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. Transmitted by Ixodes scapularis ticks, the illness is associated with fever, headache, fatigue, and often, a characteristic bulls-eye pattern rash. In the Midwest, ticks are also responsible for transmitting anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus, ehrlichiosis due to Ehrlichia muris, and spotted fever rickettsiosis.
West Nile virus, transmitted by the Culex and other mosquitos species, 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 illnesses most prevalent in the Midwestern U.S. Not only do we offer testing for individual disease states, such as a newly released PCR test] for Powassan virus, but comprehensive panels that evaluate for a number of vector-borne conditions that present with similar symptoms.
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