Gary P. Wormser, M.D., a physician-researcher at New York Medical College who is also chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center, first noticed the trend among patients he treats at the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center in Valhalla.
The number of reported cases of babesiosis has been rising steadily since the disease was first seen in 2001, according to the New York State Department of Health. Dr. Wormser was seeing it, too—an increase he characterized as a spike. With the backing of the medical center, he appeared on local news programs to warn the populace about the disease, which can lead to serious, debilitating illness or even death.
Symptoms include tiredness, loss of appetite, fever, drenching sweats, muscle aches and headache. Complications may result in liver problems, anemia and kidney failure. The illness may last from a few days to several months, and treatment with antibiotics has been proven effective. Anyone with what appears to be the flu during the summer months should see a doctor to be tested for the disease, which is spread by the same deer tick that causes Lyme disease.
For more than 30 years, New York Medical College researchers have played a leading role in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of many tick-borne disease, including babesiosis and Lyme. Our scientists are currently working to develop improved diagnostic tests and, in a truly ingenious approach, a vaccine for wildlife that carry the spirochete that causes Lyme disease.
Visit the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center website.