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CDC notes rise in insect-borne illness among outdoor workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report that should be of interest to residents of Georgia who make a living by working outdoors. The CDC observes that the number of cases in the U.S. that involve insect-borne diseases (diseases caused by mosquito, tick or flea bites) has tripled from 2004 to 2016.

Over that 12-year period, there were more than 640,000 cases of domestic disease, which include dengue fever, Zika fever, Lyme disease and plague. The rise may partly be due to commerce that increases the movement of insects across the country and across continents.

While health departments and vector control organizations are meant to prevent the spread of these illnesses, the CDC claims that 84 percent of them, both at the local and state level, lacked at least one of five competencies. Those are: keeping the region's mosquitoes under surveillance, deciding on a treatment based on mosquito type, killing mosquitoes and ticks at every life stage, providing effective source reduction and testing insects for resistance to pesticides.

This means outdoor workers are possibly being let down by these organizations. The CDC advises workers to take several precautions. For example, they should wear light-colored clothing and expose as little skin as possible, maintain clean job sites, avoid swatting at insects and bathe daily.

Insect-borne illnesses can trigger a range of symptoms, including muscle pain, fevers, rash and fatigue. Workers who suffer from these conditions may be able to file for workers' compensation. While they don't need to accuse anyone of negligence in order to receive damages, a lawyer could help streamline the process. Workers' comp attorneys can even assist with the appeal if a claim is denied.

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