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Cases of another tick-borne disease are rising in Maine, CDC says

Blacklegged ticks — also called deer ticks — are tiny. This adult female is about the size of a sesame seed.
Stephen Reiss for NPR
Blacklegged ticks — also called deer ticks — are tiny. This adult female is about the size of a sesame seed.

A new report finds that cases of the tick-born disease Babesiosis rose by more than 1,000% in Maine from 2011 to 2019 - one of the highest growth rates in the country.

According to a newly published study from the U.S. CDC, Maine reported only nine cases of babesiosis in 2011, but 138 cases eight years later. Only Vermont saw a steeper rate increase.

Most cases of the bacterial disease are transmitted through bites from deer ticks, and can cause fever, chills, muscle pain, and can occasionally be fatal for those with compromised immune systems.

According to the C.D.C., Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont should all now be considered to have endemic transmission of the disease, and the agency calls for more tick prevention education and risk awareness.

The increase in babesiosis cases in Maine in recent years coincides with the rise of other tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme Disease and anaplasmosis, as deer tick season appears to be lengthening due to milder winters.

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