Babesiosis. You either think I’m making that word up or maybe you’re very familiar with it. I have to admit prior to last week I had never heard of it. When it touches a family member, you learn very quickly how dangerous and frustrating this infection is.

Over the past few weeks my father-in-law had to be rushed to the emergency room, and it wasn't until many blood tests that this was revealed. He was at the brink of liver and kidney failure. He was in the ICU until Christmas morning when we was able to move to a general room. People often suffer with this without even knowing it until some of the more acute signs start appearing.

Babesiosis is one of many tick-borne illnesses we’ve become all to familiar with in Maine. In some instances, Lyme may be present as well. Either way this is a serious and potentially life threatening illness and needs to be treated.

Babesiosis occurs when a deer tick bites and causes the infection to enter the bloodstream. It then attacks the red blood cells and causes them to start breaking down. Treatment includes antibiotics, anti malaria drugs and sometimes even a blood transfusion.

You can have babesiosis and not even know it. Symptoms can be mild and mimic the flu. They can also include nausea, headache, bruising, yellowing of skin and even mood changes. Yes, mood changes. Left untreated it can cause low blood pressure, anemia, kidney and liver failure and even heart failure.

2020 - the year that keeps on giving. But knowledge is power and now you know more about an infection that may be affecting you or someone you love.

If you notice the symptoms in someone...act now!

Here is additional information about Babesiosis from the CDC.

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