Healthcare Economy

Many Face Difficult Summer as Mosquitoes and Ticks Surge

Douglas A. McIntyre

The chance that people can spend summertime in their yards, near pools and on golf courses without courting medical trouble has started to disappear. In some parts of the country, infestations of mosquitoes, ticks and fleas will make the outdoor activity dangerous, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency says the threat has grown exponentially. Diseases from bites have tripled from 2004 to 2016.

The CDC announced:

Almost everyone has been bitten by a mosquito, tick, or flea. These can be vectors for spreading pathogens (germs). A person who gets bitten by a vector and gets sick has a vector-borne disease, like dengue, Zika, Lyme, or plague. Between 2004 and 2016, more than 640,000 cases of these diseases were reported, and 9 new germs spread by bites from infected mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced in the US. State and local health departments and vector control organizations are the nation’s main defense against this increasing threat.

Science and efforts by public officials have been unable to arrest the spread of the insects or offer quick cures for the disease that can seriously debilitate humans. Individual travelers carry the insects, as do the movement of commercial goods.

A number of commercial providers of insect repellent offer products to protect from ticks and mosquitoes. Based on the spread of the growing diagnoses of related diseases, these products have only been moderately effective. The best advice from medical experts is that anyone bitten by a tick should see a doctor.

The tick infestation is not so large enough that it will have a meaningful effect on the economy, at least this year. And companies will continue making money with products that are supposed to protect humans and pets. However, none of this seems to work very well.