Tick Alert! No Relief in Site
Diseases caused by ticks are likely to increase according to the National Institute of Health
There has been an increase in the number of tickborne infections in the United States in the past ten years. Ticks can cause Lyme disease, which accounts for about 82% of all tickborne disease. It is carried by hard-bodied ticks that then feed on small animals such as white-footed mice, and larger animals, such as white-tailed deer.
More Lyme Disease Cases
A greater tick density and their expanding geographical range is causing an increase in Lyme disease. In the northeastern U.S., Lyme disease was reported in nearly 50% more counties in 2015 than in 1996.
Although most cases of Lyme disease are successfully treated with antibiotics, 10 to 20 % of patients report lingering symptoms after effective antimicrobial therapy.
POWV on the Rise
Tickborne virus infections are also increasing. For example, Powassan virus (POWV), causes a fever and illness with severe neurologic conditions which can be long-term or even death. Only 20 U.S. cases of POWV infection were reported before 2006; 99 cases were reported between 2006 and 2016.
How to Prevent Tick Bites
- Wear insect repellant
- Wear long pants when walking in the woods or working outdoors, and
- Check for ticks
Tickborne disease is underreported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually but they estimate it is 10 times that number.
A vaccine to protect against Lyme disease was previously developed, but was pulled from the market and is no longer available. Health officials are advocating for finding new treatments and developing preventive vaccines, public health officials and researchers may be able to stem the growing threat these diseases pose.
CI Paules, HD Marston, ME Bloom and AS Fauci. Tickborne Diseases — Confronting a Growing Threat. New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1807870(link is external) (2018).
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