Babesiosis Hospitalizations Increased Over 7-Year Period in the US

A new CDC study shows that in comparison with state reporting data, the number of hospitalized patients with Babesia has increased “modestly” over a 7-year period.  Researchers performed this analysis in the United States during 2010–2016. The National Inpatient Sample database was used to characterize the epidemiology of Babesia–associated admissions, reflecting severe Babesia-related disease. Results showed that over a 7-year period, babesiosis was listed as either a primary or secondary diagnosis in a  total of 7,818 hospitalizations. Authors note that hospitalizations were seasonal with over 70% of cases occurring June-August. These cases were predominately situated  in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the US. Patients were also predominantly older men, and although severe illness was documented in more than 58% of patients, mortality rate was less than 2%.  

Authors state that there is uncertainty about increasing hospitalizations in general and question whether the demographics of those who are likely to require hospitalization for babesiosis is increasing, or whether greater awareness of babesiosis symptoms is contributing to increased hospitalizations and recognition of disease. 

The authors maintain that overall health burden, especially for patients at high risk for severe or fatal disease, remains a concern.

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