Diseases from mosquito, tick, flea bites more than tripled from 2004 — CDC

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"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 United States in recent years, making a lot of people sick", said CDC director Robert Redfield.

"Lyme patients are treated in an outpatient setting, so outpatient disease is underreported to a certain extent", Petersen said, but added that even though all the cases are not reported, it's not necessary that every case is counted.

Most of the increase comes from the arrival of Zika virus in 2015 and from ticks.

Other factors leading to the spread of mosquito-borne diseases include worldwide travel, the CDC 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. This includes a doubling of diseases transmitted by ticks, which in turn accounted for 60 percent of all vector-borne diseases, he said.

Further, nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks have been discovered or introduced since 2004, seven of those in ticks alone. Puerto Rico experienced four dengue outbreaks, the worst hitting in 2010 and from 2012 to 2013.

The report, released Tuesday, shows that the number of reported cases of these diseases jumped from 27,388 cases in 2004 to more than 96,000 cases in 2016.


These include diseases like Zika, West Nile and Lyme disease. "Malaria and yellow fever are no longer transmitted in the United States but have the potential to be reintroduced". Neither Petersen nor the report say whether the data reflect the effects of climate change or global warming, The New York Times reports.

"Zika funding helped prepare us for these types of diseases, but more funding is necessary", he said. West Nile virus major outbreaks in the United States have all happened during heat waves.

Mosquito-borne infections are most likely to hit sunnier states and territories.

And new infections can arrive at any moment. Petersen said higher temperatures also raise the risk for mosquito-borne diseases. "With summer approaching, we know that we are vulnerable to disease spread by [these vectors]".

"There appears to be an accelerating trend", Petersen said. "Second, CDC is working with state and local health departments to build or rebuild comprehensive vector programs that have eroded over time", he said. They reported on data from the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Congress has provided some funding to fight vector-borne diseases - almost $37,000 in 2018.

The most common tick-borne diseases in 2016 were Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, a serious illness that infects white blood cells.


"We understand that Congress and the administration have many hard choices to make", he said. These can be vectors for spreading pathogens (germs).

Agencies can also train vector control staff on core competencies for conducting prevention and control activities. Plague cases did not go up.

Using a national database, researchers analyzed reported cases of 16 different vector-borne diseases (six tick-borne diseases, nine mosquito-borne diseases and one flea-borne disease), from 2004 to 2016.

Wear long-sleeve shirts and long trousers. "It's also advisable to apply a repellent such as permethrin to socks, boots, trousers and tents, to further repel ticks".

Take steps to control ticks and fleas on pets.

"After spending time in wooded areas or in parks, always make sure to inspect yourself and your family for ticks", Glatter continued.


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