The Forecasts Are In: 2016 Will Be a Big Year for Ticks and Mosquitoes

SALEM, ORE. (April 18, 2016) —The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), the leading source on parasitic diseases that threaten the health of pets and people, has released its annual parasite forecasts. The predictions for 2016 show the threat of vector-borne disease agents transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes will continue to spread, creating a year-round menace to both pets and their owners.

The Annual Parasite Forecasts measure multiple data points to calculate the probability of a dog testing positive for the agents of four key parasite-transmitted diseases: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and heartworm.

“We use our annual forecast to help veterinarians and pet owners understand parasites are a true risk to both pets and people,” said CAPC President Susan Little, DVM, PhD. “The maps inform our forecasts, which are critical educational tools for veterinary hospitals, and allow veterinarians to demonstrate to pet owners that parasites are ever-changing and widespread, sometimes surprisingly so.”

For 2016, CAPC predicts the following risk areas for parasite-related diseases:

  • Lyme disease is a high threat again this year. Ticks that transmit the agent of Lyme disease have expanded their range and become established in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky. However, New England, which has traditionally been in the “bulls-eye of Lyme disease” is thankfully forecasted to see below normal activity although infection in this region still poses a major risk.
  • Ehrlichiosis is already common to western Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, but these regions are expected to have even higher activity this year. Increased risk is also forecast for southern California and throughout the southeast, especially east of the Mississippi River.
  • Transmission of the agents of anaplasmosis is poised to be a problem in northern California, New York state, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia where it is forecasted to have an active year.
  • Infection with heartworm, which causes a potentially fatal disease and is transmitted by mosquitoes, is expected to be above average nationwide. The forecast also predicts the hyper-endemic prevalence seen in the lower Mississippi River region will expand into eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana.

CAPC offers prevalence data that localizes reported parasitic disease activity at the county level for veterinarians to use in their discussions about testing and year-round protection. This information is available for free at the CAPC website or in the free CAPC App available for download at the iTunes App Store https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/parasite-map/id797464506?mt=8. Practices can use these maps as an educational tool to stress the importance of  testing and year-round protection.

The Parasite Forecasts represent the collective expert opinion of academic parasitologists who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor vector-borne disease agent transmission and changing life cycles of parasites. The annual CAPC Parasite Forecasts are based on many factors including temperature, precipitation and population density.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (http://www.capcvet.org) is an independent not-for-profit foundation comprised of parasitologists, veterinarians, medical, public health and other professionals that provides information for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people. Formed in 2002, the CAPC works to help veterinary professionals and pet owners develop the best practices in parasite management that protect pets from parasitic infections and reduce the risk of zoonotic parasite transmission.
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