Tick, Mosquito-Borne Infections Surge in US — CDC

02 May, 2018, 01:44 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Tick mosquito-borne infections surge in United States CDC

"Where there are ticks, there comes diseases", said Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that disease cases from mosquito, tick and flea bites tripled in the US from 2004 to 2016.

These pests caused more than 96,000 cases of illness in 2016, up from roughly 27,388 in 2004 and part of a continuing increase in insect-borne diseases, CDC researchers said.

He cited a 2017 survey that found that "84% of vector control organizations report needing improvement in one or more of five core competencies", adding that they are looking to expand the number of prevention and control programs, as well as looking to rebuild comprehensive vector control programs.

The report offers the following conclusion: Vectorborne diseases are a large and growing public health problem in the United States, characterized by geographic specificity and frequent pathogen emergence and introduction. Unlike tick-borne diseases, which are not infectious, mosquito-borne diseases are.

"Zika, West Nile, Lyme and chikungunya - a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick or flea - have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick", CDC chief Robert Redfield said.

Tick-borne diseases are mainly found in the eastern continental United States and areas along the Pacific coast, the researchers said.

For their study, CDC scientists analyzed reports of 16 insect-borne diseases logged to the U.S. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System between 2004 and 2016. He said the organization advocates for federal investments in the research and development of new vaccines to prevent Zika, Lyme disease and other serious vector-borne diseases.

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The authors also noted there were nine vector-borne human diseases that were reported for the first time in the USA from 2004 to 2016. The data doesn't predict disease risk, just case counts. 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.

What's more, nine germs spread by these insects - including Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which spread by mosquitoes, and babesiosis, which spreads by ticks - were discovered or introduced to the USA during the study period, according to the report.

Warmer summer temperatures also tend to bring outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, Petersen said.

"Why the increase? Mosquitoes and ticks are moving into new areas nationwide", Robert Redfield, MD, director of the CDC said in a media telebriefing. Warmer weather has not only moved the tick population further north and expanded tick season, but hotter temperatures "make mosquitoes more infectious", which promotes outbreaks, he said.

"Zika funding helped prepare us for these types of diseases, but more funding is necessary", he said.

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.

Educate the public about how to prevent bites and control germs spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas in their communities.

Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin or use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

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