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A novel quantitative PCR detects Babesia infection in patients not identified by currently available non-nucleic acid amplification tests

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Microbiology, January 2017
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A novel quantitative PCR detects Babesia infection in patients not identified by currently available non-nucleic acid amplification tests
Published in
BMC Microbiology, January 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12866-017-0929-2
Pubmed ID

Lavoisier Akoolo, Samantha Schlachter, Rasel Khan, Laura Alter, Albert D. Rojtman, Kristine Gedroic, Purnima Bhanot, Nikhat Parveen


Ticks transmit Babesia microti, the causative agents of babesiosis in North America and Europe. Babesiosis is now endemic in Northeastern USA and affects people of all ages. Babesia species infect erythrocytes and can be transmitted through blood transfusion. Whole blood and blood products, which are not tested for Babesia, can cause transfusion-transmitted babesiosis (TTB) resulting in severe consequences in the immuno-compromised patients. The purpose of this study was epidemiological evaluation of babesiosis in a tick-infested state. We examined blood samples from 192 patients who visited clinics during the active tick-borne diseases season, using a newly developed qPCR assay that uses the specific molecular beacon probe. Due to the absence of clear symptomology, clinical laboratories did not test 131 samples by IFA, FISH or microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears. Babesia infection was detected in all age groups by FISH and microscopy; notably patients >40 years of age represented 64% of tested samples and 13% were younger patients. We tested all samples using qPCR and found that 38% were positive for Babesia. Of 28 samples that were positive by FISH, 27 (96%) were also positive by qPCR indicating high congruency between nucleic acid based tests. Interestingly, of 78 asymptomatic samples not tested by FISH, 22 were positive by our qPCR. Direct detection of Babesia relies upon microscopic examination of patient blood smears, which is labor intensive, difficult to scale up, requires specific expertise and is hence, often not performed. In fact, a clinical laboratory examined only 23 of 86 blood samples obtained from two different counties by microscopy. By considering individuals positive for Babesia infection when results from currently available microscopy, FISH or serological tests were positive, we found that our qPCR is highly sensitive (96.2%) and showed a specificity of 70.5% for Babesia. Robust qPCR using specific probes can be highly useful for efficient and appropriate diagnosis of babesiosis in patients in conjunction with conventional diagnostics, or as a stand-alone test, especially for donated blood screening. The use of a nucleic acid amplification test based screening of blood and blood products could prevent TTB.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 26 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Colombia 1 4%
Unknown 25 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 7 27%
Student > Ph. D. Student 4 15%
Student > Master 4 15%
Student > Postgraduate 3 12%
Student > Bachelor 2 8%
Other 2 8%
Unknown 4 15%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 7 27%
Chemistry 4 15%
Immunology and Microbiology 4 15%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 3 12%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 2 8%
Other 3 12%
Unknown 3 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 August 2019.
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Altmetric has tracked 21,005,902 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 22nd percentile – i.e., 22% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,017 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.0. This one is in the 38th percentile – i.e., 38% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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