When traveling outside the country, do you ever worry you’ll contract malaria? In the U.S., malaria was eliminated as a public health concern in 1949. Yet you can still get a malaria-like illness here called babesiosis.
Like malaria, babesiosis can cause chills, headaches, sweating, nausea, high fevers, and abdominal pain. If you’re elderly or have a weak immune system, it can even be fatal.
Babesiosis: To Treat or Not to Treat
Because of Michaela’s high fevers, Dr. McIntyre suspected she might have babesiosis. But—though she tested positive for early Lyme—she tested negative for co-infections, including babesiosis. Of course, as with Lyme, false negatives occur.
Since she no longer had symptoms, Dr. McIntyre didn’t want to treat her unless she knew she had it. Plus, let’s be honest. Michaela would have battled taking that bitter-tasting, fruity-smelling, neon-yellow nightmare.
But, if Michaela did have babesiosis, Dr. McIntyre didn’t want it to get worse.
Though she said it was optional, Dr. McIntyre suggested we test Michaela through IGeneX. That way, we would know for sure, one way or the other, whether to treat her for babesiosis.
“If it was your daughter, would you test her through IGeneX?”
Dr. McIntyre thought a moment and then said, “I would.”
My mom, who had already been paying for me and Michaela to see Dr. McIntyre, offered to pay for the tests.
The next day, I took Michaela to get her blood drawn and then FedExed the tubes to IGeneX in California.
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