State health officials react to increased bug bite illnesses


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

But experts like McLean also want people to focus on how to prevent a disease-filled insect bite.

This is the CDC's first summary collectively examining data trends for all nationally notifiable diseases caused by the bite of an infected flea, mosquito, or tick.

The dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses they're known to carry have been only rarely documented in the continental United States, with cases more commonly reported in USA territories like Puerto Rico. "And we don't know what will threaten Americans next", Redfield said. State and local health departments and vector control organizations are the nation's main defense against this increasing threat. West Nile virus is the most common virus spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States.

In 2004, the number of insect-borne illnesses reported to the CDC topped at 27,000 a year, rising to 96,000 by 2016. It is estimated by the CDC that around 3000,000 Americans suffer with Lyme disease each year but only around 35,000 cases are reported till date. The number of cases reported jumped 73 percent in just one year, between 2015 and 2016, which officials attributed to the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes.

The most common mosquito-borne viruses are West Nile, dengue, and Zika, while the most common disease resulting from the bite of an infected flea is the plague.

Most ticks do not carry disease and do not transmit disease unless they have been attached to skin for at least 24 hours.

Flooding, Severe Weather Possible
The precise magnitude and location of the most-severe weather remains questionable due to the evolution of storms overnight. Some storms could be severe, carrying the possibility of large hail, damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and heavy rainfall.

Mosquitoes and ticks - and the viruses they spread - are moving to new regions.

The report cited that increased overseas travels and commerce have contributed to the rise of infections caused by vector pathogens.

For instance, as the climate warms, mosquitoes may be able to move into new territories previously too cold for them. Lyme, which accounts for some four fifths of tick-borne disease, has doubled in the past decade. However, analysts say not all cases were reported, so it is hard to measure the overall cost and burden of these diseases.

The rise in tick-borne diseases and mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. could be in part due to the fact that more and more people now live in wooded environments and near lakes.

How can state and local public health agencies help? Anyone who develops a rash or other symptoms should visit their GP and explain that they have been bitten by a tick.

"Try to stay away from the underbrush because that's where those ticks are going to hang out", said Mike McLean, public information manager with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.