Preventing tick exposure in vets and farmers

05 Sep 2020

Johnson, N., Phipps, P., Godbole, G., Hansford, K., Johnston, C., White, M., Medlock, J.

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Readers of Vet Record may have seen news reports of a rare case of human babesiosis in a resident from Devon (VR, 22/29 August 2020, vol 187, p 135). Babesiosis is indeed rare in people, although a case in Scotland has previously been documented1 and infection is usually associated with underlying immune deficiency or the absence of a spleen.

In the recent case, intraerythrocytic piriform (merozoite) and ring form (trophozoite) bodies were observed microscopically on Giemsa-stained thin blood smears prepared from EDTA blood from the patient. This indicated infection with Babesia, although the precise species was unclear.

As a result, the APHA was contacted to establish what the infecting species was. Morphologically, the piroplasms were suggestive of Babesia divergens and this was confirmed by detection of B divergens genomic DNA in a blood sample supplied to the APHA. B divergens is the cause of haemolytic anaemia in...