Alarm sounded over tick-borne parasite that infects red blood cells

As the weather warms up, there’s a new warning about the big threat from ticks.

The same tick that causes Lyme disease is now spreading more cases of “babeseosis”.

Babeseosis is a parasite that infects red blood cells.

It’s showing up more in three Northeast states, but New York has the most cases right now.

“People over the age of 50 can get very severe disease, and so it’s a problem for them, and then certainly people who are immunocompromised.” said Peter Krause, M.D. a senior research scientist with Yale School of Medicine. “We also look for typical symptoms which are fever, headache, chills, sweats.”

Krause says 20% of people can be asymptomatic.

Blood donations are now screened for the disease. Treatment is available. However, the best medicine is prevention.