New government research shows that tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease continue to rise. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that in 2017, state and local health departments reported a record number of cases of illnesses spread by ticks.
Cases of Lyme disease, Powassan virus; spotted fever rickettsiosis, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and tularemia all increased last year. The CDC said there were 59,349 confirmed cases of tick-borne diseases in 2017, up from 48,610 in 2016. In past years, health officials have acknowledged that the true number of cases is likely many times higher than the officially tally.
The findings reflect an accelerating trend of tick-related diseases reported in the U.S. Between 2004 and 2016, the number of such cases doubled. Researchers also discovered seven new tick-borne pathogens that infect people.