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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul




Atypical Presentation of Babesiosis With Neurological Manifestations as Well as Hematological Manifestations.


Venigalla T, Adekayode C, Doreswamy S, Al-Sudani H, Sekhar S
Cureus. 2022 Jul; 14(7):e26811.
PMID: 35971375.


Babesiosis is an infectious disease that is typically known to present with fevers, chills, and myalgias; and less commonly with anorexia, headache, nausea, and vomiting. The least common are shortness of breath, sore throat, neck stiffness, emotional lability, photophobia, and dark urine. Even more unusual are severe neurologic manifestations like altered mental status, motor deficits, and ataxia. We present two cases of patients, both in their seventies, with multiple comorbidities, who were admitted with similar symptoms of confusion/cognitive impairment, slurred speech, ataxia, fever, myalgias and chills, urinary frequency, and urgency, with no previous history of travel outside the country or tick bites. Both patients had extensive workup, which raised suspicion of hemolytic infections, especially babesiosis and malaria. Considering our patients had not traveled out of the country, we leaned more toward babesiosis. The patients were treated appropriately for babesiosis and were also empirically treated for Lyme's, anaplasmosis, along with Mycoplasma in the second patient. Following two days of treatment, cognition, as well as speech, improved dramatically. On outpatient follow-up, both patients had entirely resolved hemolysis, parasitic load, and neurological manifestations. During the literature review, neurologic manifestations, being associated with babesiosis, were found to be exceedingly rare but could be fatal if left undiagnosed. It is an infection that is associated with complete recovery on prompt diagnosis and treatment. It is pertinent to have a high suspicion of this disease, especially in endemic areas, such as the Northeast United States, even more so when seen with hematologic and neurologic manifestations.