New test, increased awareness, lead to uptick in Lyme disease cases

New test, increased awareness, lead to uptick in Lyme disease cases

MA is one of the states with the most reported cases of tick-borne diseases - some 50,234 - from 2004 through 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reported cases of what are called vector-borne diseases have more than tripled nationwide, growing from 27,388 cases reported in 2004 to a whopping 96,075 cases reported in 2016, according to the new Vital Signs report published by the CDC on Tuesday.

State health department statistics show Zika cases went from 41 in 2016, down to just 4 in 2017. The report also found that nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks have been discovered or introduced since 2004.

Ticks, which transmit most of the diseases spread by organisms, are gaining ground in the United States. And in a warmer climate, like Houston's, we're already seeing mosquitoes. The CDC says diseases like Lyme, Zika and West Nile are on the rise because of warmer weather in spring and fall, which extends the life of bug populations. Although rare, plague was the most common disease resulting from the bite of an infected flea. Diseases spread by ticks alone have more than doubled, according to the report. Endemic plague, transmitted mostly in the rural southwestern United States, did not exceed 17 cases in a year.

If you find a tick, remove it with a slow, steady pull to completely remove the mouthparts from the skin. But since only one in eight to 10 cases are reported to public health authorities, there may be hundreds of actual, additional cases, according to Galanis.

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"Our Nation's first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases", Redfield said.

"Every indication is that we're going to have lots of ticks this summer", she said.

If you spend much time outdoors, do not forget to organize yourself and your Pets the preventive check.

Dr. John Aucott, director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he is an internist and Lyme disease expert.

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