Between 2004 and 2016, more than 600,000 Americans contracted Lyme disease and other diseases from infected ticks and mosquitoes, which more than tripled the number of reported cases of vector-borne diseases. But the number of actual cases over the 12-year period is several million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In its 2018 vital signs report published June 1 by the CDC, the number of reported cases of mosquito, tick and infected fleas increased from 27,388 in 2004 to 96,075 in 2016, for a total of more than 640,000 cases reported nationally. But the CDC estimates that the actual number of cases of Lyme – the most common vector-borne disease – is 300,000 per year, which includes cases in which overburdened health care providers do not report cases to services. health.
Dianna L. Carboni-Piquette, originally from Leominster and former resident of Shrewsbury, was one of the 50,234 cases of Lyme Disease reported in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2016. In the CDC report, the Bay State has retained its fourth place, the highest number of reported cases, behind Pennsylvania (73,610), New York (69,313) and New Jersey (51,578). Connecticut – where cases of arthritis in children were detected in the early 1970s in the city, the disease is named – ranked fifth with 36,727 cases.
Ms. Carboni-Piquette passed away in 2017 at the age of 39, after a four-year battle with Lyme disease. Michael Piquette said the death certificate of his wife indicated that the main cause of death was sepsis and that Lyme disease was the secondary cause.
By all accounts, the couple of senior graduates were about to complete their early retirement and non-profit work or consulting projects, as well as travel, until Ms. Carboni-Piquette, editor-at-large main technique at Oracle in Burlington, has become too sick to work. .
"We do not know when she was bitten. Some of the nymphs are so small that you will never see them and will not notice that you have been bitten. We know that she started having some strange symptoms in 2011, "said Mr. Piquette.
The couple, who met while she was a freshman at Assumption College in Worcester and himself a sophomore at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, traveled extensively on the east coast and in northern California, where there is also a lot of Lyme. They enjoyed spending time together hiking, mountain biking, downhill skiing and cross-country skiing.
Ms. Carboni-Piquette had been suffering from flu-like symptoms for four years and was taking an antibiotic combination for more than two years. She sometimes saw minor improvements, but was forced to continue to be disabled in 2014.
After falling ill, she followed the routine of so many Lyme disease victims: many doctors, including her husband, said that her husband made many suggestions about her fatigue, significant weight loss, and to other symptoms. An initial Lyme test was negative. But a subsequent Western blot test from the Igenex lab in California is found to be positive.
The couple lived in Shrewsbury after their marriage in 2001 until 2016, when they moved to Nevada, where Carboni-Piquette's brother, Nicholas Carboni, lives to look for other treatments and avoid harsh winters brutal New England. She died the following year.
Mr. Piquette, who was an Assistant Vice President at MetLife in Boston, still lives in the Nevada region, where he is now semi-heated and is starting a business. He and the sister of his wife, Marina Carboni, of Framingham, are committed to becoming more active in the Lyme community.
Ms. Carboni encourages people to share their stories about Lyme disease through the Federal Task Force on Tick-borne Diseases of Health and Social Services. At the group meeting in June 2018, she told the story of her sister's fight against the devastating disease.
The working group was established by the Congress in 2016 for six years under the 21st Century Healing Act. According to the website, the goal is to provide expertise in the field and to review the federal government's efforts related to all tick-borne diseases, to help ensure inter-agency coordination to minimize duplication and review research priorities. The group submits a report every two years and will present its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Social Services and the Congress. Ms. Carboni said that she hoped that this effort would allow more research funding for the disease.
Mr. Piquette compares Lyme disease to the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s. He said that many doctors and others downplayed the severity of Lyme disease. And some doctors, he said, will not provide adequate treatment. The American Society for Infectious Disease warns that long-term treatment of chronic Lyme disease with antibiotics is ineffective and may be harmful. Whereas the International Lyme Society and Associated Diseases recommends treatment determined by clinical judgment. In some cases, this means long-term treatment with antibiotics.
"I think the government has to spend a lot of money on research. It's a devastating disease for many people. Whole families understand it, "he said. "There must be better and more effective antibiotics or another treatment that really focuses on Lyme disease. There is currently no medicine specifically for Lyme disease and there must be one. "
The country is not quite ready to control the threats of the growing trend of tick-borne diseases that has been steadily increasing over the last 25 years, according to the recent CDC report. Local and state health departments and vector control organizations are facing increasing demands for control of ticks and tick-borne diseases. Proven and publicly accepted methods are needed to better prevent tick bites and to control ticks and tick-borne diseases. More than 80% of vector control organizations report that they need to improve one or more of five key competencies, such as pesticide resistance tests. The CDC offers some recommendations that local and national health departments, universities, and others must follow to help address the nation's major health crisis that some have described as an epidemic.
The CDC says that a number of factors can contribute to the increase of ticks and their geographic spread. "For example, the spread of Lyme disease in recent decades has been linked to changes in land use patterns, including reforestation in the northeastern United States. The development of the suburbs in these areas has increased the spread of these germs because people, ticks, deer and their hosts such as mice and chipmunks are in close contact, "says the agency on its website . Precipitation, temperature, humidity and host populations can also contribute to tick density each year.
Although the CDC's 2018 vital signs report does not include post-2016 data, Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the CDC's Vector-borne Diseases Division at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases , said that a record number of departments of tick-borne disease cases to the agency in 2017. Reported cases of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis / ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis (including Rocky Mountain fever), babylosis, tularaemia and Powassan virus have all increased from 48,610 cases in 2016 to 59,319 cases in 2017.
"This 2017 data is only a fraction of the number of people with tick-borne diseases. Under-reporting of all tick-borne diseases is common and the number of people actually infected is much higher, "Dr. Petersen said by e-mail.
Dr. Catherine Brown, an epidemiologist with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said the number of cases of Lyme disease was so heavy that it was the responsibility of health care providers to report all cases. When a person receives a diagnosis through a lab test, this information is automatically sent to DPH. But many people are diagnosed without a lab test, she said, leaving it to the provider to report the data.
The reporting problem led DPH in 2016 to move from the standard case definition for Lyme disease to an estimation method based on the laboratory results received.
"It's very heavy. And in Massachusetts, we know we have a lot of Lyme disease … too much. It's not clear to me whether knowing whether it's 10,000, 20,000 or 50,000 is helpful, "said Dr. Brown.
"The important thing is to share prevention methods. We know that doctors do it, and that's what we're also focusing on: helping people understand what they need to do to protect themselves. "
She added that DPH is focusing more on new tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. Since 2004, nine new germs spread by ticks and mosquitoes have been discovered or introduced.
According to the CDC report, Massachusetts recorded 1,209 cases of mosquito-borne disease between 2004 and 2016. 80,534 cases were reported in Puerto Rico during this period. There have been many cases and deaths due to flea fever, but none in Massachusetts.
The state has not reported any cases of Eastern equine encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes since a case in 2013. But this could change this year, said Timothy D. Deschamps Sr., executive director of the Central Mosquito Project, . The number of cases of West Nile virus is also increasing.
He added that the Northboro-based agency, which serves 42 communities in central Massachusetts, began testing mosquitoes infected two weeks ago. No one was found, but last year, he said, was a busy year for West Nile virus. According to the DPH, the number of reported illness cases increased from six in 2005 to 49 last year.
The periods of relative drought from 2004 to the end of 2016 have significantly removed the mosquito species that circulate IAS among the bird population. In 2017, after the end of the drought, it was reported that the mosquito species had recovered, he said.
"We have some concerns about the emergence of EEE in birds as these species have returned to near normal levels, we will continue to trap and test these species and get an indication of the risks involved." by the public from now on. "
Like Dr. Brown, Mr. Deschamps recommended focusing on preventative measures to stay safe.