Affecting humans

This Scary New Report Shows How Unprepared We Are to Fight Tick- and Mosquito-Borne Diseases, MotherJones.com, May 4, 2018William K. Reisen, an emeritus medical entomology professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis, points out that because insect control efforts are often funded by property taxes, sparsely populated areas are particularly hard hit. “For West Nile virus, some of the highest incidence is in the Dakotas—well, no one lives there hardly,” he says. “So it’s hard to get the money to control those mosquitoes.”

The federal government has stepped up its efforts in the last few years. In 2016, Congress authorized the CDC to use an additional $350 million to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus—the agency used some of that money the following year to launch five new research centers to study vector-borne diseases. Congress also established the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group in 2017. West Nile hospitalizations have cost nearly $800 million since 1999.

No one really knows exactly how much vector-borne illnesses cost the nation, because so many cases go unreported. But CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes told me the annual estimated cost for Lyme tests alone is about $492 million. Since 1999, he added, the costs associated with hospitalizing people sickened by West Nile are estimated at $778 million. Yet in 2018, the budget for CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases is less than $50 million, with $10.6 million of that dedicated to Lyme disease.

Are we ready for an epidemic this summer?, Washington Post, May 4, 2018The CDC’s key findings: The number of Americans infected with such diseases, including Zika, West Nile and Lyme, has more than tripled in a decade, jumping from about 30,000 cases a year in 2006 to almost 100,000 in 2016. This total includes nine types of infections never before seen in the United States, including Zika and chikungunya. Looking ahead, 80 percent of state and local health departments are not ready for the insect-borne threat we are facing in just a few weeks.

Diseases from tick, mosquito, flea bites have tripled, BizWomen, May 4, 2018Mosquitos, ticks and fleas are “vectors” that can spread pathogens like dengue, Zika, Lyme disease or plague through their bite. The CDC reported more than 640,000 cases of these diseases in the period studied as well as the introduction or discovery of nine new germs, including the first outbreaks of Zika and Chikungunya in the United States. Peterson, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said reforestation has led to an increase in the deer population and consequentially the population of deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease.

TICKBORNE DISEASES OF THE UNITED STATES: A Reference Manual for Health Care Providers, CDC, 2017Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia. Ticks are generally found near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They can’t jump or fly. Instead, they climb tall grasses or shrubs and wait for a potential host to brush against them. When this happens, they climb onto the host and seek a site for attachment.

53 Members Named to Serve on Working Group Subcommittees (Tick-borne Disease), HHS.gov, Feb 6, 2018The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the names of 53 individuals who have been selected to serve on one of six subcommittees of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (Working Group).

Deer-Targeted Methods: A Review of the Use of Topical Acaricides for the Control of Ticks on White-Tailed Deer, Journal of Integrated Pest Management, July 17, 2017White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann), are a major host for the adult stage of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, and lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum L. The resurging population of deer in the twentieth century is linked to the emergence of multiple tick-borne pathogens associated with these and other tick species, particularly Lyme disease. Acaricides and parasiticides have long been the principal method for controlling ticks on domestic livestock, applied either topically or orally. The use and development of oral ivermectin and the passive topical treatment deer feeding station called the 4-poster for the control of the blacklegged tick on white-tailed deer is reviewed.

A single tick bite could put you at risk for at least 6 different diseases, Business Insider, June 25, 2016The broad range of potential conditions means that doctors don’t even necessarily know what to look for. Even worse, “ticks can frequently be co-infected with more than one pathogen,” says Tokarz. That’s especially true in certain locations, like on Long Island. One bite could transmit both Lyme disease and babesiosis, conditions that would normally be treated quite differently.

CDC warns against ticks, Lyme disease, Washington Times, June 1, 2017Most of us know that ticks are small insects (arachnids) that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin of an animal or human – and feed on blood. When an infected tick bites a person or an animal, the tick’s saliva transmits infectious agents — bacteria, viruses, or parasites — that can cause illness. They include: Lyme disease bacteria, Babesia protozoa, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and other rickettsia, even encephalitis-causing viruses, and possibly Bartonella bacteria. While “back in the day,” tick bites were more of an annoyance, today a bite is much more likely to make you sick and can even change your life!

Senators seek status of Tick-borne Diseases Working Group, LymeDisease.org, April 20, 2017In a letter today to Health and Human Services Secretary Thomas E. Price, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) sought an update on efforts to form a Tick-Borne Disease Working Group as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. The Act requires HHS to support research related to tick-borne diseases and to establish a working group comprised of representatives of federal agencies, physicians and researchers, as well as patients, their family members and organizations that advocate on patients’ behalf.

Beyond Lyme: New Tick-Borne Diseases On The Rise In U.S., NPR, March 11, 2017In the Midwest, you can find Heartland virus, a new Lyme-like disease and Bourbon virus — which is thought to be spread by ticks but hasn’t been proven yet. In the South, there’s Southern tick-associated rash illness. Out west, there’s a new type of spotted fever. And across a big swath of the country, there’s a disease called ehrlichiosis.

WILDLIFE DISEASES AND HUMANS, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Diseases of wildlife can cause significant illness and death to individual animals and can significantly affect wildlife populations. Wildlife species can also serve as natural hosts for certain diseases that affect humans (zoonoses). The disease agents or parasites that cause these zoonotic diseases can be contracted from wildlife directly by bites or contamination, or indirectly through the bite of arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and mites that have previously fed on an infected animal. Humans have usually acquired diseases like Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease because they have spent time in optimal habitats of disease vectors and hosts.

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