Health Care

Illnesses caused by ticks, mosquitoes, fleas have surged — CDC

Illnesses caused by ticks, mosquitoes, fleas have surged — CDC

After looking at data reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), the researchers found that tick-borne diseases made up over 75% of reports. He added that "a number of new germs spread through these bites have been introduced [in the report]-nine since 2004".

Hoover over each state to see the disease cases for mosquitoes and ticks. West Nile, dengue, and Zika accounted for the most mosquito-borne infections.

The only reportable illness spread by flea bites is plague, which is still relatively rare in the United States, causing between three and 17 cases each year during the study period, the report said.

"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. And we don't know what will threaten Americans next", Redfield said.

Some 96,075 diseases caused by such bites were reported in 2016, up from 27,388 in 2004, according to the CDC.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, CDC officials said the reasons behind the rise are complex and varied.

There were nine vector-borne human diseases that were reported for the first time in the USA from 2004 to 2016.

During that period, a total of more than 640,000 cases of these diseases were reported to the CDC.

The CDC warned that the US public health system is not fully prepared to fight back against bug-borne illnesses. 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.

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And the number of diseases those bugs spread is growing, too. The diseases they carry vary by region, and those regions are expanding. "And this isn't limited to the typical tick hotspot states". For example, almost 14,000 mosquito-borne illnesses were reported in 2012 - the year of a large West Nile virus outbreak - up from just 4,300 cases reported the year before.

The CDC report also does not specifically mention climate change or global warming as factors.

When asked if the temperature increases were due to climate change, Petersen declined to comment, telling reporters, "that's the job of meteorologists".

The CDC report also focuses on steps to help prevent illnesses spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas - so-called vector-borne diseases.

According to the report, around 80% of state and local health departments and vector control organizations - what Redfield called the country's "first lines of defense" against vector-borne diseases - are unprepared to handle the increased burden of vector-borne diseases, lacking critical prevention and control capacities. Some of the same things that provide protection from sun also protect you from biting insects.

Wear long-sleeved 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".

Tick-borne diseases are mainly found in the eastern continental United States and areas along the Pacific coast, the researchers said. Parents should check their children for ticks.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, added that people also need to protect themselves from mosquito and tick bites in the first place.


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