My patient, Brittany's story was recently featured in the Animal Planet's "Monsters Inside Me." The producer told me he would shoot me a copy of the episode before it aired so I could correct mistakes. This did not happen. Brittany did not test positive for B. microti as stated; she tested positive for B. duncani, also known as WA1. This is the west coast species and not supposed to be here. One of my patient documents his experience with two Johns Hopkins infectious disease doctors on youtube, regarding his B. duncani infection. In his case, B. duncani was proved not only by an antibody test but also positive by gold standard RNA and DNA tests, FISH and PCR. The ID doctors did not know what he was talking about and one offered to call a psychiatrist.
Here is an interesting tidbit fro a study published by the American Society of Microbiology, Clinical Vaccine and Immunology, November 2010.
They looked at "clinical specimens," sera sent for diagnostic purposes and random sera of donated blood, from different geographic regions of the United States, including my state of Maryland in the years, 2008, 2009.
It turns out that B. duncani was widely distributed across the US. Seropositivity for B. duncani was 27% of clinical specimens and 2% of blood donor specimens. B. microti was found only in 0.4% of donor specimens. If my math is any good B. duncani was 500% more prevalent than B. microti nation-wide.
The potential ramification of these findings can be considered. Two percent of blood donors tested positive for exposure to B. duncani. Since blood donors are generally healthy people and other species of Babesia were not tested for - the percent of Americans exposed to Babesia could be a number much greater than 2%. The CDC recognizes that three other species of Babesia: CA1, MO1 and divergens can cause human disease in this country. And many LLMDS believe that numerous unknown Babesias may cause human disease. There are over 100 known species of Babesia associated with animal disease.
If 2% of Americans test positive for Babesia, then about 6 million Americans test positive. This number could be very conservative since is looks at healthy adults and does not include other species. Three additional species are recognized by the CDC : MO1, CA1 and B divergens to cause human disease in the US. And many LLMDS think scores of other Babesia species may be involved in human disease. Not unreasonable: over 100 species are known to cause animal disease.
If only a small fraction of Lyme patients test positive for Babesia, my experience, then one could guess that the number of Lyme infected individuals is 6 million times a larger number.
But I guess you already knew this.