New test, increased awareness, lead to uptick in Lyme disease cases

Diseases Spread By Insects Have More Than Tripled, CDC Says

Researchers at the University of IL will identify the ticks submitted through the program and analyze the data to figure out when and where disease-carrying ticks are most common.

A total of 642,602 cases from 16 diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas were reported by the CDC during 2004-2016. In 2016, more than 96,000 were.

For example, Aedes aegypti - the mosquito most responsible for transmitting Zika - has now expanded its range into as many as 38 states, the report found.

And believe it or not, it's probably even worse than that, according to Dr. Lyle Peterson, the report's lead author. In the USA, the most common vector-borne pathogens are transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes.

Ticks, the carriers of Lyme disease, seem to be the most risky - accounting for 63 percent of the reported illnesses. "I knew how many cases we had, but seeing it all put together in the report made me realize that the tick that transmits Lyme disease, Ixodes scapularis, is really the most important vector in diseases in the United States today".

Between 2004 and 2016 nationwide, diseases from mosquito, tick and flea bites tripled to more than 640,000 cases, according to the study released Tuesday. Although most kinds of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some kinds of mosquitoes spread viruses that can cause disease.

To effectively reduce transmission and respond to future outbreaks, will require improvements in surveillance, diagnostics, reporting, and vector control, as well as new tools, including vaccines. The growing number and spread of these diseases pose an increasing risk in the United States. Redfield said a reason for the large increase is because mosquitoes and ticks are moving into new areas around the country in combination with more people traveling internationally.

A number of scientists have warned about the impact of climate change on these types of diseases, including Dr. Nitin Damle, the immediate past president of the American College of Physicians.

An infected tick must be attached to a person for more than 24 hours before it can transmit the infection to its bite victim. Many infections are not recognized or reported, so it is hard to truly estimate the overall burden and cost of these diseases.

Mosquito- and tick-borne illness season is coming - and it's not going to be pretty.

The report suggests that mosquito borne infections tended to occur in epidemics and rose from 4,858 in 2004 to 47,461 in 2016.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases like anaplasmosis include fever, rash, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Urban centers filled with retention ponds and storm drains that hold sitting water for a period of time can also create an environment that nurtures mosquitoes, Stone said. "West Nile virus was introduced to New York City around 1999", says Rosenberg.

"Zika shows us the potential for an emerging pathogen that's vector-borne to enter a population - like as it did in Puerto Rico and some of the other territories and a little bit in Florida - and kind of sweep through the population", Cohen said.

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