Ah summer. It’s that time of year when we head outside to make the most of every ray of sunshine. The only problem is, with all this time outside, you have to put up with all the bugs. And this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning everyone about bugs and the diseases they can spread.
The CDC has released a Vital Signs report stating that vector-born diseases have tripled in the US between 2004 and 2016. In short, 2004 saw just over 27,000 cases, while 2016 had over 96,000 cases of vector-borne diseases.
What are vector-born diseases? Vectors are blood-feeding bugs, such as ticks, mosquitos and other insects. These bugs can carry bacteria, viruses and parasites and transmit them to another host.
What sort of vector-borne illnesses are there? Lyme disease is a well-known problem, and it accounts for over 80 percent of diseases spread by ticks.
Diseases spread by mosquitos is also on the rise. In 2004, there were close to 5,000 cases reported. In 2016? Over 47,000. Part of this increase is due to the Zika virus, which can be devastating to unborn children.
But there are many more, including the West Nile virus, which has been prevalent in Texas.
Experts are trying to understand how vector-borne illnesses have tripled in so short a time. According to Dr. Lyle Petersen, author of the Vital Signs report, explains that mosquito-borne diseases may be on the rise because “people and goods are moving around the planet at ever-increasing rates and seed, and so basically any of these mosquito-borne diseases can be transmitted almost anywhere in the world in a matter of days.”