Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lyme Disease and Climate Change

When I moved back here 20 years ago, there was no Lyme disease here, because the cute little ticks couldn't survive our cold winters. Paul worked at Baker Institute then and annually trekked to Westchester to collect ticks for vets to study.

This week, our oldest dog tested positive for Lyme. Not only is it here, it's literally in our back yard.

Although PZ suggested that Paul was responsible for dropping a pregnant female and starting the ball rolling, I have to think it's climate related.


diane zahler said...

Here's a link to a map that shows where it was in 2006. I think it's probably gotten to you by now. Welcome to our world!

Anonymous said...

My understanding -- which is primarily hearsay so take it with a healthy dose of anti-tick spray -- is that lyme came over a few decades ago from Europe, where it has been known for some time. The spread north in the eastern US may have just been a natural slow spread based on an original introduction in the south, not a result of climate change.
But I'm guessing.

diane zahler said...

Researchers are quite convinced that the northern spread of the deer tick and Lyme Disease, now found in southern Canada, is due to global warming. The disease was first noted in Germany in the late 1800s (tho it might have existed since the Ice Age), but the European bacterium is somewhat different than the American. Nobody knows where it first landed in the US, or whether it was here before the European version arrived.

Elizabeth said...

Ugh - time to flea and tick the dog again. Walking in the woods the past couple of days I've noticed bugs - mosquitoes? So early?

I look forward to the first frost and a few months when I don't feel compelled to dump caustic chemicals on my animals. I know they appreciate the break.