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Chapter 3 : Arthropod-Borne Diseases: the Camper’s Uninvited Guests
Arthropods are the invertebrate phylum that includes both the eight-legged arachnids (ticks, mites, and spiders) and the six-legged insects (mosquitoes, ants, bees, and wasps). Leisure-time activity frequently brings people in contact with these pests, so bites and stings are often part of the price paid for outdoor fun. Most bites and stings are simply painful nuisances that resolve without treatment. Unfortunately, some arthropods, most notably ticks, pose the risk of transmitting serious infectious diseases such as Lyme disease (Borrelia) and rickettsial infections. This article will focus primarily on North American tick-borne diseases and syndromes. In the tropics, mosquitoes and other arthropods are a major source of disease transmission, but a few mosquito and other arthropod-borne North American diseases (e.g., babesiosis and West Nile disease) also merit discussion. Climate change and global transportation have the potential to change disease patterns, and many so-called tropical diseases are moving north or appearing in new areas.