CDC: Illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites have tripled since 2004

FILE Ñ Aedes aegypti mosquitoes a breed that carries the Zika virus at the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionÕs Lab in San Juan Puerto Rico Feb. 24 2016. The number of people who get diseases transmitted by mosquito tick and flea bites has

Victor J. Blue The New York Times

"It will take all of us to prevent this", Dr. Redfield stressed.

Widespread and hard to control, diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites are major causes of sickness and death worldwide.

In 2016, the number of Lyme diseases reported for the United States was 36,429. Most reports of chikungunya, dengue and Zika - three diseases spread by Aedes mosquitoes - came from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa, researchers said, but the mainland U.S. also saw many cases, including locally transmitted cases of Zika in Florida and Texas.

And the number of reported cases in Vermont has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Specifically, the number if disease cases from ticks have doubled.

"The thing to remember is to wear your repellent, but also to remember West Nile is really the most common mosquito-borne virus we have here and the one we need to be most afraid of", Wesson said.

"Why the increase? Mosquitoes and ticks are moving into new areas nationwide", Robert Redfield, MD, director of the CDC said in a media telebriefing.

Dr. Paul Auwaerter, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said they are investigating how climate change influences the spread of vector-borne diseases in their goal to protect public health.

The CDC reported that vector-borne diseases from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas have more than tripled since 2004. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever accounted for 75% of what the CDC calls "vectorborne disease cases". The diseases they carry vary by region, and those regions are expanding.

Mosquitoes and ticks move germs into new areas of the United States, causing more people to be at risk.

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The CDC says Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases and in 2016, Vermont had the second highest rate of reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S.

Yet, even though Petersen himself explained in detail why warming temperatures are a major factor in the spread of insect-borne diseases, neither the CDC report nor its four-page summary document, nor the report's website make any mention whatsoever of this point.

How can state and local public health agencies help?

A comprehensive action plan includes preparing to kill mosquitoes and ticks at every life stage; control vectors using multiple types of methods; conduct pesticide-resistance testing; and use data to drive local decisions about vector control. Tick bites can be prevented by: - Wearing long pants, long sleeved shirt and shoes - Wearing a hat and tuck in hair - Using an insect repellent (preferably containing DEET) - Checking skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop "Only a minority of ticks carry infection".

It also provides simple recommendations for individuals, such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and trousers, and treating clothing and gear with permethrin (insecticides such as Nix). "Tuck your shirt into your trousers".

Also, wear repellent, check for ticks daily, and shower as soon as you get inside.

The CDC says because of under-reporting the real number is likely closer to 300,000.

Partnering with local and tribal health departments, industry, universities, and global groups to detect and respond to these diseases.

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