The CDC Will Start Tracking Ticks This Year

March 27, 2019, 7:42 PM UTC

The CDC will start monitoring the nation’s tick problem this year as well as the diseases that the pests might be carrying. The reason: to determine where Americans might stand a larger chance of acquiring a tick-borne illness.

The number of people diagnosed with serious diseases acquired through ticks, fleas, and mosquitos has more than doubled over the past few decades with ticks causing the vast majority of those issues, WebMD reports.

Lyme disease is the most common illness caused by tick bites and represented 72% of the tick-borne diseases reported in 2017. By tracking ticks the CDC will be able to determine where risk is occurring, allowing both individuals are health professionals to better prepare.

Last year the CDC said that the number of tick-borne diseases in the United States increased 250% between 2004 and 2016. Data from CDC’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System showed that 96,075 diseases caused by flea, tick, and mosquito bites were reported in 2016, compared to just 27,388 diseases in 2004.