How to Diagnose Babesia

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How to diagnose babesia by Marty Ross MD image.

Babesia is a coinfection found in Lyme disease. Like the Lyme germ, babesia is transmitted by a tick bite. When present it should be treated early in a Lyme disease treatment. Unfortunately the tests for diagnosing babesia are unreliable. Here are the steps I recommend for diagnosing this infection.

Don't Trust the Test

Testing includes antibody levels against babesia microti and babesia ducani. However there are estimated to be 15 to 20 strains. There also is a microscope exam using a flourescent agent which is attached to the babesia. This is called FISH (flourescent insitu hybridization) test. So like many LLMDs, I treat by symptoms and do not suggest testing.

Marty Ross MD Discusses How to Diagnose Babesia.

The recording is a Lyme Byte from Conversations with Marty Ross MD on March 26, 2014, when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, Washington.

Rely on the Symptoms

Symptoms of babesia are: night sweats, temperature fluctuations, panic anxiety attacks, frontal headaches, feeling off balance while walking, air hunger, racing or skipping of the heart, and regular de ja vu experiences.

Figuring out if a person has babesia as part of Lyme disease is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. If there are enough (but not all) of the signs or symptoms, treat for babesia. This requires herbal or prescription antimicrobial which are different than those for Lyme. For information on treating babesia see Kills Babesia: A Brief Guide.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

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About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice. 

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.

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