Reddish-brown ticks are constantly pouring into the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. They are sent by public health officials from all over the country who want to know if Lyme disease is present in their cities and how fast it spreads.
For scientists in the nearly 150-year-old ward, tick-borne diseases are nothing new. Connecticut is the nation's epicenter of Lyme disease, and it's where the disease takes its name. It was first diagnosed in Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975.
But now the disease is found throughout the United States and the cases are increasing.
The spread of ticks and climate change
In recent years, scientists have found that the ticks on the east coast and across the country have exploded. During this time, cases of Lyme disease have also increased dramatically.
Recently there was a plethora of lonely star ticks discovered along the coast of Connecticut.
"Over the last two decades, the population of this tick has risen by 60 percent," said Goudarz Molaei, a researcher at the station. "You have reached the southern part of the state that borders New York City."
Although the Lone Star Tail does not transmit Lyme Disease, its presence, far from the usual southern habitat, can be interpreted as a microcosm of what is going on nationwide, Molaei said.
Ticks that carry Lyme disease, such as the deer tick, have expanded their territory beyond the northeast into states that were once considered immune.
While almost all cases of Lyme disease occur in 1
Almost all (95 percent) Lyme disease cases are found in only 14 US states. The first five states for Lyme disease cases are Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. "Credit: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Long wet winters, a warmer climate, and more people building houses in rural areas are among the reasons why Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are on the rise across the country, Experts say.
This means summer travelers need to be aware of when they are hiking or enjoying other outdoor activities, especially in Connecticut, but also in Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
"The geographical spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases is on the rise," said Candice Burns Hoffmann, spokeswoman for the CDC. "People and wildlife migrate into areas and areas that overlap, increase their risk of exposure to tick bites and tick-borne diseases.
How bad is Lyme disease in the US?
According to the CDC, there were 26,203 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the United States in 2016. That's an increase of 31 percent since 2006.
Most Cases of Lyme borreliosis are reported from May to August.The disease often occurs when a young, infected tick called a nymph bites into the skin and transmits bacteria.
The small arachnida prefers warmth To attach body parts, such as the groin, armpits or scalp of a person.
Different regions have different types of ticks that carry Lyme disease in different potencies, experts say In countries where the disease does not receive much attention, can be infected People are overlooked, said Linda Giampa, executive director of the charitable Bay Area Lyme Foundation.
"When we founded the Bay Area Lyme Foundation five years ago The residents showed symptoms were said by numerous medical professionals that they may not have Lyme disease, such as "there is no Lyme in California," said Giampa. "It's particularly disturbing as the numbers increase and the effects of the disease continue to increase."
Giampa said the group has seen this mood reflected in other parts of the country.
"We have expanded our reach We recognize that the disease is underestimated in the Midwest and South as well," noted Giampa. "We are always surprised by the calls we receive from all parts of the country and are currently offering support throughout the US due to increasing demand."
She said one of the challenges for patients who seek treatment is that the strains of bacteria can vary from region to region. As a result, the foundation has created the National Lyme Biobank.
"This bank will enable researchers to explore potential new diagnostics against a range of bacterial strains from samples from the East Coast, West Coast and Midwest," said Giampa. "Because Midwest residents are facing the same difficulties we faced here in the Bay Area, we are working with residents in Minnesota and Wisconsin to meet these challenges."
The transmission of Lyme disease can occur if the tick remains attached to the skin for 36 to 48 hours. The bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches and fatigue, and in about 80 percent of cases, cause a skin rash that looks like a bull's eye. Most cases can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics, but if left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to long-term health problems.
Prevention includes the use of insect repellent before going out and regular checking of pets and children for ticks.