CDC researcher finds that blacklegged tick range has increase by nearly half

A researcher at the Centers for Disease Control has found that the blacklegged tick—the tick that transmits Lyme disease—is in 44.7 percent more counties than it was in 1998. A post in the Entomology Today blog reported on the findings on January 18. The research was published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Over the last twenty years, the number of Lyme disease cases has tripled, infecting at least 300,000 people per year. Over that time disease reports have spread from the Northeast and upper Midwest regions to other areas of the U.S.

Because Lyme disease symptoms resemble those of other diseases, CDC scientist Rebecca Eisen wanted to conduct another survey of the range of the blacklegged tick. The last survey was done in 1998. Eisen and her colleagues studied reports of Lyme disease from around the country to come up with an estimate of tick counts.

Her survey revealed that people in over 45 percent of counties in the US reported encounters with the blacklegged tick, compared to 30 percent in 1998. In addition, tick reports have greatly expanded in the northern U.S., while tick reports in the South and West did not increase by much.

Reports of expansion of the tick range may help health professionals more quickly identify cases of Lyme disease, especially in areas that were not reported as tick infested in 1998.

Source: Foster, Hannah (18 Jan 2016). Ticks that transmit Lyme disease reported in 48.6% of U.S. Counties. Entomology Today blog.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: