A 40 year old patient from Texas recently presented to my office with: fatigue, headache, crawling sensations, shooting ear pain, feeling hot, hearing loss, lack of endurance, poor sleep, sound sensitivity, brain fog, swelling of lymph nodes, irritability and other strange sounding symptoms.
She denies ever experiencing: night sweats, air hunger, fevers, depression, mood changes or tearfulness.
She had previously tested positive for Lyme antibodies.
This patient's Giemsa stained blood smear shows a high level of parasitemia. (High levels of Babesia in the blood).
Babesia antibodies were not present. Only B. microti and B. duncani tests are available. LabCorp is offering the B. duncani or WA1 antibody test again. Direct examination of freshly prepared stained blood smear remains the gold standard for the identification of the organisms. Other, high tech modalities may be limited, especially when the particular species is unknown. These other tests may include: PCR and FISH.
Some patterns of disease are frequently observed, but the disease as a whole, remains quite unpredictable.
A coinfection cannot be excluded based on history alone. On the flip side, a negative blood test does not exclude the presence of coinfection. In this case Babesia. All available Babesia tests are imperfect.
One of the many challenges.