick. The IDSA claims that the diagnosis requires a positive blood smear or PCR test in a patient with acute typical symptoms. The standard medical wisdom is that Babesia is generally a minor infection which the immune system readily clears in most cases without treatment. They seemed to have missed the boat on this one. I guess that doesn't shock anyone.

2 comments:

Avalon said...

I am very confused about Babesia. About 3 weeks after being diagnosed with Lyme, I was checked for co-infections, also through Quest. The Babesia came back positive. It was rechecked 2 weeks later.....same lab, result was " supposedly" negative. The doctor explained that if the Babesia was still existing, we should have seen a rise in the numbers. She feels that babs is "self-limiting" and therefore is not treating it.

I still have profound fatigue, sweats at the slightest exertion, headaches,etc.I had an original 4 week course of Ceftin, and just this week, started on a 2 week course of Doxy because of continuing symptoms.

Should the Babs be treated, or is it true that it self-limits?

Lyme report: Montgomery County, MD said...

Babesia is hard to predict. Acute Babesia can be very serious. Many Lyme patients have chronic Babesia. Acute Babesia should be treated with Zithro and Mepron. Changes in antibodies are not an accurate way to evaluate the illness. Your symptoms are typical of Babesia. You could get further testing with a blood smear, a PCR or a FISH test from IgeneX. None of these are reliable. From what I am hearing: treat. See a LLMD.