"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", CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, and the CDC researchers found the area where Lyme disease exposure is a risk has been growing in recent years.
The number of vector-borne illnesses in the USA tripled from 2004 to 2016, rising to almost 650,000 cases.
During that period, a total of more than 640,000 cases of these diseases were reported to the CDC. And so, the true number of cases of these diseases is likely much higher than reported. Some patients may experience mild symptoms and not seek medical attention, and not all diseases were reported for the full 13-year analysis period or from all states and territories.
Commenting on the CDC report, Paul Auwaerter, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, called for more research money for diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for Zika, Lyme disease, and other serious vector-borne diseases. Plague, albeit rare, was noted as the most common flea-borne disease.
West Nile virus, the major mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States, can be found widely distributed across the country.
Officials emphasize the need for state and local governments to build and sustain public health programs that test for and track vector-borne diseases, train vector control staff appropriately, and educate the public on how best to prevent bites and control the spread of germs by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas in their communities.
A natural resources officer with Broward County Mosquito Control takes water samples decanted from a watering jug, checking for the presence of mosquito larvae in Pembroke Pines, Fla., June 28, 2016.More news: Cosby jury says accuser was 'credible and compelling'
Infections in 2016 went up 73 percent from 2015, reflecting the emergence of Zika, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause severe birth defects.
There were nine vector-borne human diseases that were reported for the first time in the US from 2004 to 2016.
Environmental factors, such as rainfall and temperature, also affect the breeding and biting habits of these many different species. And because they are carried by wild animals like rodents and birds, it is hard if not impossible to eliminate them.
More and more Americans are being infected with diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes, federal researchers reported Tuesday.
The number of Americans sickened each year by bites from infected mosquitoes, ticks or fleas tripled from 2004 through 2016, with infection rates spiking sharply in 2016 as a result of a Zika outbreak, US health officials said Tuesday. "Where there are ticks, there comes diseases", said Lyle Petersen, head of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.
"Nine new germs - seven of them spread by ticks - have been newly introduced or discovered in the United States since 2004", he added. That's enough to help nine states to increase their ability to manage vector-borne disease, Petersen said.
What can everyone do to protect themselves from mosquito, tick, and flea bites? . In the United States, there was limited local spread of dengue and Zika viruses in Florida and Texas.