HEADLINES Published January25, 2016 By Beatrice Asuncion

Lyme Disease Spreading across the U.S.

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The Zika virus, which has ravaged Brazil for most of last years, finally reached the united States early in January. Fortunately, the cases charted are of individuals who have traveled to infected countries and so far no known cases of locally transmitted illness has been reported. Despite the fact that the spread of the mosquito borne virus in the U.S. is currently under control, the country is facing yet another threat. This time the disease is spread by tiny ticks.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recently released a study detailing the increase in population of the black-legged tick - ticks that are responsible for spreading Lyme disease. According to the research, there has been a 320% increase in the population of the black-legged ticks since the 1990s. The areas wherein the ticks are present have also doubled in the past two decades.

"A lot of people are seeing ticks where they didn't see them 20 years ago. The observed range expansion documented in our study highlights a need for continuing and enhancing vector surveillance efforts, particularly along the leading edges of range expansion. It's important to know which ticks are in your area or areas that you visit so that you can take steps to protect yourself" explained Dr. Rebecca Eisen, a researcher from the Center of Disease Control.

Lyme Disease is caused by ticks infected with the germ called borrelia. Upon infection, a rash would develop in the area where a patient has been bitten. The infected area would grow outward in the next three to thirty-six days. If left untreated, the disease can cause nerve and brain problems. Thankfully, Lyme disease is highly treatable. A course of antibiotic medication is usually introduced to the affected patient. The duration for the treatment would depend on the severity of the symptoms. 

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