Experts Respond To CDC Reports of Insect-Related Illnesses Tripling
Illnesses from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With tick season here--the CDC even recently tweeted out a photo of a poppy seed muffin--five seeds of which are actually ticks--to promote awareness about tick bite prevention.
Marilyn O'Hara Ruiz and Dr. Michael Angarone both appeared on The 21st Show to address the issue.
Marilyn O'Hara Ruiz studies vector-borne illnesses spread by mosquitoes and ticks for the Department of Pathobiology in the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine.
She said one of her sons once went camping in Iowa. When he returned from his trip, he became very ill.
“It wasn’t ever seen, we never saw the tick, but we did see the bullseye rash," said Ruiz.
Ruiz said her son contracted Lyme Disease, a potentially deadly infection often caused by tick bites. Ruiz said he was fortunately treated and is now free of Lyme disease.
She referenced a photo that the CDC tweeted out to illustrate how small ticks can be.
Dr. Michael Angarone is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases for Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
He said it is unclear why reported illnesses have increased recently. But awareness may play a role in reporting mosquito and tick-related infections.
“When someone presents with a fever in the summer and they’ve been bitten by a tick or a mosquito, we look for these infections more-so than we did twenty years ago,” said Angarone.
He said previously unknown mosquito and tick-related pathogens are now starting to be identified.
The CDC reports that removing a tick less than 24 hours after being bitten can help prevent the deadly illness.