How serious is the threat?
It’s become a real concern for anyone who spends time in the outdoors. Ticks and mosquitoes that can be found in backyards, the woods, fields, and even cities are transmitting Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other illnesses. Reported cases of these diseases more than tripled between 2004 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Part of that rise, from 27,388 cases to 96,075, is attributable to the mosquito-borne Zika outbreak in South Florida in 2016. But tick-borne illnesses are truly epidemic, with a doubling of reported cases over that period, as the bloodthirsty arachnids expand into new regions of the U.S. Scientists have also discovered nine new vector-borne diseases, some of them potentially fatal. “These are more than summertime nuisances,” says Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Vector-Borne Diseases division. “People really do need to take this seriously.”
An adult deer tick, which can cause Lyme disease