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Deadly Kissing Bug Spreads to Delaware, CDC Confirms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.
The CDC had warned in September of last year that the bug was spreading north from South and Central America, and had already been sighted in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, The Delaware News Journal reported. But the agency confirmed last week that a bug that bit a child's face in Kent, Delaware in July 2018 was indeed a kissing bug.
Kissing bugs earned their name for their habit of biting people on their face, according to the World Health Organization. They are also called triatomine bugs, a range of species that can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, the CDC explains. Chagas can lead to stroke or heart failure, though most people who are infected experience no symptoms. Initial symptoms can include fever, fatigue, aches, headache, rash and swelling at the site of transmission, according to ABC News.
A variety of triatomine bugs at different stages of development.
There are currently 300,000 people in the U.S. and 8 million people in Central and South America living with the disease. Most of those living in the U.S. with the disease were infected while visiting Latin America,The Delaware News Journal reported. However, researchers have predicted U.S. infections could increase with climate change.
"We know the bugs are already across the bottom two-thirds of the U.S., so the bugs are here, the parasites are here. Very likely with climate change they will shift further north and the range of some species will extend," Loyola University Chagas disease specialist Patricia Dorn said in a 2012 University of Vermont press release reported by ScienceDaily.
Delaware is one of the northernmost states in which the bug has been documented, The Miami Herald reported.
A map showing the U.S. range of kissing bugs.
The bug's presence was confirmed in Delaware after a family sought the help of the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter while she was watching TV in her bedroom, ABC News reported. The family had not left the area before the incident, and the girl had an air-conditioning unit in her window. The girl's health was not impacted by the bite.
The CDC recommends that people protect themselves from kissing bugs by sealing cracks leading into the home, keeping yard lights away from the house, as they can attract bugs, having pets sleep indoors at night, removing brush or rock piles near the home, using screens on windows and keeping the home and outdoor pet areas clean.
If you find a bug you think is a kissing bug, place it, unsquashed, in a container and take it to a health department or university for identification. Clean any areas it might have touched with one-part bleach to nine-parts water.
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.