Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

US Officials Report Record Number of Tick Diseases

Female Lone Star Tick Female Lone Star Tick
Celia Hoffman | 17 November, 2018, 23:10

Working group chair John Aucott, MD, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of its Lyme disease research center, said the report represents the first step in bringing together all relevant stakeholders to develop solutions to a critical and growing public health problem. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that in 2017, state and local health departments reported a record number of cases of illnesses spread by ticks.Cases of Lyme disease, Powassan virus; spotted fever rickettsiosis, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and tularemia all increased past year.

In a press release, HHS said the group recommends a multi-pronged response to address diseases that affects more than 300,000 Americans each year, with cases doubling since 2004. Researchers also discovered seven new tickborne pathogens that infect people.What's behind the increase?Scientists say the reason for surge in tickborne diseases is unclear.

'Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya - a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea - have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick, ' said CDC director Robert Redfield.

The Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, a federal advisory committee established by Congress in the 21 Century Cures Act, issued its first report today.

New reports estimate that every state in the USA has seen cases of Lyme disease. In my home state of Rhode Island, where winters have gotten warmer and shorter, these tiny, sesame seed-sized insects have more time to bite humans and spread Lyme disease. Tick season used to be relegated to summer; it now spans spring and autumn.

This increase follows an accelerating trend of tickborne diseases reported in the United States.

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"This report is an important first step in bringing together all relevant stakeholders to develop solutions to this critical - and growing - public health problem in the USA today", said Working Group Chair John N. Aucott, M.D., associate professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center.

The new figures come six months after another CDC report showed the rate of tick-borne diseases reported in the USA had tripled between 2004 and 2016.

The report details how federal funding is lacking, especially given the number of Lyme disease cases compared with other infectious diseases.

Other factors leading to the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika include global travel, the CDC said.

'Vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Zika virus disease can devastate patients and their families, causing significant suffering, ' he said.

'We are also investigating how climate change may impact the spread of vector-borne diseases so that we can take appropriate actions to protect public health'.

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