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Human babesiosis was first recognized in Connecticut in 1989, nearly 15 years after
Lyme disease, a similarly transmitted spirochetosis, was detected in the state. To determine the seroprevalence for the babesial pathogen and whether it was recently introduced, we used an indirect immunofluorescence assay to test for Babesia microti antibody in 1,285 Connecticut residents. Four groups were studied: I, people seropositive for
Lyme disease, tested from 1986 to 1989; II, randomly selected outpatients tested in 1989; III, college students residing in Connecticut, tested from 1959 to 1989; and IV, healthy people without tick exposure or
Lyme disease, tested in 1989. Babesia seropositivity was significantly higher in group I (9.5%; n = 735) than in groups II (2.6%; n = 304, P less than 0.0001) and III (1.0%; n = 206, P less than 0.0001) but not group IV (2.5%, n = 40). Babesia seropositivity for group I ranged from 9.2 to 10.2% between 1986 and 1989, and Babesia seropositivity for group III ranged from 0% between 1959 and 1985 to 2.9% between 1986 and 1989. There is a considerable risk of babesial infection among residents of the Connecticut mainland who are seropositive for
Lyme disease, a risk that appears to have remained constant over the past 5 years.