Is America The Only Country That Struggles To Prevent Lyme Disease Infections?
Tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases are both considered vector-borne diseases. Seventeen percent of all infectious diseases in the world are vector-borne diseases. More than one million victims of vector-borne diseases die annually. Here in America, lyme disease has become the most common vector-borne disease. The increasing rate of lyme infections in America is a major public health concern. Although ticks may be more of a problem in the United States than anywhere else, ticks spread lyme and other diseases in many different countries. In some African countries, tick-borne diseases are currently regarded as serious public health threats.
The very first outbreak of lyme disease occurred in the US state of Connecticut back in 1975. Since then outbreaks of lyme have occured in nearly all regions within Europe. Lyme disease is also considered a public health nuisance in certain rural regions of Asia. Lyme disease is currently the most common tick-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. However, lyme disease is certainly not the only tick-borne disease that has spread among large populations.
Many regions of Africa also experience tick-related public health scares. In these regions lyme disease is not the tick-borne disease to be feared; instead there is Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. This tick-borne disease is currently causing unrest among many African people. For example, since August of 2017 several citizens of Uganda have sought treatment for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever. Unfortunately, Uganda’s health minister is attempting to hide the country’s current struggle with tick-borne disease outbreaks. The health minister is asking the public to ignore the many news reports that are describing the full scope of the epidemic.
Despite the effort to hide the country’s struggle with tick-borne diseases, some victims are receiving the treatment they need. So far four confirmed cases of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever have been reported in Uganda. But, there are likely many more undocumented victims within the country. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever has infected people living in Europe and Asia as well. People living in north Africa also have to worry about another tick-borne disease known as “relapsing fever”. This illness is caused by the same bacteria that causes lyme disease. Despite the fact that neither relapsing fever nor Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever have vaccines, they can both be treated. Relapsing fever rarely causes fatalities, and basic antibiotics can speed up recovery.
Have you ever heard of relapsing fever before? Do you think that a vaccine for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever will be developed soon?