The CDC has released a new report about the upward surge in cases of tick, mosquito, and flea related illnesses in the United States. Minnesota has its very own spot in this report. The CDC logged 640,000 total cases of disease between 2004 and 2016 and of those, 26,886 were tick-borne cases in Minnesota. That puts us 7th highest in the US for tick-borne disease in this 13 year period.
Why Are Tick-Borne Diseases Spreading so Fast?
Federal officials claim this is a growing problem that local agencies are not completely equipped to handle. Warmer temperatures, humidity streaks, and international travel are all contributing factors.
The tick and mosquito populations in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs continue to rise, and they are spreading to new areas daily. As their habitats become suburban neighborhoods, the ticks and mosquitoes are in closer proximity to more humans all the time, making their ability to infect humans much easier.
New Germs Arrive with Travelers
Since 2004, nine new insect-borne germs have been introduced into the United States. Zika and chikungunya are two examples, and while they don’t exist in Minnesota now, the high number of mosquitoes that thrive here make the introduction of a new disease dangerous. Here in the Twin Cities, our booming international economy has no shortage of visitors from countries where these disease are more prevalent. If one did surface, it could likely spread rapidly.
The Return of the Plague
Fleas too are great at spreading disease. Most notably, fleas carry the plague. While cases are rare, there have been small outbreaks in Arizona and New Mexico in recent years. We do not have the plague here, but we want to protect against it.
Minnesota Does Well Tracking Tick and Mosquito Disease
David Neitzel, state vector-borne disease epidemiologist, tells the Star Tribune our disease numbers are high because we are more in tune with and aware of what’s going on in our state. “Our program … is one of the most active in the country in looking for mosquito- and tick-borne diseases,” he said. “But really, while we all love our state here, it is one of the higher risk states,” he says. You can keep up with stats on the Minnesota Department of Health’s Vectorborne Disease page.
Tick numbers were strong heading into winter, and now that spring is here they will begin to appear rapidly as will mosquitoes and fleas. As we read about the CDC’s report of three times the presence of vector-borne disease we have to focus on our individual responsibilities for prevention. Keeping the population of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes down or better yet nonexistent at our own homes is a vital step we can all take.
Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities would like to do the brunt of the work for you. Our barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes and adult ticks on contact. We offer specialized tick control packages for additional long-term tick reduction and we can also add flea control to your treatment package to keep fleas at bay too! Sign up for the entire season for an automatic treatment every 2-3 weeks to keep these dangerous pests reduced all summer long.
Vector-borne illness is apparently a big and growing problem in our country, but every little step can create change in a positive direction. Call us today and help be a part of that change.