CDC: Dramatic Jump in Vector-Borne Disease from 2004

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Between 2004 and 2016, about 643,000 cases of 16 insect-borne illnesses were reported to the CDC - 27,000 a year in 2004, rising to 96,000 by 2016.

More than 640,000 patients came down with diseases transmitted by bites from the three types of insects were reported across the U.S. between 2004 and 2016, according to the analysis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Illnesses from mosquito, ticks and flea bites continue to impact our nation", and the threat of disease is increasing, Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, said in a news conference today (May 1).

Several factors are likely behind the increase, researchers said.

The CDC report also focuses on steps to help prevent illnesses spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas - so-called vector-borne diseases. In 2016, there were more than 47,000 mosquito-borne illnesses, largely due to Zika virus. In addition, during the study period, researchers identified seven tick-borne diseases that could infect people and that were either newly discovered or newly introduced to the USA, the report said.

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

The Lone Star tick, which has been expanding its range throughout Suffolk County, is a native of Southern U.S. states, but shorter winters and longer warm seasons have allowed the tick to firmly establish itself here, infectious disease experts at Stony Brook University said at a symposium on tick-borne illnesses two weeks ago.

"Many of these diseases are sensitive to temperatures", Dr. Peterson said.

These diseases are found throughout the USA and are resistant to control.

Here's a chart showing the overall rise in cases.

Tick-borne diseases like Lyme and ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis more than doubled in the 13-year span of this report.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas.

West Nile virus, the major mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States, can be found widely distributed across the country. 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.

Though rare, plague was the most common disease resulting from the bite of an infected flea.

"Lyme disease accounted for 82 percent of all tick-borne disease reports during 2004-2016", the CDC team wrote in their report.

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. "It will take all of us working together to prevent and control diseases" from these insects, he said.

And new infections can arrive at any moment.

Paul Auwaerterhead of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, called for more research money for diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for the diseases. While Petersen noted that tick-borne diseases are going up steadily, with an increase in cases every single year, he described mosquito-borne diseases as more "episodic", going up and down over time.

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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