Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Fleas: US Bug-Bite Illness Rates Triple

Hard to control and widespread, diseases from flea, mosquito, and tick bites are major causes of death and sickness worldwide. Except for the southernmost states in North America, mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall.

Lyme disease is the most common among all the tick-borne diseases and represents 80% of all the diseases transmitted by ticks. West Nile virus, also spread by mosquitoes, is widespread across the continental United States.

Over half of the 2016 cases of vector-borne diseases were spread by ticks, 82% of which were Lyme disease.

Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent.

Shirt with long sleeves, long trousers and a hat will protect your skin from insects.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or window and door screens.

If you live in a private house, in no case do not allow stagnant water: standing water becomes a haven for the hordes of mosquitoes.

He also urged the Congress to increase funding allocations for programs related to the surveillance and prevention of vector-borne illnesses, including research efforts about tick-borne infections. The only vector-bornedisease for which there is a vaccine is yellow fever, of which there was just one case in the entire study period in 2016. Travelers to areas with risk of those viruses should get vaccinated.

More jet travel from the tropics means that previously obscure viruses like dengue and Zika are moving long distances rapidly in human blood.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases like anaplasmosis include fever, rash, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. The report found that the nation needs to be better prepared to face this public health threat.

"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 nearly anywhere in the world in the matter of a day", he said. "Yet, 84 percent of local vector control organizations lack at least 1 of 5 core vector control competencies".

For most of these diseases, the only way to stop outbreaks is through mosquito control, which is expensive and rarely effective.

"Lyme patients are treated in an outpatient setting, so outpatient disease is underreported to a certain extent", Petersen said, but added that even though all the cases are not reported, it's not necessary that every case is counted.

Partnering with local and tribal health departments, industry, universities, and worldwide groups to detect and respond to diseases from mosquito.

  • Joanne Flowers