What to Know
- Diseases spread by mosquito, tick and flea bites have tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, federal health officials say
- Between these years, more than 640,000 cases of diseases were reported
- Nine new germs spread by infected mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced in the country
Diseases spread by mosquito, tick and flea bites have tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, federal health officials say in a new report.
Between these years, more than 640,000 cases of diseases were reported and nine new germs spread by infected mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. In recent years, Chikungunya and Zika viruses caused outbreaks in the United States for the very first time.
Specifically, cases where diseases were spread due to tick bites have doubled, although mosquito-borne disease epidemics occur more frequently, according to the CDC.
A person who gets bitten by one of these insects can end up with a serious disease like dengue, Zika, Lyme or even plague.
New York and New Jersey are among the states that make up the top 20 percent of cases where diseases were spread by mosquitoes. Meanwhile, the tri-state makes up part of the top 20 percent of disease cases brought on by ticks.
According to the CDC, state and local health departments and vector control organizations are the nation’s main defense against the threat of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas spreading illnesses. However, 84 percent of local vector control organizations lack at least 1 of 5 core control and prevention capacities, such as pesticide resistance.
The CDC says that more proven and publicly accepted methods are needed to prevent and control the spread of diseases. The agency suggests building public health programs that test and track germs and the mosquitoes and fleas that spread them. Among its list of suggestions, the CDC also calls for universities to study the insects to understand how to control them, as well as to create and sustain information-sharing networks.
However, there are steps the public can take to prevent the spread of diseases brought on by mosquito, tick and flea bites, including using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirt and pants and control ticks and fleas on pets, among other suggestions.