Piroplasmosis in Humans

Piroplasmosis Infections and Babesia in Dogs
Humans cannot contract Babesia from a dog
Piroplasmosis in Humans

When Babesia Inhabits Humans

Again, we want to stress that you cannot contract Babesia from your dog or any dog; however, you can contract other types of Babesia from ticks and humans in the same ways that dogs can contract canine strains of Babesia from ticks and dogs.  People in The U.S., Eurasia, and Australia have fallen victim to Babesia and have reported symptoms that mirror those of malaria, including chills and fever, low platelet counts and anemia, failure of organs, and even death. Piroplasmosis is difficult to detect. That’s why treatment should be administered in any case, as a precaution.

It seems that as people age, they are more vulnerable to Piroplasmosis: this according to a 2011 Massachusetts study that also found the number of cases to have increased in 2011 by 100 percent. As with dogs, the removal of the spleen and the suppression of the human immune system also contribute to the presentation of symptoms.

Murdoch University points to a Piroplasmosis case in which a man (56 years old) who suffered liver, bone, and kidney injuries in a vehicular accident – and who was hospitalized for four months – also developed a low platelet count, anemia, and liver dysfunction. Microscopic examination of the blood revealed what appeared to be malaria, but subsequent treatments were unsuccessful. The man died only 60 hours later, despite the fact that Piroplasmosis treatment was started. Unfortunately, it came too late. It was confirmed that he had suffered from Piroplasmosis, but what puzzled doctors was the fact that no cases of the disease had ever been documented on the continent of Australia. He had never had an unscreened blood transfusion. He had not traveled out of Australia or New Zealand (another country with no recorded cases) for more than 40 years. His son tested negative. So did his terrier, which was tested for curiosity’s sake, since canine Piroplasmosis and human Piroplasmosis are caused by two different strains of Babesia.

It is believed, with support from the Murdoch University case, that rodents hitching rides on ships and birds flying over seas are bringing ticks and the parasites they carry with them. It seems that no part of the world is immune.

At Cabinet Veterinaire, we feel passionate about building awareness of diseases like Piroplasmosis. We find that the public is largely unaware of how it is contracted, its symptoms, and its treatment. We also believe that both human and animal doctors need to increase the number of situations in which they test for Babesia, because lives being saved ultimately depends upon the willingness to do so.

Cabinet Veterinaire International would be glad to discuss the implications of Babesia and Piroplasmosis infection with you. Simply email us here or call us at 022 755 55 33.