First documentation of transfusion-associated babesiosis in Japan

T. Matsui, R. Inoue, K. Kajimoto, A. Tamekane, A. Okamura, Y. Katayama, M. Shimoyama, K. Chihara, A. Saito-Ito, M. Tsuji

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39 Scopus citations


A 40-year-old man received blood transfusion in December 1998 because of gastric bleeding from a peptic ulcer. One month later, he developed febrile hemolytic anemia. Administration of high doses of glucocorticoid significantly reduced the hemolysis, but did not cure the disease. To investigate the cause of the hemolysis, the patient was transferred to our hospital in May 1999. Giemsa-stained peripheral blood smears showed Babesia parasites in the red blood cells (RBC), and PCR analysis confirmed the presence of Babesia microti DNA. The parasitemia disappeared hematologically after 2 weeks of quinine and clindamycin therapy. However, parasite DNA was still detectable in the RBC. Although treatment with oral atovaquone was given for 2 weeks, parasitemia and febrile hemolysis recurred within a month after the last treatment. Fortunately, complete remission was obtained after a second 12-week course of therapy with quinine and clindamycin. PCR analysis revealed asymptomatic Babesia infection in one of eight samples from the original blood donor. The initial steroid therapy given to the patient without an accurate diagnosis seemed to have delayed augmentation of the specific antibodies (IgG) against Babesia microti, thus prolonging the parasitemia after the initial acute stage of babesiosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-634
Number of pages7
Journal[Rinshō ketsueki] The Japanese journal of clinical hematology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


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