Connecticut Man Dies From Rare Tickborne Illness

Aug 23, 2017

A deer tick under a microscope.
Credit AP Photo/Victoria Arocho

A Connecticut man has died after he contracted a rare tick-borne illness. The state medical examiner says fifty-five year old Michael Yoder of New Milford died on August 8th of liver and kidney failure due to a serious case of babesiosis.

Yoder's wife, Wendy, tells The News-Times her husband had a stomach bug for weeks, but by the time he was diagnosed it was too late.

Like Lyme disease, babesiosis is caused by a single parasite. It can show flu-like symptoms. In severe cases, it can cause anemia that leads to organ failure. That’s what happened in this case, says Dr. Randall Nelson, with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

“Generally people who have the more severe manifestations, and certainly death being one of them, most patients have an underlying clinical issue.”

Nelson says the patient in this case did not have a spleen, and was at a higher risk than most people.

“Many people can be infected, not everyone gets ill, and not everyone who gets ill gets seriously ill. It is a treatable disease with anti-microbials.”  

The Connecticut Department of Public Health reports that the tick-borne illness caused one death in 2015 and another in 2016.