NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Centers for Disease Control was sounding the alarm Tuesday about insect bites after a new report showed the diseases they cause are on the rise.
Weather brings people outside to enjoy it. It also brings bugs, bug bites, and an increased risk of being infected with one of the diseases they can carry.
The new report finds that’s especially true of the illnesses spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.
“As the summer goes on and the clothes start coming off… it’s a big problem I think everybody should be aware of,” East Elmhurst resident Raymond Pesce.
Scientists from the CDC analyzed data from 2004 to 2016 and found more than 640,000 cases of bug-borne diseases, triple of what it had been prior to the study.
The number of tick-borne disease more than doubled in that time. The study even found nine new germs spread by the pests.
New York and New Jersey are in the top 20 percent for the number of cases reported, a number which might be low because people often misunderstand their symptoms.
“Were talking about fever, headaches, joint aches, chills that’s usually something we see in the winter so when we see it in the summer we think about ticks, where were you? Did you go hiking? Were you in a park or grassy area?,” Dr. Robert Glatter from Northwell Health said.
The most common mosquito-borne viruses were West Nile, Dengue, and Zika, while the most common tick-borne diseases were Lyme disease and anaplasmosis.
Although rare, plague was the most common illness associated with infected fleas.
The CDC says warmer weather is one reason we’re seeing the increase because bugs thrive in it. Dr. Glatter says people visiting overseas is another reason.
“I see more international travel being the vector in other words transmitter a disease is only one plane ride away,” he said. “We can take one disease and put it on another continent in four or five hours.”
Doctors from the CDC say government agencies are doing their part to combat the diseases, but also say we have do do our part.
“I think people really need to check themselves, check their children,” Upper West Side resident Naomi Gewirtzman said. “I think bug repellent is really important, like we know these things help.”
The Environmental Protection Agency also recommends wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, treating clothes with the big-killing chemical permethrin, and checking members of your family including your pets for ticks.