“Disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites tripled in the US from 2004 to 2016,” according to the CDC, with over 640,000 cases reported. They are blunt in their assessment that the U.S. is currently ill prepared to deal with vector borne diseases. State and local health departments, which the CDC notes are critical in controlling these diseases, are chronically underfunded.
Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, the agency’s director of vector-borne diseases, says that “the numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels,” and that “the real case numbers were undoubtedly far larger.” He explains there are several factors at play:
“Ticks thriving in regions previously too cold for them, and hot spells triggering outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. Other factors include expanded human travel, suburban reforestation and a dearth of new vaccines to stop outbreaks…A recent survey of mosquito control agencies found that 84 percent needed help with such basics as surveillance and testing for resistance to pesticides”
A handful of super fun tick-borne diseases: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Powassan virus, and Tularemia.
For the mosquito lovers, there’s Chikungunya, Dengue, Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Zika, and malaria.
As you should know from reading this blog, the best known disease caused by fleas: the Plague.