Tick-Borne Disease Babesiosis Spreads In Hudson Valley

Doctor: Symptoms Tend To Be Vague, Non-Specific

BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new disease in the spotlight along with Lyme disease and West Nile. It has health officials in the area on high alert.

Jacqueline Moore loves the outdoors even though it almost killed her.

“All my internal organs were starting to break down. My skin was turning yellow. My liver was breaking down,” Moore told CBS 2’s Josh Landis.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: Babesiosis Can Be Fatal

Moore didn’t know it, but she had a bad case of a tick-born disease called babesiosis.

“It was horrible. At home, it just started out with just lots of aches, and the fevers were terrible, exhaustion,” Jackie told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “Everyday, I would literally wake up twice as tired as I was the day before, and then, in the hospital, the headaches were severe.”

Babesiosis is caused by a parasite from the same ticks that spread Lyme disease, but unlike Lyme disease, there is no bull’s-eye rash to identify it.

It’s known in medical circles as the American form of malaria and deer are spreading it fast.

Dr. Julie Joseph of New York Medical College said it’s up 20-fold in some areas since 2001.

“Patients can present with fever, chills, muscle aches. The symptoms tend to be vague and non-specific,” Dr. Joseph said.

Moore said she was bitten by a tick while picking raspberries behind a stone wall. She was affected more than most patients because her spleen was removed years ago, compromising her immunity. She said everyone needs to be on guard.

You don’t need to avoid the outdoors altogether. After all, it’s spring. But if you find yourself in a wooded area or a place with lots of high grass, use bug spray on the areas that come in contact with grass or shrubs. It’s also a good idea, once you go back inside, to take a shower within two hours to wash off any potential creepy crawlies.

“There’s no reason for people to go crazy, but we want to make the public aware this disease is emerging,” Dr. Joseph said.

Moore said she now checks herself, her husband, two kids and dog religiously.

“If you know you get bit by a tick, mark the date on the calendar, look for the symptoms and find a good doctor to work with,” Moore said.

And if you have a fever or unexplained aches, call the doctor.

People in the city aren’t immune just because they’re surrounded by concrete. If you spend any time in nature at all, you need to make sure you check yourself for ticks.

According to a recent study, there were just six cases of Babesiosis in the lower Hudson Valley a decade ago.

That number has grown to well over 100 cases per year.

Does this have you concerned about warm-weather fun? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Sean Adams
  • Robin

    Someone in California did report getting Lyme disease from a dog tick. Perhaps we should never say never when it comes to the possibility of other ticks transmitting these diseases.

  • Mom in Oregon

    I got babesia, lyme disease and bartonella from a tick bite on Montauk point on Long Island, NY in 1990. To say its an ’emerging’ disease is amazing to me. Like others on here it took over 15 years to be diagnosed correctly. ‘Rod in’ has the most ignorant comment I have ever heard about ticks, my advice to everyone else is if you are bit by a tick and run a fever get to a doctor immediately to begin antibiotics for a minimum of 6 weeks so you don’t end up with chronic lyme disease and co-infections like so many of us.

  • Catherine Ritlaw

    You had better take this seriously! I lived in NYC and Ct. and became ill in 1972 with a “mysterious” infection. TWENTY NINE YEARS later, and after becoming seriously ill with a myriad of conditions, I found out I had undiagnosed Lyme and babesiosis both. Ten months of expensive treatment cured the babesiosis, but even 7 years of antibiotics did not cure the Lyme. I fight for my life every day.

    • Nancy

      Catherine – I just wrote to you regarding my boss. I put my name in but left out my e-mail address.

  • kendra

    what i wanted to know is do they jattack animals as in dogs and cats?

  • Henry

    Dog ticks don’t carry Lyme or Babesia. Nor do deer carry the diseases. MICE carry all of the tick borne diseases. Ticks hatch disease free, till they feed on mice in the early part of their life cycle. Articles like these never explain the life cycle because they must figure it’s over our heads. Tick Tubes by Damminix targets infected ticks, thankfully – so we can enjoy our yard.

  • Rod in

    I have about 3 ticks drop off of me per week. There’s no problem. This is just another conspiracy by the doctors to make to pay for their services. And pay for more fake medicine you don’t need. Just take herbs and you’ll be fine.

  • Miriam Matrangola

    My daughter has Babesiosis and we live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. This is not just a New York problem. Where there is Lyme disease, there are other diseases lurking.

    • Deb

      Miriam: Can you advise who you saw in Philadelphia. We live in South Jersey and my husband has been bitten by a number of ticks- last week he basically has all of the signs relating to one of these two diseases. Trying to find a good doctor in Philly to take hime to as no one here seems to have a clue….Thanks.

  • Thomas Calise

    In 2007 I was told I had Baberiosis after a second return to the hospital and seeing a infectious disease doctor. I have ITP, a white blood problem which they were treating me for and sent me home after 3 days, Only to return to fine a parasite in checking the blood again. Was told the tick could have bite me 4 month earlier when I was in Southern New Jersey. Never know I was bitten. Also was told that this disease was mostly in the Northeast. Only have one tree in my back yard on lake, but do have Deer crossing.

  • Sommelier

    Yeah, Victor, your inability to discern the difference between New York’s Hudson Valley and New York City displays a level of ignorance that makes it a very good idea if you keep away from our city. You”d probably step in front of a bus. Stay where the zip code is E-I-E-I-O.

    • Markj

      from article ¨People in the city aren’t immune just because they’re surrounded by concrete.¨

      …. close enough to NY, close enough. Chalk another disease that originated from NYC, or the greater NY Metro area.

  • Brian Allan

    There are three species of ticks in that picture. From top to bottom: American dog tick, lone star tick, black-legged tick (a.k.a. deer tick). All three are adult females.

    • mak

      So the bottom one is the tick that carries that this disease and the other two are not carriers? Or can each carry the disease?

  • MrPhilip Philip Philips

    Is that the same tick you find on dogs If so I hope they don’t come this way, We do have some here and they don’t pose a broblem to us right now. Here is a small remedy though you can use a sticky tape and border the area which you don’t want them to cross,keep one side of the sticky tape exposed and they will all end up stuck to it.

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