Report Summary: The Role of Local Environmental Health Departments in Tick-Related Activities and Services.

Author:Hall, S. Kayleigh

Editor's Note: NEHA strives to provide up-to-date and relevant information on environmental health and to build partnerships in the profession. In pursuit of these goals, we feature this column on environmental health services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in every issue of the Journal,

In these columns, authors from CDC's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, as well as guest authors, will share insights and information about environmental health programs, trends, issues, and resources, The conclusions in these columns are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CDC,

Kayleigh Hall is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellow in the National Center for Environmental Health, Dr, Chelsea Gridley-Smith is a director of environmental health at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Amy Chang is a senior program analyst at NACCHO, Dr, Amy Ullmann is a public health advisor in CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

Cases of tickborne disease have more than doubled in the past 13 years and represent three quarters of all reported vectorborne disease eases in the U.S. Lyme disease alone accounted for over 80% of reported tickborne diseases (Rosenberg et al., 2018). Certain regions of the U.S. have been more greatly impacted than others. For example, reported eases of spotted fever rickettsiosis increased dramatically from 2016-2017, with New England, East North Central, and Middle Atlantic regions reporting a 215%, 78%, and 65% increase in eases, respectively. Similarly, reported eases of anaplasmosis increased by 39% (Heitman et al., 2019). Furthermore, tickborne diseases are emerging, including Borrelia miyamotoi disease, Bourbon virus disease, and Heartland virus disease (Rosenberg et al., 2018). Causing further alarm, the number of counties in the northeastern U.S. at high risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 320% since the late 1990s (Kugeler. Farley, Forrester, & Mead, 2015).

The steadily increasing numbers of reported tickborne diseases in the U.S. have become a vexing public health issue, placing strain on state and local health departments (Rosenberg et al., 2018). Slightly more than half of all local health departments (LHDs) provide vector control services and a recent survey of the environmental health (EH) workforce shows that 38% of EH professionals reported working in vector control...

To continue reading