As tick control experts we often have the unfortunate job of informing the public about newly discovered or newly arrived dangerous tick-borne diseases. Babesiosis, which is transmitted to humans by deer ticks, was on that list in the last few years as the number of cases began to climb and the danger of the parasite became evident. Luckily, today, we get to report some good news in the fight against tick-borne Babesiosis.
Improved Babesiosis Treatment in Central Mass
While currently treatable, Babesiosis patients have a high rate of relapse due to the parasite developing resistance. Scientists at Yale have discovered a combination therapy that has effectively cured Babesiosis in mice while also preventing recurrence. This discovery is very important as previous combination therapies were unsuccessful in targeting the enzyme that was allowing the parasite to cultivate resistance. Current treatments include a combination of Atovaquone and Azithromycin. The combination Yale has had success with is Atovaquone combined with ELQ-334. ELQ-334 works much like Atovaquone, but it targets a different enzyme for lowering risk of relapse. With the newly developed therapy, it is “nearly impossible for the parasite to develop resistance.”
As we have previously reported, Babesiosis in humans is on the rise in the northeastern United States. Massachusetts is part of a cluster of 7 states where 95% of the cases of Babesiosis were reported in 2013. According to pharmpro news, as much as 19% of ticks and 42% of mammals carrying Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) are co-infected with the B. microti parasite which causes Babesiosis. With the prevalence of Babesiosis on the rise in Central Massachusetts, news of better Babesiosis treatment couldn’t be more welcome.
We are committed to providing you the best most up-to-date information on the threat of tick-borne diseases in Central Mass. Stay tuned for the latest on ticks in the area. Be sure to follow the 6 C’s of tick control to make certain your yard is not inadvertently attracting ticks.