Did You Know Nearly 90% of Lyme Disease Cases Go Unreported?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge

When most of us hear about, or read about Mosquito and tick-borne illnesses we don’t think about it, we just assume it can never happen to us or a member of our families. Unfortunately these diseases are considered “out of sight and out of mind” to many. Until you or someone close to you experiences the aftermath of being bitten by an infected mosquito or tick, we don’t take it seriously, this is exactly why  so many cases of mosquito and tick-borne illness go unreported, or misdiagnosed.

In our busy lives of juggling work, family and taking care of the housework we don’t always listen to cues our bodies are giving us to let us know when something is wrong. Mosquito-borne and tick-borne illnesses are on the rise in our country and unfortunately statistics are inaccurate in reading the numbers of actual cases that are diagnosed as such. Many cases go undiagnosed because the illness simply doesn’t display symptoms. Other cases of Mosquito and tick-borne illness are unreported because the sufferer thinks they have a “bug” or the flu, and upon a trip to the doctor the illness is  misdiagnosed according to the individuals display of symptoms.

Sources contend that up until 2003 a tracking system or reporting system did not exist for the Mosquito-borne West Nile Virus even though the illness exploded onto the scene in 1999 and has since spread like wildfire to 48 states so far. This reflects only one of many illnesses that are spread through mosquito and tick vectors. Imagine the multitude of infection that goes unreported due to the lack of accurate reporting agencies.

The Lyme disease national registry was formed to improve the tracking and documentation of Lyme disease. The CDC (Centers for disease control and prevention) reports the nationwide statistics for Lyme disease on an annual basis, with numbers that range from 20,000-24,000. According to the CDC however this number only reflects 10% of actual cases of those infected with the disease for the simple fact that many doctors just do not recognize the disease.  In some cases tests will come back either inconclusive or negative for Lyme disease, even when the patient indeed has the illness. Many groups are pushing for better testing and more recognition of the disease within the health care community. Lyme disease is widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

Even Malaria is miscalculated and goes unreported. Malaria is quite rare within the US but some cases have been reported, especially among those who travel to Malaria stricken regions of the world, according to Malaria.com

This information is quite frustrating. A very good friend contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever in 2006, and ignored the symptoms for three months. She experienced a myriad of symptoms but blamed them on something else. It was not until the illness verged on acute that she called the doctor. Don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. Pay close attention to what your body is saying and contact your doctor immediately.

Of course, arming yourself with knowledge and taking precautions to guard against coming into contact with a mosquito or tick it priority number one in the fight against mosquito and tick-borne illness. Here are a few helpful hints to keep these vectors of disease at bay…

1) Avoidance of heavily wooded areas, and areas where deer populations are high. Deer ticks are the main vectors of Lyme disease.

2) If you do plan an outdoor endeavor, wear proper clothing and check yourself as soon as possible. Wearing light-colored clothing will make it easier to detect a tick, and will also help ensure you remove it before it has bitten you.

3) Shower immediately upon returning home after being in woods, thickets, and areas with high grass.

4) Keep your property cut and free of debris and thick vegetation. Both ticks and mosquitoes love high grass and thick vegetation.

5) Inspect your yard and around your home regularly to make sure there is no areas of standing water. This included any vessel where moisture can accrue, including children’s toys, pots, planters and even the top of a soda can.

6) Keep your gutters clean and free of debris to deter mosquitoes from laying eggs in them.

7) Make sure to regularly check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks during the summer months.

8) Have your property treated by a licensed professional to kill and prevent mosquitoes and ticks on your property.

9) Most importantly, never ignore your body. Fever, headaches, chills, nausea, neck stiffness, lethargy and unexplained rash are symptoms of many mosquito and tick borne illnesses, just to name a few. Always contact your physician at the first sign that something may be wrong.

Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge agrees with the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We can kill and prevent mosquitoes and ticks on your property the entire season. Our safe and effective barrier sprays  along with our tick abatement can give you peace of mind all season.  Call today at (978) 381-4028.