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Pathogens, Volume 8, Issue 3 (September 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Persistent infection is a characteristic of babesiosis, a worldwide, emerging tick-borne disease [...] Read more. Persistent infection is a characteristic of babesiosis, a worldwide, emerging tick-borne disease caused by members of the genus Babesia. The persistence of Babesia infection in reservoir hosts increases the probability of transmission of these pathogens. Babesia microti, the major cause of human babesiosis, can asymptomatically infect immunocompetent individuals for up to two years. Infected blood donors may transmit the pathogen to another person through blood transfusion. Immunocompromised patients, including those with asplenia, HIV/AIDS, malignancy, or on immunosuppressive drugs, often experience severe disease that may relapse up to two years after treatment, despite anti-Babesia therapy. The health burden of persistent babesiosis can be minimized by the development of novel therapeutic and preventive measures, such as new antimicrobials, early detection methods, tick-avoidance, and blood donor screening.