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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Babesia microti: an unusual travel-related disease

Elodie Poisnel1, Mikael Ebbo1, Yael Berda-Haddad2, Benoit Faucher3, Emmanuelle Bernit1, Bernard Carcy4, Renaud Piarroux3, Jean-Robert Harlé1 and Nicolas Schleinitz1*

Author Affiliations

1 Service de médecine interne, AP-HM, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille cedex 5, 13385, France

2 Laboratoire d’hématologie, AP-HM, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille cedex 5, 13385, France

3 Laboratoire de Parasitologie, AP-HM, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille cedex 5, 13385, France

4 Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire Université Montpellier I Faculté de Pharmacie, 15 Avenue Charles Flahault, Montpellier Cedex 5, 134093, France

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:99  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-99

Published: 22 February 2013



Human babesiosis is a rare tick-borne infectious disease. The clinical presentation ranges from an asymptomatic form to a life threatening infection with severe hemolysis. Human babesiosis due to Babesia microti is the most common and is endemic in North America.

Case presentation

We report a European patient with severe pancytopenia and reactive hemophagocytosis related to a Babesia microti infection. Babesia infection was acquired during a travel in the USA.


Babesiosis should be considered in patients who traveled in endemic areas, especially North America for the most common agent Babesia microti.

Babesiosis; Babesia microti; Hemophagocytosis; Travel-related diseases