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CDC Warns Of Alarming Jump In Bug-Borne Illness

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ringing the alarm about a dramatic increase in bug-borne illnesses. The CDC says it has seen a surge in ailments that have developed as a result of bugs such as mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.

The agency revealed that illnesses from tick, mosquito and flea bites have tripled over the last 13 years.

Ticks, the carriers of Lyme disease, seem to be the most dangerous -- accounting for 63 percent of the reported illnesses.

On an evening outdoors in Anne Arundel County on Tuesday, a cyclist told WJZ's Ava-joye Burnett that she plans on making changes.

"Well, I'm going to start getting me some spray, and I'm going to spray myself so they don't get on me, they won't bite. So, yeah, I'm going to get me some bug spray," Carolyn Reeb said.

Mosquitoes are also another well-known culprit carrying infamous infections like West Nile and Zika.

The CDC said there were more than 40,000 cases of Zika in U.S. territories during the 2016 outbreak -- mostly in Puerto Rico -- and people locally haven't forgotten.

Researchers also discovered nine new germs that are spread by mosquitoes, according to the CDC.

The causes could be linked to more global travel and the climate. The CDC also said an increase in the deer population near neighborhoods could result in more human exposure to ticks.

CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. John LaPook explained on the evening news.

The CDC said more than 640,000 illnesses are attributed to these insect bites over a period of 13 years, but the number could be higher Because of under-reporting.

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