Ticked off: America ’s quiet epidemic of tickborne diseases

For most of us, springtime marks the return of life to a dreary landscape, bringing birdsong, trees in bud, and daffodils in bloom. But if you work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coming of spring means the return of nasty diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes. The killjoys at CDC celebrated the end of winter with a bummer of a paper showing that infections spread by ticks doubled in the United States from 2004 to 2016. (Tick populations have exploded in recent decades, perhaps due to climate change and loss of biodiversity.) Lyme disease The most common infection spread by ticks in the US is Lyme disease. There were 19,804 confirmed cases of Lyme in 2004, compared to 36,429 in 2016. Because of incomplete testing and reporting, these numbers are almost certainly an underestimate. There may be as many as 329,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States every year. New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and Minnesota and Wisconsin account for 95% of reported cases. While Lyme disease may lead to fever, rash, meningitis, Bell’s palsy, and arthritis, it rarely kills. More worrisome are surges in deadly diseases spread by ticks, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. Other serious tickborne illnesses Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a misnomer. Although it occurs throughout much of the United States, including the Rocky Mountains, it is most common in southern Appalachia and the Ozarks; 60% of ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Health Infectious diseases Source Type: blogs

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