Tick and mosquito-borne infections have been on the rise in the U.S. for the past few years, and this summer is going to be an exceptionally bad one, The New York Times is reporting. Best load up on bug repellent sooner rather than later, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The infectious disease industry calls diseases like Lyme Disease and Zika Virus – that is, diseases that you get through bites, as in bug bites – “vector-borne,” and boy they have been on the rise here in the States in the past few years, says Dr. Lyle R. Petersen.
“The numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels.”
Which diseases, you may ask? Well there’s the old bugaboo Lyme Disease, which is fatal in one out of ten patients, according to Shea Medical, and which you can get from ticks that can be found just about anywhere in the continental U.S. Then there’s the Heartland Virus, which is also spread by ticks, which just became a thing in 2009 – so if you live in Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, or Tennessee, be on the lookout. Across the ocean a short way, in Puerto Rico (which, let’s face it, already has enough on its plate), there’s the Zika Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes and which, so far anyway, has not killed anyone in the U.S., but has sickened thousands.
Diseases from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas have tripled in the past 13 years, CDC says. Lyme disease and Zika virus are among diseases. pic.twitter.com/Si73OqI0Iu
— Dr. Daniel Cameron (@DrDanielCameron) May 2, 2018
So what’s the reason for the startling increase in people in the U.S. getting sick from bug-borne diseases? A few things, actually. The weather has been warmer, which has led to an increase in the sheer numbers of insects. There’s also the fact that people are traveling more these days, carrying diseases with them. And of course, new diseases are showing up faster than the medical industry can develop vaccines for them – and that’s if Americans even vaccinate for them.
But enough about that: the more important question is, what should I do about it? And the answer is the old standby, bug spray. Specifically, bug sprays with the chemical DEET – buy a bunch and hose yourself and your children down with it every time you step outside this summer. To be extra safe, wear protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeve shirts, whenever possible.