Tickborne disease that causes fevers, muscle pain, death on the rise in New England, CDC says

BOSTON — A tickborne disease that causes fevers, muscle pain and sometimes even death, is on the rise in New England.

Cases of babesiosis have been cropping up more frequently in the Northeast over the past several years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

All six New England states have seen endemic transmission of the disease. In each state, reported cases of babesiosis have increased since 2011. New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Wisconsin are also considered to have endemic transmission of the disease.

Fever, muscle and joint pain and headaches are the most common symptoms of the disease. In rare cases, the illness can even be fatal, says the CDC.

Some can also be asymptomatic to the disease and never know they are a carrier.

The increasing number of cases can pose a risk to the blood supply, according to the CDC. The disease is transmissible through blood transfusion and in those cases poses a higher risk of death than through tick bites.

“Persons spending time outdoors in states with endemic babesiosis should practice tick bite prevention, including wearing long pants, avoiding underbrush and long grass, and using tick repellents,” according to the CDC.

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