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Tick-Borne Diseases in the United States: An Escalating Challenge

May 27, 2024
by Osman Moneer

Discoveries & Impact (June 2024)

Tick-borne diseases, primarily transmitted by Ixodes scapularis (black-legged or deer tick), are increasingly prevalent in the United States, surpassing diseases spread by mosquitoes. With over 490,000 annual cases, these diseases, including Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus, present significant public health challenges.

Recently, a team of Yale physicians and researchers led by Sukanya Narasimhan, PhD, published a review highlighting the spread of the deer tick, noting that the expansion of deer populations and environmental changes are key drivers to this trend. The review underscores the public health impact of these diseases, which are often underdiagnosed due to limited understanding of their transmission dynamics.

Focusing on innovative control strategies, the article discusses the potential of vaccines targeting humans and animals and explores approaches focusing on the tick vector itself. Highlighting the need for a multidisciplinary, “One Health” approach, the review calls for collaboration among various experts to develop effective and sustainable tick control methods. In particular, the researchers stress the urgency of advanced research and collaborative efforts in combating the rising threat of tick-borne diseases in the United States.

To learn more, read the article, A ticking time bomb hidden in plain sight.”

Narasimhan S, Fish D, Pedra JHF, Pal U, Fikrig E. A ticking time bomb hidden in plain sight. Sci Transl Med. 2023 Oct 18;15(718):eadi7829. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adi7829. Epub 2023 Oct 18. PMID: 37851823.

Submitted by Julie Parry on May 09, 2024