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Test Code BABEPCR Babesia species, Molecular Detection, PCR, Blood

Important Note

Mayo test code LBAB

Useful For

An initial screening or confirmatory testing method for suspected babesiosis during the acute febrile stage of infection in patients from endemic areas, especially when Giemsa-stained peripheral blood smears do not reveal any organisms or the organism morphology is inconclusive.

Reporting Name

Babesia species, PCR, B

Specimen Type

Whole Blood EDTA


Advisory Information


This is a qualitative assay and the results are reported either as negative or positive for targeted Babesia species DNA.



Specimen Required


Container/Tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Volume: 1 mL


Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Whole Blood EDTA Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  7 days

Clinical Information

Babesiosis is a tick-transmitted zoonosis caused by intraerythrocytic protozoa in the genus Babesia. Babesia microti is responsible for the vast majority of human cases in the United States, with most cases occurring along the Northeast Coast and the upper Midwestern states. A small number of cases of B duncani human infection have also been reported along Pacific Coast states from Washington to northern California, and B divergens/B divergens-like strains have been detected in humans in Missouri (MO-1 strain), Kentucky, and Washington. In Europe, B divergens and B venatorum are the primary causes of human babesiosis.

 

Humans most commonly acquire infection through the bite of an infected tick. The most common tick vectors in the United States are Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus, while Ixodes ricinus and other ticks transmit the parasite in Europe and Asia. Less commonly, babesiosis may be acquired through blood transfusion and across the placenta from the mother to the fetus.

 

Most patients with babesiosis are asymptomatic or have only a self-limited mild flu-like illness, but some develop a severe illness that may result in death. Patient symptoms may include fever, chills, extreme fatigue, and severe anemia. The most severe cases occur in asplenic individuals and those over 50 years of age. Rare cases of chronic parasitemia, usually in immunocompromised patients, have been described.

 

Babesiosis is conventionally diagnosed through microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained thick and thin peripheral blood films looking for characteristic intraerythrocytic Babesia parasites. This method is relatively rapid, widely available, and capable of detecting (but not differentiating) human-infective Babesia species. It is also necessary for calculating the percentage of parasitemia which is used to predict prognosis, guide patient management, and monitor response to treatment. However, microscopic examination requires skilled microscopists and may be challenging in the setting of low parasitemia or prior drug therapy. Also, Babesia species may closely resemble those of Plasmodium falciparum.

 

The Mayo Clinic real-time PCR assay provides a rapid and more sensitive alternative to blood film examination for detection and differentiation of B microti, B duncani, and B divergens/B divergens-like parasites. It does not cross-react with malaria parasites.

Reference Values

Negative

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Saturday; Varies

Analytic Time

Same day/1 day

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Test Classification

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information

87798 x 3

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
LBAB Babesia species, PCR, B In Process

 

Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
36114 Babesia microti 21089-8
36115 Babesia duncani No LOINC Needed
36116 Babesia divergens/MO-1 No LOINC Needed

NY State Approved

Yes

Method Name

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)/DNA Probe Hybridization

Forms

If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request Form (T244) with the specimen (http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/it-mmfiles/microbiology_test_request_form.pdf).

Northwell Health Laboratories Additional Information:

Computer Interface Code

   PDM #  5909910