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Florida officials worried about increase in ticks & tick-borne illnesses' impact on state's tourism industry

Photo from WFLA

POSTED: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 9:41am

Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are causing increasing problems across parts of the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year,

In Florida the rate of growth of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, is as much as 150 percent in the last 10 years, making Florida among the top 20 states for the number of cases reported annually.

Florida is vulnerable to the effects of tick-borne diseases because so much of its economy depends on tourism.

"Tourism is the number one industry," said Holly Donohoe, Associate Director Of the Tourism Crisis Management Institute at the University of Florida.

"On any given day there are 5 tourists for every one resident in this state and the second most popular activities is nature-based outdoor activities."

Theme parks are the number one attraction.

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