The mean cumulative incidence of emergency department tick bite visits was 49 per 100,000 visits in January 2017 to December 2019, according to research published in the April 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Grace E. Marx, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined emergency department tick bite visits during January 2017 to December 2019 by sex, age group, U.S. region, and seasonality using data from the CDC National Syndromic Surveillance Program.
The researchers identified 149,364 emergency department tick bite visits during the 36-month period. Overall, the mean cumulative incidence was 49 emergency department tick bite visits per 100,000 visits; the highest incidence was seen in the Northeast (110 per 100,000 visits). There was a bimodal seasonal distribution of emergency department tick bite visits, with a larger peak in the spring and early summer and smaller peak in the fall. This pattern aligns with the seasonality of the blacklegged tick Ixodes scapularis, which is a known human-biter. The number and incidence of emergency department tick bite visits was highest among pediatric patients aged 0 to 9 years compared with other age groups; incidence was higher among males than females.
“Educational campaigns that provide information to the public about how to safely remove ticks at home and when prophylactic antibiotics are indicated might be beneficial to reduce the impact on health care, associated health care costs, and personal risk for exposure to tickborne diseases,” the authors write.