Earlier this May, the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) study, published in Vital Signs revealed that reports of vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and West Nile had tripled from 2004 to 2016. Now, in August, a Quest Diagnostics report shows a dramatic increase in Lyme disease from 2015 to 2016 in a seven-year study. Not only did the report note an increase in Lyme disease in the Northeast, where it has always been prevalent but it also revealed that Lyme disease had been diagnosed in all 50 states. Florida and California showed the largest absolute increases in Lyme disease in the study.

  • In the northeast, Pennsylvania reported 10,001 Lyme disease cases, while New England states reported 11,549 cases, in 2017. Looking back at 2015, these numbers represent a 49.6% increase in Lyme disease occurrences in a two-year time period for the New England states and a 78% increase for Pennsylvania.
  • From a base of six million de-identified lab results, California Lyme disease cases rose 194.5% from 2015 to 2017 to 483 cases. In Florida, Lyme disease cases jumped to 501, a 77% jump from 2015.
  • Georgia, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia saw significant increases in Lyme disease cases, as well.

Lyme disease bigger risk to American people than ever before

Quest Diagnostics' Health Trends™ research program head, Harvey W. Kaufman, MD said, "Lyme disease is a bigger risk to more people in the United States than ever before." The Quest Diagnostics' senior medical director went on to say that, Quest's data shows that "positive results for Lyme are both increasing in number and occurring in geographic areas not historically associated with the disease." Kaufman theorized that these significant increases in rates and locations lean towards reinforcing other research suggesting that "changing climate conditions that allow ticks to live longer and in more regions" may factor into risks of decreased Lyme disease cases.

Lyme disease transmitted by deer ticks and black-legged ticks

Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted by blacklegged and deer ticks. The disease can affect a number of the body's systems, including the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, as well as the muscular system. Often misdiagnosed, Lyme disease symptoms mimic other diseases, such as the flu and fatigue-related syndromes. Often, a fever, headache, and fatigue are accompanied by a bulls-eye rash, called an erythema migraine that appears near the bite site, but not always.

Lab testing helps to diagnose Lyme disease and avoid misdiagnosis

The Quest Foundation believes that lab testing can be helpful for diagnosing Lyme disease if performed properly with validated methods. A round of antibiotics can ward off the disease if diagnosed soon after a victim is bitten by a diseased tick. The real issue with Lyme disease lies in the fact that when Lyme disease is misdiagnosed by health care professionals or disregarded by individuals, the disease can cause swelling and pain in joints and affect the heart muscle, causing chest pains, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Inflammation caused by the disease can interfere with the transmission of electrical signals from one chamber of the heart to the other, known as heart block. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause Lyme carditis, in addition to infections of the inner and outer heart membranes, muscle, vessels, or valves. Cognitive decline can also occur, affecting the processing of thoughts and memory retention. The inability to concentrate, along with extreme fatigue can be debilitating, especially if victims don't realize that they are suffering from Lyme disease.

Focus on prevention of tick-related diseases emphasized

The Quest Foundation reinforces the advice of the CDC and other health organizations on the importance of vigilance in preventing tick bites. Before taking long walks in wooded areas or in tall, grassy areas, it is important to dress appropriately.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes or boots with your pant legs tucked into your boots.
  • Apply insect repellent before going out.
  • Stay on marked trails.
  • Walk on gravel or mulch trails whenever possible because ticks don't like to walk over rocks or sharp wood chips.
  • Check your pets for ticks when they return from walks or extended periods outside.
  • Check yourself for ticks when returning from walks, hikes or gardening.

At Hulett, we want to help keep ticks and fleas away from you and your loved ones. Contact us for a free pest inspection and to learn about how our Hulett Healthy Home programs can keep pests from entering your South Florida home. Your satisfaction is guaranteed; just call Hulett! Those stacks of boxes you're saving for holiday gift wrapping or that pile of magazines you need to sort through encourages cockroaches. You got clutter? Cockroaches are all over it. Since most of the places you collect and store things are dark and usually warm, well, there you go.

How to Prevent Cockroaches

A few things South Florida homeowners can do to prevent cockroaches include making your home less attractive to cockroaches and other pests by:

  • Keeping all food preparation and dining areas wiped down and crumb-free.
  • Vacuuming and sweeping all dining and snacking areas, including upholstered furniture.
  • Storing food in airtight containers or in the fridge.
  • Removing all food scraps and cleaning dishes immediately after meals and snacks.
  • Repairing all leaky pipes and correcting water prone areas.
  • Eliminating clutter in your home and on your property.
  • Eliminating any standing water on your property.
  • Sealing all cracks, crevices, and holes in your foundation, windows, air conditioning pipes and around entryways or anywhere they can gain access to your home.

Cockroaches can spread bacteria causing salmonella and other intestinal issues in addition to causing allergic reactions in sensitive people, as well as initiating asthma attacks in children. At Hulett, our Healthy Home programs are geared to prevent cockroaches and other household pests from entering your home. Utilizing Integrated Pest Management (IPM), we use the highest quality materials and techniques to provide environmentally responsible pest management for your home to safeguard your loved ones. Contact us to schedule a free pest inspection . Before you find yourself playing hide and go seek with cockroaches, just call Hulett!