Monday, May 07, 2018

Tick-, flea- and mosquito-borne diseases tripled since 2004

Lone star tick. (Wikipedia photo)
Make sure to put on your bug spray before the family cookout this summer: Diseases spread by bites from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks tripled in the United States between 2004 and 2016, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those diseases include Lyme disease, West Nile virus, the plague, and Zika.

Lyle Petersen, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infections Diseases, said "The data show that we're seeing a steady increase and spread of tick-borne diseases, and an accelerating trend of mosquito-borne diseases introduced from other parts of the world," John Tomasic reports for Route Fifty.

In addition to the diseases they cause, bites from the lone star tick can trigger something weirder: an allergy to beef and pork, Zoya Teirstein reports for Grist. Because of global warming, the once-scarce tick has expanded its range to most of the eastern half of the U.S. Lone star ticks thrive in warm, humid environments, and with fewer days below freezing, they're able to stay active longer and breed more. Reforestation efforts may also contribute to the lone star tick's resurgence: they love to hitchhike on white-tailed deer, which are coming back because they have more room to roam.

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