Three people in Virginia were infected with a rare tick-borne illness after receiving blood transfusions, the state Department of Health says.

The three patients have been diagnosed with an infection called babesiosis, a tick disease that carries malaria-like symptoms with it, WRIC.com in Richmond reported.

"Black leg" or deer ticks are the most common carriers of the disease in Virginia.

Health officials tracked the tainted blood to a donor from Charlottesville that is a frequent hiker. The illness can be deadly for someone with severe health issues.

Officials believe this is the first time a tick-borne infection has been passed through a blood tranfusion in Virginia. The health department said it is looking at ways to prevent this type of infection in the future.

Click here to read more on this story from WRIC.