First record of locally acquired human babesiosis in Canada caused by Babesia duncani: a case report

First Published August 29, 2017

John D Scott

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this clinical assessment was to ascertain whether a 70-year-old Canadian patient, who had no history of out-of-country travel, had contracted a Babesia infection.

Methods: The adult human male developed constitutional symptoms, which included sweats, chills, and immobilizing fatigue, and was screened for human babesiosis. Subsequent testing included a complete Babesia panel that consisted of B. microti immunoflourescent antibody IgM and IgG, B. duncani immunofluorescent antibody IgM and IgG, Babesia PCR, and Babesia fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) test.

Results: Both the IgM serology and the molecular FISH RNA probe were positive for B. duncani; all tests for B. microti were negative. Based on clinical symptoms and laboratory tests, the patient was diagnosed with human babesiosis. Interestingly, the patient’s wife also was confirmed positive using serological and molecular testing.

Conclusions: This is the first report of a locally acquired case of human babesiosis in Canada caused by Babesia duncani. The geographical distribution of B. duncani in North America is much greater than previously anticipated, especially north of the Canada-United States border. Since the patient was bitten by a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, a carrier of multiple zoonotic pathogens, the author suggests that this tick species is a vector of B. duncani. Health-care providers must be aware that B. duncani is present in Canada, and poses a public health risk.

Keywords
Human babesiosis, Babesia duncani, case presentation, parasitemia, babesial piroplasm, Canada

Read full text

  1. H. Wingrave on said:

    My father had worked his way all across Canada as a farmhand after landing on the Eastern Canadian coast from The Netherlands for about three years before he came to UBC. He received his forestry degree from UBC in 1959. He worked all over Alberta and BC since receiving his degree. In 1989, he suffered a month-long hospitalization for haemolytic anemia, during which he almost died. They told me that this was a stress-induced illness caused from being very cruelly fired from a top position with CanFor, where he worked as one of the top foresters in fort St. James. His haemoglobin went down to 29, which amazed all the doctors and nurses who were aware of this in Royal Columbian Hospital. At age 65, he died of a brain astrocytoma in 1997. His cause of death was listed as cancer, not LD. After his death, I looked up Babesiosis symptoms in Taber’s Medical Dictionary. He had every single symptom listed.
    With his wife, who died of undiagnosed LD (abdominal cancer), he produced two children, one of whom was born with congenital LD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *