Mosquito- and Tick-borne Diseases have Tripled
From 2004 to 2016, the number of cases of vector-borne diseases (diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) have tripled in the United States, from about 27,000 cases to more than 96,000. According to the reportby the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warmer weather may be to blame.
“Insect repellent clothing could be one step to reduce the dangers of insect borne diseases.”
A Changing Planet
“Where there are ticks, there comes diseases,” Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, tells Reuters. Neither Petersen nor the report say whether the data reflect the effects of climate change or global warming, The New York Timesreports.
Although the incidence of vector-borne diseases rose steadily since 2004, 2016 experienced a huge spike in mosquito-borne disease compared to previous years because of the appearance of Zika, with 41,680 cases alone that year.
Tick-borne illnesses went from around 22,000 in 2004 to more than 48,000 in 2016. Lyme disease is the most common sickness transmitted by ticks, accounting for more than 36,000 tickborne diseases in 2016.
These numbers likely far underestimate the true disease burden from these organisms, the report notes, because people don’t always seek care for the infections.
In response to these outbreaks, CDC Director Robert Redfield advocates for more support for “chronically underfunded” loca public health departments.