A Note From Dr H
“What would happen if some of the vector-based diseases became deadlier? I think about, for example, tick-borne disease. In the U.S., there are three or four hundred thousand cases of Lyme disease every year. Now, around the world, there are ticks that carry Ebola-like illnesses … What would happen if the ticks in the U.S. were to get infected with an Ebola-like illness, so instead of worrying about Lyme disease you had to worry about something that could cause you to bleed to death?”
We are almost there. Climate change is increasing the numbers of ticks, their range and diseases they carry. Just look at the tick-borne CCHF (Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever) outbreak in Europe. Mortality rates vary between 5 and 40%. That is higher than Powassan encephalitis (From the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne viral disease with symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, dizziness, abnormal sensitivity to light, abdominal pain and vomiting. Later on, sharp mood swings may occur, and the patient may become confused and aggressive.
CCHF virus is widespread and evidence for the virus has been found among ticks in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe and South Western Europe.)
So Tom, we already have deadly tick-borne diseases spreading, not to mention the potential high morbidity and mortality rates from Anaplasma (rates are rising this year), Ehrlichia and RMSF. Maybe its time to address some of the underlying causes of why these epidemics like Lyme disease are happening…(poor testing of multiple species of borrelia and coinfections, medical politics, inadequate funding, changes in the climate…)
The Health 202: It’s not hard to imagine a worse pandemic, Tom Frieden says