"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases are on the rise: What it is best to know

July 17, 2023 – Diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes are on the rise, so doctors and scientists are warning people to take precautions and look ahead to telltale symptoms.

At least seven cases of malaria In the U.S., cases of mosquito-borne diseases were reported in Florida and Texas last month – the primary reports of local spread in 20 years. Cases of tick-borne diseases resembling Lyme disease have increased 25% within the U.S., from 40,795 reported cases in 2011 to 50,856 in 2019. according to CDC. Cases of a tick-borne disease called Babesiosis In some northeastern states, the number has greater than doubled through the same period.

In 2021, Arizona experienced an outbreak of West Nile virus The mosquito-borne disease was the biggest outbreak because the disease first appeared within the United States in 1999.

Malaria was far more common within the United States before it was eradicated within the Fifties by the widespread use of insecticides, window screens and air con, in addition to the invention of television, which kept people indoors more, says Debopam Chakrabarti, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology on the University of Central Florida.

But latest diseases keep emerging. According to a 2020 CDC study, 17 different vector-borne diseases have been reported within the United States since 2004 and nine latest pathogens have been identified. report.

“We are seeing more reported cases of vector-borne diseases as the climate warms and people travel more,” Chakrabarti said. “Diseases like malaria are causing people to travel to areas where it is endemic and get bitten by mosquitoes, such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, southern Mexico and Central America.”

What it is best to concentrate to

malaria is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes and could be life-threatening.

Symptoms, which normally appear 10 to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, include high fever, chills, nausea or vomiting, headache, diarrhea and fatigue. There are about 2,000 cases within the U.S. every year, but recent clusters of cases are very rare, said Bob Bollinger, MD, MPH, professor of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Occasionally we have 'airport malaria' when a plane lands with infected mosquitoes and they escape,” Bollinger said. “The species of mosquito that transmits malaria can fly up to several kilometers.”

Since malaria was eliminated, there have been a small number of recent cases every year, says Dr. Sarah Gunter, assistant professor of pediatric tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. “But I don't think malaria is the most pressing vector-borne disease in the United States,” she says.

Tick-borne diseases resembling Lyme disease have gotten more common, and a number of other latest types have emerged prior to now 40 years, she said.

“We are seeing more cases that require further investigation,” Gunter said.

Lyme disease, is transmitted by bites from deer ticks, normally starts with a circular rash and may result in fever, rash, facial paralysis and arthritis if left untreated. According to Data from the health technology company Athenahealth. Symptoms often include non-specific flu-like symptoms resembling fever, chills, sweating, headache, body aches, lack of appetite, nausea or fatigue.

Babesiosis, which can also be transmitted by deer ticks, often causes flu-like symptoms resembling fever, chills, sweating, headache, body aches, lack of appetite, nausea and fatigue.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is certainly one of the deadliest tick-borne diseases, Gunter said, and sometimes causes confusion, headaches, muscle aches and rashes on the wrists and ankles. While many tick-borne diseases are most typical within the Midwest and Northeast, most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever have been reported within the eastern U.S. states, including North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

“It is important to recognize and treat these early,” said Gunter.

Scientists are on the lookout for latest tools

Given the increasing variety of cases, researchers are working on latest ways to stop and treat these diseases. The biotech firms Pfizer and Valneva are in late-stage clinical trials with their vaccine candidate against Lyme disease and expect these to be accomplished by the top of 2020. already in 2025.

Chakrabarti and his colleagues at UCF, together with researchers at Stanford University and the University of California-San Diego, are studying using cancer drugs to treat malaria on a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The most typical malaria treatment is Chloroquinhowever the genetic mutation of the malaria parasite has made it largely immune to the drug. Chakrabarti and his team are exploring using protein kinase inhibitors – drugs originally developed to treat cancer – as an accelerated path to drug therapy for malaria.

“Cancer drugs have already been clinically tested, which saves costs and one to two years of time,” Chakrabarti said. “So far, it's promising.”

How to stop infection

Preventative measures include wearing insect repellent and long sleeves, installing screens on windows and removing standing water across the house that might attract ticks and mosquitoes, in response to Gunter.

When walking in wooded areas with high tick populations, it's necessary to wear clothing that covers your legs and arms and check thoroughly for ticks afterward, Bollinger said. Mosquitoes are inclined to feed within the evenings and early mornings, he noted.

According to the CDC, clothing and outdoor gear ought to be treated with products containing 0.5% permethrin. This ingredient helps kill and repel ticks and mosquitoes and stays effective even after multiple washings.

When checking for ticks, particular attention ought to be paid to the armpits, hair and ears, in addition to the world across the waist and back of the knees.