COMMENTARY: Growing up in southwest New Mexico had a few perks. While it doesn't rain much it also isn't a haven for mosquitoes or ticks. We had black widow spiders and rattlesnakes instead. As I've moved to wetter and more humid climates I've had to learn to adjust to these critters.
In a world where the joys of summer are often ruled by the threat of being bitten, the CDC is warning Americans to be vigilant. It expects the threat of tick or mosquito bites to be high this year. Looking at the recent past, 2004 to 2016, the CDC found that the number of people being infected by diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas has tripled in the United States. There were more than 640,000 cases of diseases linked to these insects over that time. In addition to increases in the number of infections, there were also nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks that were discovered. It's not just Lyme disease and West Nile anymore. Zika virus, chikungunya, and there is even a tick bite that makes you allergic to beef. How do I explain that to the ranchers in the family?
The CDC says this highlights the need for states to have comprehensive vector prevention and control programs. That's a fancy way to say, this year and in future years, it's worth being aware and proactive.