The CDC study shares county maps of 7 diseases spread by Blacklegged mites

As the surveillance of ticks and the germs that cause them spreads, so will Americans’ awareness of where ticks are most at risk. Specialists from the Vector Infectious Diseases Unit of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected new observational data and provided state-of-the-art maps of both blacklegs at the county level.ixodes scapularis), shown here, are common and they are found in patients with seven different disease-causing microbes or pathogenic microbes. (Photo by Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org)

As the surveillance of ticks and the germs that cause them spreads, so will Americans’ awareness of where ticks are most at risk.

“The more we look for mites and tick-borne pathogens, the more we find and the more information we get to help protect people from the spread of ticks.” – says Eric Foster, MS, BCE., a medical entomologist in the Vector Infectious Diseases Unit of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Foster and his CDC colleagues compiled the observations into a new report published May 18 in the American Society of Entomology. Journal of Medical Entomology. The report provides modern district maps of areas where blackleg mites are common and where they are infected with seven different disease-causing microbes or pathogenic microbes.

Of all the diseases transmitted to humans by insects and related arthropods, ticks account for more than 75% of all reported infections each year. The maps provided in the new CDC study are important to raise public and health awareness about tick-borne diseases in communities and the signs and symptoms that patients should look for. This is made possible by the CDC’s National Tick and Tick Pathogen Control Program, which began in 2018.

Previously, knowledge about the prevalence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens was limited to data shared with local health facilities or academic research.

“Collection efforts were not standardized, and data was often lost because there was no national repository for such information,” Foster said.

Since 2018, the CDC has created a nationwide program that brings together all the data to guide local agencies and academic partners in tick control and pathogen testing.

“This effort fills the gaps in our knowledge by pointing out the presence of mites and tick-borne pathogens, which have previously been little reported or where they occur,” Foster says.

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