The CDC for the first time will be monitoring the nation’s tick population and the diseases the pests may be carrying, WebMD reported.
The effort comes as the number of people diagnosed with serious diseases caused by things like ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes has more than doubled over the past few decades. Ticks caused the vast majority of those diseases. Its aim is to assess where Americans might be most likely to get a tick-borne illness.
“For the first time this year, the CDC is funding states to conduct widespread surveillance of ticks and the pathogens they can transmit, in addition to funding human disease surveillance and education and prevention,” Anna Perea of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases’ Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, told WebMD. “Taken together, the data can help define areas where ticks are spreading, the infectious pathogens that they carry, and where risk of tick-borne disease is increasing.”
Richard S. Ostfeld, PhD, a disease ecologist with the Millbrook, NY-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, called the CDC's step "great news."
“The CDC will be able to paint a picture of where risk is occurring, and it will provide us with better data than we have ever had before with geographic coverage of the ticks, where they are moving, and how infection prevalence is changing," he told WebMD.