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September 19, 1977

Nantucket Fever: An Additional Case of Babesiosis

JAMA. 1977;238(12):1281-1282. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280130063022

BABESIOSIS, formerly a rarity in humans, can no longer be considered unusual. It now appears that this is a ubiquitous disorder that has been described as occurring on Nantucket Island, Martha's Vineyard, Shelter Island off the eastern coast of Long Island, and Montauk Point, the easternmost tip of Long Island. A recent editorial1 drew attention to this heretofore unusual infection, and the diagnosis in our patient was suggested by this description.

The clinical spectrum of the disease suggests malaria. It is characterized by fever, marked lethargy and malaise, myalgia, and occasionally dark urine. Importantly, the hematologic studies show a hemolytic anemia of a nonimmune variety; leukopenia is present. Additionally, it is quite common for the results of liver function studies to be abnormal.

Report of a Case  A 53-year-old housewife who had vacationed on Nantucket Island since the middle of June was seen on Aug 20, 1976, because of fever,