Intended for healthcare professionals


Illnesses caused by US ticks and mosquitoes tripled in recent years

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 03 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1997
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal, Canada

Three times as many Americans fell ill from a vectorborne disease in 2016 as in 2004, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned in a new report.1

A sharp recent spike was driven by Zika, but there is also a worrying long term growth in tickborne illnesses, especially Lyme disease.

Since 2004, nine diseases have been seen for the first time in the US, including the mosquitoborne viruses Zika and Chikungunya and several completely new tickborne pathogens.

Tickborne diseases accounted for 77% of all vectorborne diseases reported between 2004 and 2016, during which time they doubled in frequency. Of these cases of tickborne illness, 82% were Lyme disease, caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type and …

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