Papers And Originals

Human babesiosis in ireland: Further observations and the medical significance of this infection

Br Med J 1969; 4 doi: (Published 27 December 1969) Cite this as: Br Med J 1969;4:768
  1. P. C. C. Garnham,
  2. Joseph Donnelly,
  3. Harry Hoogstraal,
  4. C. Cotton Kennedy,
  5. Gerald A. Walton


    Three splenectomized persons in Yugoslavia, California, and Ireland have been reported to be infected by three different Babesia species; two cases were fatal. In a study of the site where the fatal infection was contracted in Ireland, blood samples from 36 persons who had recently been bitten by ticks were inoculated into two splenectomized calves; no response to Babesia divergens was detected. Field-collected Ixodes ricinus ticks inoculated into another splenectomized calf resulted in fever and recovery of the agent of tick-borne fever (Cytoecetes phagocytophilia). This attempt to determine the presence of latent infection in human beings with intact spleens should be repeated on a larger scale in areas with a demonstrably high incidence of Babesia in ticks and animals. Few places in the world are free of piroplasms; their presence may present a hazard to splenectomized persons or to those whose splenic function is deficient.