Blood Transfusion Sickens 3 Patients in Virginia With Tick Disease

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, 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.

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