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CDC: U.S. not fully prepared for spread of West Nile, Lyme diseases

Posted at 9:20 PM, May 01, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a report on Tuesday that the number of people infected by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas has tripled from 2004 through 2016. 

And as the number of infections increase, the CDC says the US is not prepared to reverse the trend. 

According to CDC figures, 27,388 cases of disease from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas were reported in 2004. In 2016, that number had increased to 96,075. 

“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,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Our Nation’s first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases.”

The CDC said that the most common mosquito-borne viruses were West Nile, dengue and Zika.

Here are others facts the CDC provided: 

  • The number of reported tickborne diseases more than doubled in 13 years and accounted for more than 60 percent of all reported mosquito-borne, tickborne, and fleaborne disease cases. Diseases from ticks vary from region to region across the U.S. and those regions are expanding.
  • From 2004 through 2016, seven new germs spread through the bite of an infected tick were discovered or recognized in the U.S. as being able to infect people.
  • Reducing the spread of these diseases and responding to outbreaks effectively will require additional capacity at the state and local level for tracking, diagnosing, and reporting cases; controlling mosquitoes and ticks; and preventing new infections; and for the public and private sector to develop new diagnostic and vector control tools.

“The data show that we’re seeing a steady increase and spread of tickborne diseases, and an accelerating trend of mosquito-borne diseases introduced from other parts of the world,” said Lyle Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “We need to support state and local health agencies responsible for detecting and responding to these diseases and controlling the mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas that spread them.”