Michael Yoder, 55, died on Aug. 8 of liver and kidney failure that resulted from babesiosis, which is commonly contracted from infected deer ticks, according to the News-Times. Yoder was an avid gardener who regularly checked for ticks, but he began exhibiting signs of a stomach bug, and by the time he was diagnosed with babesiosis, it was too late, the News-Times reported.
Babesiosis is caused by a microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells, and can cause malaise, fatigue, fever, and eventually anemia and organ failure.
Health officials told the News-Times that human infections of babesiosis are most commonly caused by deer ticks, similar to Lyme disease, but can also be caused by blood transfusions from an infected donor. Cases of babesiosis are on the rise in Connecticut, which saw 74 cases in 2011 and 205 cases in 2014, according to the News-Times. However, fatal cases are rare, with just one death reported in 2015 and one in 2016, according to the News-Times.
Cases of the disease have increased in the greater Danbury area, with 55 cases confirmed by blood test this year, compared to 41 last year, according to the News-Times. New Milford has seen 13 cases this year so far, compared to eight last year, the News-Times reported.
For information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of babesiosis from the Centers for Disease Control, click here.
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