With Summer coming around the corner the CDC and Prevention experts are urging people to beware of bugs.
A recent report revealed that diseases transmitted through the bites of blood-feeding Ticks, Mosquitoes, and Fleas are a “growing public health problem” in the United States, and this has been a growing issue for many years.
According to the Vital Signs Report by the CDC on May 2nd, Vector-Borne Diseases have more than tripled nationwide, from 27,388 cases reported in 2004 to 96,075 cases reported in 2016.
Dr. Lyle Petersen, an author for the report and Director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases commented, “It’s very important that the public is very aware that these are more than summertime nuisances — you can get very severe diseases from ticks and mosquitoes.”
These diseases he speaks of are Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and others. Petersen is concerned because he had West Nile Virus in 2003 due to a mosquito bite.
“I was sick at home in bed for more than a week with severe headaches and fever and skin rash and just feeling horrible. Then after that, it took me about three months to get back to normal. It was definitely something that ruined my summer.”
This is not something to take lightly, and Dr. Petersen is set out to make sure the public is aware of these diseases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Vector-Borne Diseases account for over 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700,000 deaths annually across the globe.
This new report, based on data from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System each year between 2004 and 2016, found 642,602 total cases of Vector-Borne Diseases through 16 different diseases.
Those diseases are as follows:
- Lyme Disease
- Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis
- Powassan Virus
- Dengue Viruses
- Zika Virus
- West Nile Virus
- Chikungunya Virus
- California Serogroup Viruses
- St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus
- Yellow Fever Virus
Tick-Borne Illnesses, which accounted for more than 75% of all Vector-Borne Disease reports, grew from 22,527 cases in 2004 to 48,610 cases reported in 2016.
Of those Tick-Borne Illnesses, Lyme Disease accounted for 82% of the cumulative amount reported.
Mosquito-Borne Diseases rose from 4,858 in 2004 to 47,461 in 2016.
However, there was a large spike in 2016 with 41,680 Zika virus cases reported.
Since 2004, there have been nine Vector-borne pathogens newly identified as concerns for the United States:
- Tick-borne viruses Heartland and Bourbon
- Lyme disease-causing Borrelia Miyamotoi and Borrelia Mayonii bacteria
- Two new Tick-borne Spotted Fever species
- Rickettsia Parkeri and Rickettsia 364D
- A newly recognized Tick-borne Ehrlichia Species
- The Mosquito-borne viruses Chikungunya and Zika
A concerning statement from CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, says, “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 US in recent years, making a lot of people sick. And we don’t know what will threaten Americans next.”
So, why is there such a traumatic increase?
In Dr. Petersen’s professional opinion,
“For the mosquito-borne diseases, like West Nile, Zika, and Chikungunya for example, one of the big problems is that people and goods are moving around the planet at ever-increasing rates and speed, and so basically any of these mosquito-borne diseases can be transmitted almost anywhere in the world in the matter of a day. Because of this increase in travel and trade, we have just an accelerating trend towards the importation of exotic mosquito-borne diseases.”
This does make reasonable sense, and if this really is what is going on then it will be hard to stop this growing issue.
The best measure to take is to do all you can do to eliminate the spread of diseases and not be bitten by harmful insects.
The CDC recommends an EPA-registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent to defend yourself from dangerous insect bites.