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Babesia in the Blood Supply: Tickborne Parasite Transmitted via Transfusion

Image of an Ixodes scapularis tick on a fingertip. Credit: Graham Hickling, University of Tennessee.

In an article published in 2011 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, CDC and collaborators described 159 transfusion-associated Babesia microti cases that occurred during 1979–2009, most (77%) from 2000 to 2009. No Babesia test licensed by the Food and Drug Administration is available for screening prospective blood donors, who can feel fine despite being infected.

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