Tickborne Diseases Are On the Rise. Is Climate Change to Blame?

Tick mosquito-borne infections surge in United States CDC

Vector-borne diseases more than triple in US, CDC says

ISTOCK, ANDRIANO_CZOver a little more than a decade, diseases from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas have tripled in the USA -from about 27,000 cases in 2004 to more than 96,000 in 2016.

Redfield, MD, said the growing public health problem will only worsen without "major improvement" in how local, state, and federal levels work together to track, report, and control the diseases.

In a partnership with the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, his lab also tests ticks from throughout the United States; people who have been bitten send the tick to his lab to determine what kind of tick it is and whether it's infected with Lyme.

Diseases transmitted by biting insects - ticks and mosquitoes in particular - have more than tripled in the United States over the past decade, a new federal government report shows.

The data include illnesses reported in the us states and territories.

The numbers of confirmed new transmissions jumped from just 27,000 in 2004 to more than 96,000 in 2016, the CDC said. This includes a doubling of diseases transmitted by ticks, which in turn accounted for 60 percent of all vector-borne diseases, he said.

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. Plus, new vectors, like a tick from Asia that was recently found in New Jersey for the first time, continue to appear and may bring new diseases.

"Nine new germs - seven of them spread by ticks - have been newly introduced or discovered in the United States since 2004", said Redfield.

"Among the diseases on the list that are caused by indigenous pathogens are Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi); West Nile, dengue and Zika virus diseases; plague (Yersinia pestis); and spotted fever rickettsioses", they wrote.

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The increases may be a result of climate change, with increased temperatures and shorter winters boosting populations of ticks, mosquitoes and other disease-carrying creatures known as "vectors".

For example, recent data from clinical and laboratory diagnoses estimate that Lyme disease infects about 300,000 Americans every year, which is eight to 10 times more than the number reported in the CDC analysis.

There are several factors behind the increase in these diseases, the researchers said.

Paul Auwaerterhead of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, called for more research money for diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for the diseases.

Warmer weather is an important cause of the surge in cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the lead author of a study in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "Like our patients, we are looking for answers, too".

Tick-borne diseases and mosquito-borne diseases also seem to follow different patterns.

Residents can also learn how to prevent bites and control germs spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas in their communities, including the use of insect repellent.

Find and remove ticks daily from family and pets. "Make sure to look in warm, hidden places including armpits, nape of the neck, your belly button, pubic areas and behind your knees".

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