Case Report

A case of babesiosis in a returning traveller

James W. Mac Donald, John A. Frean, John M. Ratabane, Bhavani Moodley, Karissa Mannaru, Guillaume E. Holz
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 39, No 1 | a588 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v39i1.588 | © 2024 James W. Mac Donald, John A. Frean, John M. Ratabane, Bhavani Moodley, Karissa Mannaru, Guillaume E. Holz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2023 | Published: 28 March 2024

About the author(s)

James W. Mac Donald, Department of Microbiology, Lancet Laboratories, Johannesburg,, South Africa
John A. Frean, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Wits Research Institute for Malaria, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
John M. Ratabane, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bhavani Moodley, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa
Karissa Mannaru, Department of Haematology, Lancet Laboratories, Johannesburg, South Africa
Guillaume E. Holz, Specialist Physician, Private Practice, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Human babesiosis data in Africa is scarce. The clinical presentation and parasite morphology mimics falciparum malaria infection. Diagnostic confirmation is informed by adequate history and communication with the laboratory to activate appropriate testing. This case report describes the course of a returning traveller with persisting symptoms that resolved on tailored antimicrobial therapy following prompt collaborative diagnosis.

Contribution: Case highlighting overlapping characteristics of Babesia and malaria infection, necessitating close clinical and laboratory correlation to confirm diagnosis.


Keywords

babesiosis; Babesia microti; South Africa; malaria; Plasmodium falciparum.

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