Climate Change May Be Responsible for the Spread of Lyme Disease

Written by Anastasia Pantsios and reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

As if we needed another reason to deplore the impacts of climate change, its warming effects are encouraging the northward spread of Lyme disease, carried by the black-legged tick which rides on deer, rodents and dogs, the Daily Climate reports. While common in the U.S., it was rare in Canada until recently. Because of that, Canadians eventually diagnosed with the disease were delayed in getting appropriate treatment.

BlackleggedTick

The range of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is expanding north due to the warming effects of climate change. Photo credit: Shutterstock

But with more attention comes more action. This summer legislation to promote Lyme prevention and timely diagnosis and treatment passed the House of Commons by unanimous consent.

“So many members of Parliament have been hearing these stories that are heartbreaking,” said Green Party sponsor Elizabeth May.

The number of cases reported in the U.S. has nearly tripled from 1991 to 2013. The range of the disease, initially identified in Connecticut in 1977, is found primarily in a cluster of northern states. The U.S. Environmental Protection Association added it to its list of climate change indicators this year.

And back in 2005, Canadian researcher Nicholas Ogden published a report, ”Climate change and the potential for range expansion of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis [the tick associated with Lyme disease] in Canada.” It mapped potential tick habitat growth in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

“The projected degrees of theoretical range expansion and increased tick survival by the 2020s suggest that actual range expansion of I. scapularis may be detectable within the next two decades,” he concluded. “Seasonal tick activity under climate change scenarios was consistent with maintenance of endemic cycles of the Lyme disease agent in newly established tick populations. The geographic range of I. scapularis-borne zoonoses may, therefore, expand significantly northwards as a consequence of climate change this century.”

Last year, 500 cases of Lyme disease were reported across Canada, but Canada’s Public Health Agency (PHA) predicts 10,000 cases annually by the 2020s thanks to warmer temperatures that increase the size of the favorable habitat for the tick. Warming also speeds up the tick’s life cycle meaning that more ticks survive to reproduce.

“The spread of Lyme disease is driven, in part, by climate change, as the tick vector spreads northwards from endemic areas of the United States,” said Steven Sternthal, acting director of the PHA’s infectious diseases prevention and control branch.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

99 comments

Sherry Kohn
Sherry K2 years ago

Noted

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Dennis D.,
You can continue to deny the scientific debate. The only one you are fooloing is yourself.

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Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

Dan there is no debate.. Therefore you must be admitting to being wrong.. Or you are still playing the fool.

Some more common sense things to do to help in minimizing climate change/global warming.

What YOU can do
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/whatucando.htm

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Dennis D.
How did you arrive at that conclusion? I prefer to side with the physicists who state that the evidence is inconclusive. It may be manmade, but the changes are still within the range of natural variability. I will continue to partake in the debate by physicists over the causes and effects of global warming. Are you with us?

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Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

So now you are con ceding that climate change/global warming has been caused by man. Finally now we can begin to have a sensible conversation..The debate among scientists has long since ended scooter.. So thanks for finally coming to your senses.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Dennis D.,
No one is forcing you to debate. You can sit this one, and let the scientists debate the causes and effects, if you prefer. I will side with the physicists on this one.

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Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

10 Solutions for Climate Change
Ten possibilities for staving off catastrophic climate change
November 26, 2007 |By David Biello

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-solutions-for-climate-change/

You are here:EPA HomeClimate ChangeWhat You Can Do
What You Can Do
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/


As I have told you enough times, Dan. The debate is over. We caused this.. Now is the time to discuss. How we can do our part in minimizing, at the very least, what we all caused.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Dennis D ,
You may call it BS. However, as I showed your previously, physicists are still uncertain as to the magnitude of the corresponding causes. The debate exists as to whether we should enact actions to minimize possible effects of climate change or pursue paths of greater wealth accumulation, thereby being better able to tackle the situation in the future, when we are more certain. There us also significant debate as to whether the changes will be for the better or worse. You are free to pursue your own beliefs and actions, and leave the climate debate to us scientists. That is fine with me. However, you should not project your opinions onto others, as if the are universally accepted.

I will repeat, I will debate the uncertainties associated with our knowledge of climate change. The only things established for sure are that temperatures and CO2 have risen in the past century. The connection between the two is more ambiguous.

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Dennis D.
Past Member 4 years ago

Dan what is truly amazing is that I have told you there is no need tio debate this.. The debate is long since over.

Now as for how we can start to minimize climate change/global warming.

How to Do Your Part to Stop Global Warming
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Do-Your-Part-to-Stop-Global-Warming/

This is where the conversation begins. Not going over the same BS of denying that we all caused this climate change/global warming.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 years ago

Dennis D.,
Truly amazing. Every time that I present evidence to support my claims, you retreat to the same mantra. I understand that you do not to take my word on anything (your loss), but why you refuse to listen to the top physicists, is beyond me. Are you ever going to follow the advances of science? If you refuse to listen to the scientists regarding this issue, then where are you getting your information? How long can you persist in your denial? Calling everyone a fraud, who disagrees with your beliefs, does not lead much credence to your stance.

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