BEAT THE BITE
INCREASE AWARENESS TO MINIMIZE THE STING OF BUG BITES
In the Midwest, the population appears to boom as spring and summer weather draws residents outside. But humans aren’t the only species that emerge when the air heats up. Insects, most notably ticks and mosquitos, flourish in the prairies and woodlands of the Midwest.
Lyme disease tops the list of the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the Midwest, with a concentration in the upper Midwest. Transferred by the Ixodes species of ticks, the illness causes fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bulls-eye pattern. In the Midwest, ticks are also responsible for causing outbreaks of spotted fever rickettsiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus disease.
West Nile virus, transferred by the Culex species of mosquitos, is the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the Midwest. Causing headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and skin rash, West Nile virus infection can progress to more serious neurological forms, including encephalitis or meningitis, if left untreated.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of mosquito-borne disease in the Midwest United States are increasing. Our map highlights cases of mosquito-borne illness reported in 2004, 2011, and 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that across the Midwest United States, cases of tick-borne illness have risen substantially. Cases of tick-borne disease reported in 2004, 2011, and 2018 are demonstrated.
6,259 cases of Lyme disease reported in the Midwest in 20181
1,612 cases of West Nile virus in the Midwest in 20181
1,135 cases of spotted fever rickettsiosis reported in the Midwest in 20181
For individuals suspected of having vector-borne infectious disease, early diagnosis and treatment are critical to prevent further harm. Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ arsenal of vector-borne disease testing includes serological and molecular evaluations for common and rare illness most prevalent in the Midwestern U.S. Not only do we offer testing for individual disease states, such as a newly released PCR testing for Powassan virus, but comprehensive panels that evaluate for a number of vector-borne conditions that present with the same symptoms.
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