For the first time the CDC is reporting on flea, tick, and mosquito activity in a collective report and the numbers are alarming. In the last 13 years, these numbers have tripled. After logging a whopping 640,000 cases during this time, the CDC reports that in the year 2004 there were 27,388 but by 2016 there 96,075 in one year.
What are the Causes of the Increase in Disease?
What causes this hike in numbers? Most likely it’s the increase in the number of actual vectors that carry disease and the fact that the areas they exist in are growing. The CDC also reported 9 new bacteria that cause sickness through the bite of a mosquito or tick introduced or discovered in the United States during this 13 year period. You may remember from the outbreak of the Zika virus that international travel can factor greatly into the spread of disease as well.
Due to these factors, it’s no wonder that Independent UK is reporting a travel advisory for those traveling to the US.
Lyme disease instances are at least double, and mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika have been locally transmitted in several US states. Dengue Fever is up in the UK as well. The CDC warns that we are not completely prepared for the rising numbers and the possibilities that they hold, such as the reintroduction of yellow fever or malaria in the US.
Protection Starts With Awareness
There is no doubt that mosquitoes are already a battle for us in Florida so what do we do with this new information? The CDC emphasizes the need on the local level for monitoring of flea, tick, and mosquitoes, as well as monitoring cases of the diseases.
Dr. Lyle Peterson, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, tells News 4 of Jacksonville "It’s very important that the public is very aware that these are more than summertime nuisances — you can get very severe diseases from ticks and mosquitoes.” Dr. Peterson knows first hand how terrible one of these illnesses can be as he was struck down himself with West Nile Virus. He tells News 4 Jax that after more than a week of fighting the illness at home in bed, it took him another three months to feel himself again.
Dr. Myron Cohen, professor, and director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease at UNC-Chapel Hill also weighed in on the report. He called it “very important” about how vulnerable we can be to new quickly moving pathogens that are vector-borne. “Zika shows us the potential for an emerging pathogen that’s vector-borne to enter a population — like as it did in Puerto Rico and some of the other territories and a little bit in Florida — and kind of sweep through the population,” Cohen said. "So it shows how vulnerable we are if the vectors are there in sufficient concentration, and we have not seen the disease before in the population, it can be a fairly profound epidemic.”
As Floridians, we have experienced the sudden impact a newly introduced illness transmitted by mosquitoes can have on a community. At Mosquito Squad of Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra, we want to help you prepare and feel more comfortable in your knowledge of what is and what can happen regarding these illnesses. We also want to help you feel protected, and we believe our mosquito barrier treatments and mosquito misting systems are the best way to do that. Reports like this new one from the CDC let us know that keeping your home mosquito and tick free is no longer something we can take for granted. Let us help you create the best plan for your home. Let us help create peace of mind. Call us today.