The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Climate Change Linked to Spread of Lyme Disease
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.
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.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."