Climate change is considered the No. 1 reason for the increasing diseases from ticks and mosquitoes, according to a Connecticut researcher.
The takeaway from a one-day symposium for Connecticut public health agencies on May 10 shared the need for agencies, public health departments and even the private sector to examine their responses to vector-borne disease.
“We are seeing shorter and shorter winter times with milder temperatures, not bitterly cold. Spring and summer are getting long,” said Dr. Goudarz Molaei, who leads the Center for Vector Biology and Zoonotic Diseases for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, told symposium attendees. “As a result, we are seeing that, unlike in the past, we are having tick season all year round. This is, to a certain extent, valid for mosquitoes as well.”
The warmer weather is also bringing new species of ticks and mosquitoes to the region carrying disease other than Lyme Disease or West Nile Virus, according to WSHU Public Radio.
“The number of people who have sought treatment for Lyme disease — that’s the poster child of vector borne diseases — has been around 476,000 annually,” Dr. Molaei told WSHU Public Radio. “and you can imagine the scope of the problem, this is just one of the tick-borne diseases.”
Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors, according to the World Health Organization. Many of these vectors are bloodsucking insects, including mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Examples of vector-borne diseases include Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, and malaria.
Dr. Molaei said vector-borne diseases account for 17 percent of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700,000 deaths each year worldwide.