Health scare of the week
A surge in tick-borne diseases
The number of people diagnosed with diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks tripled in the U.S. over the past decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced. The agency recorded more than 96,000 cases in 2016, up from 27,000 in 2004. Mosquito-borne viruses include Zika, West Nile, and dengue, while ticks spread maladies such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. “The numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels,” says the CDC’s Lyle Petersen. The main reason for the rise is higher temperatures, caused by climate change, that allow ticks and mosquitos to spread to and thrive in formerly cooler territories. Another factor is globalization: The cheaper and easier it is to travel, the more people end up in high-risk areas. The CDC notes that many more infections will have gone unrecognized or unreported, and urges people to take precautions against bites.