(St. Joseph, MO) As the weather begins to heat up more people are wanting to spend their free time outdoors, putting you at risk for coming into contact with tick and mosquitoes.
On May 1, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a Vital Signs report showing the growing risk of vector-borne diseases. The report showed the number of illnesses transmitted from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are growing at an alarming rate in the United States.
According to the CDC 80 percent of vector borne illnesses are caused by non-preventative measures. Disease like west nile virus, zika virus and lyme disease are
easily transmitted by insect bites. In 2016 there were over 90,000 cases of vector borne disease in the United States alone.
Dr. Scott Folk, an infectious disease specialist at Mosaic Life Care has been studying insect bites for years.
“Not only has the number of tick borne illnesses gone up, but the variety of those tick borne infections has also increased,” Folk said. “Here in the US for the twelve
years between 2004 and 2016 the number of some of these vector borne
illnesses have jumped in the US. The number of tick borne illnesses has jumped or
In 2012, Folk discovered the Heartland virus, a new vector borne illness that was discovered in two Missouri farmers after being bitten by numerous ticks in the fields.
If you notice a tick attached to you, remove the insect with tweezers to avoid infection and monitor the bite. If you develop fever, chills, headache, rash or fatigue to seek medical attention. Folk said untreated insect bites can create long term problems.
“For electrolysis and some cases of heartlands disease that we’ve seen some people have
gone on to develop cognitive difficulties that can persist for several weeks to several months. Other people have developed generalized fatigue and that can go on for awhile and that can occur despite taking antibiotics appropriately,” Folk said.
Folk recommends carrying mosquito repellent when traveling on vacation especially in tropical climates like the carribean.
Doctors recommend wearing long sleeved clothing and using repellent sprays when going out in wooded areas to avoid tick and mosquito bites.