CDC: Tick, Mosquito-Borne Infections Surge in US

CDC: Tick, Mosquito-Borne Infections Surge in US

The number of vector-borne illnesses in the us tripled from 2004 to 2016, rising to almost 650,000 cases, CDC researchers reported.

Overseas travel also is contributing to the increase, with travelers picking up insect-borne illnesses in other lands and bringing them back to the United States. These can be vectors for spreading pathogens (germs). His current projects include studying the tickets that spread Lyme and relapsing fever, and his overall focus is the evolution of infectious diseases in wild animals and how that translates into transmitting diseases to humans.

The annual number of reported cases increased from 27,388 to 96,075 over that time because of a variety of factors, including increased travel, a larger number of mosquito and ticks spread out over a wider area, the discovery of nine new pathogens, and the addition of several illnesses to the list of nationally notifiable vector-borne diseases.

Tickborne illnesses went from around 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016.

Climate change, although not explicitly mentioned in the report, is thought to be a major factor in the spread of vectorborne illnesses, especially Lyme disease, as ticks move northward into areas that were previously too cold for their survival.

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More than 642,000 cases of these illnesses were reported during the 13 years studied in the Vital Signs report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hoover over each state to see the disease cases for mosquitoes and ticks.

West Nile virus was the most common form of mosquito-borne illness, Petersen said, but there has been a recent "accelerating trend" of mosquito-borne disease being introduced to the USA, with West Nile in 1999, chikungunya in 2014, and Zika in 2016. "The threat of disease spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas are increasing".

"Vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Zika virus disease can devastate patients and their families, causing significant suffering", said Dr. Paul Auwaerter, president of the IDSA.

There are reasons to think the situation could continue getting worse, CDC director Robert Redfield said on a call with reporters Tuesday. Zika, which showed up in 2015 as part of its flash spread across the Americas, is now a permanent resident of Puerto Rico and causes sporadic outbreaks in Texas and Florida.

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The responsibility for detecting and responding to diseases spread by vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks is nearly all funded locally and operated by local and state health departments.

The CDC said it is likely that the 640,000 cases of bug-borne illnesses grossly understates the actual number of cases around the USA because many other cases are never diagnosed or treated properly. He added that increasing temperatures can expand the range of ticks further north.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) seconded that conclusion, calling for more federal funding of research into the development of new vaccines to battle these diseases.

"We understand that Congress and the administration have many hard choices to make", he said.

With added support, these agencies can better test for and track diseases and pests, train staff to conduct prevention and control activities, and educate the public on how to prevent bites, the researchers said.

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Taking steps to control mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas inside and outside your home, including using screens on windows and air conditioning when available.

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