Illnesses spread by ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas more than tripled in the United States from 2004-2016, going from 27,388 reported cases to 96,075, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported yesterday. Preliminary 2017 case counts show 254 cases of Lyme disease were reported to IDPH a year ago, as well as 24 cases of ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis and 17 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - all increases over 2016.
Cases of tick-borne disease more than doubled, and accounted for more than three-quarters of all vector-borne disease, reported Ronald Rosenberg, ScD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues.
The most common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease. The goal, says Petersen, is to gain a better understanding of the growing burden of these illnesses in the U.S., such as Zika, Lyme disease, West Nile virus and more. Since 1990, IL has seen the number of human cases of tick-borne diseases rise tenfold, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and others. "And we don't know what will threaten Americans next", Redfield said.
Worse, as the CDC explains, "The reported data substantially underestimate disease occurrence", since many cases go unreported or misdiagnosed.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, CDC officials said the reasons behind the rise are complex and varied.
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Over 80 percent of pest control organizations lack the capacity to handle increasing rates of new disease carried by a growing population of infected mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Increased temperatures allow ticks to expand into new areas - and extended spring and fall seasons also extend the tick season, putting people at risk for longer. Scientists say that rising temperatures and increasing rainfall is influencing the spread of ticks and mosquitoes as well as their related illnesses.
"We are discovering indigenous diseases that have probably been here for a long time, and it's likely that trend will continue", says Rosenberg, who cites the tick-borne Heartland and Bourbon viruses as examples. Experts are investigating the role of climate change in the spread of these diseases. If a tick is carrying the Lyme disease virus, it has to stay attached to you for at least a day to transmit it, so feel your scalp, look in the folds of your body and get them off you and yours. "We appreciate Senator Schumer's advocacy", said Dr. Amler, "more funding to help educate the public and prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Lyme diseases would certainly be welcome".
"We are in the middle of a tick explosion", warned US Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer during a stop at Rockland Lake State Park on Wednesday.
Auwaerter acknowledges that climate change may be a factor. Overseas travel and commerce are also increasingly common, and someone infected with a mosquito-borne disease like Zika in one country can unknowingly transport it home.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects caused nearly 100,000 illnesses in 2017.