CDC Warns Tick-Borne Illnesses Have Nearly Doubled Since 2004

Air Date: 05/17/2018
Source:
NBC Nightly News
Creator:
Lester Holt/Dr. John Torres
Air/Publish Date:
05/17/2018
Event Date:
05/17/2018
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2018
Clip Length:
00:01:32

As cases of tick-borne illnesses rise, patients can now send photographs of the tick that bit them to entomologists in order to assess their risk of infection.

CDC Warns Tick-Borne Illnesses Have Nearly Doubled Since 2004

LESTER HOLT, anchor:

Back now with a health alert as the weather heats up, the number of people getting sick from bug bites has tripled in the last 15 years that includes ticks carrying Lyme disease which is notoriously hard to diagnose. But NBC medical correspondent Doctor John Torres tells us about a new way to fight it.

DR. JOHN TORRES, reporting:

When Karen Blum came home from a hike with a tick on her knee, her worries began.

KAREN BLUM: I was concerned that it could have been Lyme disease or another disease potentially carried by ticks.

DR. TORRES: The CDC now warning that tick-borne illnesses have nearly doubled since 2004. Mainly because the tick that spreads Lyme disease called the black-legged tick is spreading.

THOMAS MATHER: More people are encountering ticks because ticks are in more places.

DR. TORRES: But tonight, a new weapon in the battle against Lyme disease. Instead of going to the doctor, Karen took a picture of her tick and sent it to entomologist, Thomas Mather, who looks at the type of tick, where you live, and how long the bug has been attached.

MATHER: What we can do is tell you that this tick has been attached long enough, if it is infected, it could have transmitted something.

DR. TORRES: And that’s the bottom line is basically get them to the point where they can make a good decision about what needs to be done after that.

MATHER: Exactly.

DR. TORRES: Information that can help the doctors decide whether to start treating with antibiotics. Mather says the best advice, though, is prevention. Use bug spray that contains Permathrin and spray shoes to stop ticks from crawling up pant legs. Good advice for Karen Blum who now knows her tick wasn’t the type to transmit Lyme.

BLUM: So I was relieved.

DR. TORRES: Learning your risk so you can have peace of mind.

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