Warming alarmism spreads faster, like a virus

Mosquito bite

“West Nile virus spreads faster,” reads the USA Today headline on a story that doesn’t actually say anything about rate of spread, just that the virus is spreading, as one would expect for a pathogen that was first seen in North America only thirteen years ago:

It’s going to get worse, says David Dausey, a professor of public health at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa.

But no, this professional epidemiologist is not talking about the typical pattern of advance for a virulent new disease. Dausey is talking about a much smaller and vastly less certain factor:

He says climate change means warmer winters, milder springs and hotter summers, all of which “create a longer season for mosquitoes to breed and ideal conditions for them to survive.” That will mean more West Nile and, public health workers worry, other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, Dausey says.

So the fast spread of West Nile (or “faster” if you prefer) is not because this dangerous disease was only recently introduced (a fact not mentioned in the article), but because of global warming, even though neither the globe, nor the contiguous United States, have warmed since West Nile first appeared here, thirteen years ago, in 1999:

NCDC, US temps since 1940

Then there’s this inconvenient report from last December:

Transmission of infectious parasites slows with rising temperatures, researchers find.

… The study was done with rodent malaria, but the researchers, at PennsylvaniaStateUniversity in University Park, expect the pattern to apply to human malaria and possibly to other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and West Nile virus.

Dausey is also from Pennsylvania. Maybe he ought to get out a little, or talk to someone besides the warming alarmists who control all the grant money. No credit to USA Today‘s Elizabeth Weise either. It’s not like its actually a mystery why West Nile is spreading, but our politicized media doesn’t want readers to know the truth. They only care about manipulating people for perceived partisan advantage.

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79 thoughts on “Warming alarmism spreads faster, like a virus

  1. One word….DDT. [snip – while possibly true, it will create an ugliness in this thread I just don’t have time to moderate – Anthony]

  2. You get the feeling that if a cold winter wiped out this disease they would be really disappointed.

  3. Always beware of science announcements from higher ed institutions that believe knowledge in a textbook is soo 20th century if not 19th and earlier.

    http://www.mercyhurst.edu/news/news-releases/article/?article_id=2674

    I really hate this idea that no one gets to know anything they have not directly experienced and that everybody gets their own perception.

    I am sure an NSF or DoED or NOAA climate change grant would be nice and helpful. Dausey does charitable work to get wheelchairs to the diasbled and immobile in developing countries which is a noble effort. But it appears to be in connection with the WHO which means an acute amount of nonsense is in the air.

  4. In all fairness I assume the response would be it started spreading thanks to the warming prior to the last thirteen years?

  5. I thought they made it clear what the cause was this year:

    “A mild winter and ample spring rains allowed the mosquito population to build up early. Heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools, which make great breeding grounds, says Michael Merchant, an entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas.”

  6. “… the occurrence of human West Nile cases were associated with drought 2-6 months prior and land surface wetting 0.5-1.5 mo prior.
    “…Drought brings avian hosts and vector mosquitoes into close contact and facilitates the epizootic cycling ….
    “…widespread drought in the spring followed by wetting during summer greatly increase the probability of a WNV epidemic in southern Florida.”
    ( from Journal Medical Entimology’s 2005 “Drought-induced amplification and epidemic transmission of West Nile virus in southern Florida”)

  7. The ability to eradicate mosquito borne disease is readily available. It is called DDT. Theri is a plethora of legitimate research that concludes that DDT does not pose a danger to humans, animals or birds.

  8. The warmists should point out to this guy that WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes.
    Mosquitoes need standing water to breed.
    The AGW orthodoxy has already claimed that droughts will be worse, and last longer, so there won’t be any standing water for the bugs to breed in.
    Unless someone is developing a strain of mosquitoes that don’t need any water – Culex anhydrensis?

  9. West Nile cases peaked in 2003 at close to 10,000 cases in the US. 2012’s numbers appear to be down about 80% to 90% from the 2003 levels. The reservoir for the virus has declined as immunity has built up in other host species.

  10. Also keep in mind that the virus originally was imported into New York City via ship from Africa.
    It did not gradually spread north from tropical climates as “climate warmed.”

  11. @ paddylol “The ability to eradicate mosquito borne disease is readily available. It is called DDT. Theri is a plethora of legitimate research that concludes that DDT does not pose a danger to humans, animals or birds.”

    Really??

    “Even small amounts of DDT can affect small microorganisms. This is especially true for microorganisms that live in the water (i.e. algae, and plankton), because the aquatic environment can bring more DDT in contact with these organisms.

    As an example of this high sensitivity, water that contains only 0.1 (g (micrograms) of DDT per liter can slow down growth and photosynthesis in green algae. ”

    “So exactly how much DDT can my body tolerate before I should really start worrying? That depends on how much you weigh. At concentration above 236 mg DDT per kg of body weight, you’ll die. Concentration of 6-10 mg/kg leads to such symptons as headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and tremors. ”

    http://www.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/pest/effects.html

    Brant

    [Reply: 236 mg/kg is a LOT of DDT! ~dbs, mod.]

  12. David Sanger says:
    August 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

    “A mild winter and ample spring rains allowed the mosquito population to build up early. Heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools, which make great breeding grounds, says Michael Merchant, an entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas.”

    “Heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools…”

    That’s quite a trick. Those pools must be rather deep if they are seldom replenished because of the scant rainfall.

  13. I’d be willing to wager that Weise hasn’t any idea:

    (a) that the Centers for Disease Control were put in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1943 because it was ground zero for U.S. malaria troubles (the original name of the organization was the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities)
    (b) that yellow fever plagued New York City from the late 17th century onward, with 2086 souls claimed during a single outbreak in 1798
    (c) that the Hamptons culture of getting away from NYC during summer was in response to yellow fever

    More on yellow fever in New York here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC194570/pdf/mlab00256-0013.pdf

    More on correcting climate-related disinformation here:

    http://amzn.to/xam4iF

    Anyone who wants to buy a copy for Weise and send it to her at USA Today would be doing the world a favor

  14. oldseadog says:
    August 15, 2012 at 11:50 am
    Lots of mossies in Alaska where I understand that it is quite cold during the winter
    ============================================================

    Siberia too. I got blood poisoning from a mozzie in Oxford, UK in 1972. Before CAGW was even a twinkle in the Climate Jihadis’s eyes…

  15. The “spread of tropical diseases” meme was proven false, yet we still see stories like this. Which may explain why I rarely watch or read MSM.

  16. Well every nature lover has their Rachel Carson Memorial birdbath Shrine in their back yard; including the place where I work, and yes it has it’s mosquito rookery in it.

    The fix is simple, a few spoonfuls of vegetable oil on the water does the trick. Skeeter larvae are air breathing, and they must constantly suface, and stick their tail through the surface film to breathe before returning to the depths. The surface oil stops them doing this, so they all suffocate. The fountain pump can still circulate the water and leave the oil undisturbed on the surface.
    Well we chose the instant remedy, and put a cup of pool chlorine (Hypochlorite) in the fountain.

    So now we have most of the gallon left. Not to worry; it’s exactly the same as Chlorox bleach only 10% instead of 5%. So the Hausfrau can save on bleach for a while, and the pool chlorine is even cheaper than the generic house bleach alternatives to Chlorox.

    The birds can figure it out.

  17. “””””…..Brant Ra says:

    August 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @ paddylol “The ability to eradicate mosquito borne disease is readily available. It is called DDT. Theri is a plethora of legitimate research that concludes that DDT does not pose a danger to humans, animals or birds.”

    Really??…..”””””

    So Brant, how many humans are known to have died from DDT poisoning, since it was first used as a mosquito control for Malaria and other tropical diseases.

    I can remember WW-II era “Social Studies” documentary films showing the natives in the various tropical war zones, being treated with DDT to control malaria. They lined up as if to get their DPT shot, and a worker blew DDT powder inside the sleeves and legs of their clothing, literally covering the person with DDT powder.

    I think Malaria alone has killed a million times as many people as DDT.

    Incidently just last Sunday, I actually saw the Rachel Carson research vessel (I presume) tied up at the docks at Moss Landing in Monterey Bay, right opposite the Moss Landing Oceanography Research facility, which I think is an arm of UC Santa Cruz, and a den of enviro-wackos.

  18. Just a second….

    “The study was done with rodent malaria, but the researchers, at Pennsylvania State University in University Park…”

    All of a sudden they’ve stopped using “Penn State” and begun using the
    official (and officious) “Pennsylvania State University” designation
    in their flack packets instead.

    No matter what you call the institution, Mike Mann and his cadre
    still call it “home”.

  19. The spread of Lyme Disease and its vector tick Ixodes are attributed to a warming climate even though their lifecycle is quite disconnected from the climate weather and, instead, synchronized (across years and four stages) by diapause (NOT hibernation) and Growing Degree Time.

    Indeed, desiccation is their greatest abiotic mortality after starvation.

  20. “Those pools must be rather deep if they are seldom replenished because of the scant rainfall.”

    Most are 8 ft. at the deep end. ☺

  21. I am always staggered by how difficult it is to measure global warming. We need lots of well sited thermometers and even space satellites to have even half a clue. However, all kinds of plants and non-human animals can detect it without any problem using no technology at all.

    What are we missing?

  22. Brant Ra says:
    August 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    “So exactly how much DDT can my body tolerate before I should really start worrying? That depends on how much you weigh. At concentration above 236 mg DDT per kg of body weight, you’ll die. Concentration of 6-10 mg/kg leads to such symptons as headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and tremors. ”

    That’s less toxic than caffeine.

  23. @beesaman: I had to read it to be sure. Amazing! Harrabin pleading FOR sanity!

    BBC has also dropped their weekly “One Planet” Gaian religious program, and Radio Nederland has dropped their weekly “Earthbeat” Gaian wackiness.

    Is an epidemic of sanity starting to spread along with the skeeters?

  24. West Nile Virus seemed to suddenly appear where before it did not exist. By coincidence it is prevalent where many Al Qaeda call home. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions but could this be a terrorist act?

  25. All the while my crazy lefty neighbors attend city council meetings to ban helicopter spraying during peak mosquito season. This month, after hatefully jealous banning of use of SRO (“single room occupancy”) zoned buildings as actual hotels, the city suddenly converted these palatial carved stone facade buildings into homeless shelters, right in the middle of their million dollar condo neighborhood and the stabbings and shootings have them screaming at each other even louder than before. Their depth of understanding on AGW amounts to headline soundbites, but boy do they ever hate fracking. “No Impact Man” is a popular speaker lately, going on and on about hand washing expensive cotton diapers as he claims that he finds his own ideas in other people’s books all the time and how frustrating that is, namely, that the other author had access to more education and sabbaticals to actually formulate and write down his own ideas. His other main topic is how so very shallow and unhappy those who are willing to buy new instead of second hand smart phones. It’s an odd combination of rent stabilized activism by anemic vegans and yuppie financial support of that activism that I don’t yet understand. I think it’s mostly that the wives of city businessmen have terrorized their poor husbands into a sort of “yes honey” support of the whole asinine fantasy agenda of the left in large part to handle their sense of white guilt brought on by basically being trophy wives who didn’t have to do much except smile to look down from their balconies onto the yards of government owned housing projects. Global warming isn’t something they study as much as a penalty ticket they buy for owning track lighting. The fewer details they consider, the more innocent they will be when schemes backfire.

  26. By 2006 all states had reported cases of WNV and California had reported >10% of all cases. The spread is complete. The number of cases and mortality are in a tail from 2006.

  27. Less than 1 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness. Most people who get infected do not develop any symptoms at all.
    I do not see any trends that warrant the articles concerns and proclamations:
    2012 cases = 693
    2011 cases = 712
    2010 cases = 1021
    2009 cases = 720
    2008 cases = 1356
    2007 cases = 3630
    2006 cases = 4,261
    2005 cases = 3,000
    2004 cases = 2,539
    2003 cases = 9,862
    2002 cases = 4,156
    2001 cases = 66
    2000 cases = 21
    1999 cases = 62

    Alcohol kills flu virus, so eat drink and be merry!

  28. As I understand it the West Nile virus isn’t very virulent in fact most people who get infected show no symptoms. I find it hard to worry about a virus when over 95% of the people that contract it will never know they have been exposed.

  29. Bill Illis says West Nile cases actually peaked in 2003. I didn’t think to check whether the reporting and the so-called epidemiologist might be that divorced from reality (not that I would put it past them, I just didn’t think of it). But sure enough, here is the CDC’s West Nile archive page with links to yearly case counts since 1999:

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&control_archive.htm

    I don’t see the numbers compiled in one place, but here is my compilation from following the individual links:

    Year total cases fatalities

    1999 62 7
    2000 21 2
    2001 66 10
    2002 4156 284
    2003 9862 264
    2004 2539 100
    2005 3000 119
    2006 4269 177
    2007 3630 124
    2008 1356 44
    2009 720 32
    2010 1021 57
    2011 712 43

    And so far to date in 2012: 693 cases and 26 deaths. At this rate there will be 42 deaths by the end of the year, slightly less than last year. So much for “spreading faster.” Actually, it is contracting a bit less fast. I gave USA Today far too much credit!

    Live and learn. I’ll bookmark this for inevitable next time a non-existent increase in mosquito bites get blamed on no longer occurring global warming. There is a local epidemic in Texas, due presumably to local weather and other local factors, and there will be other such weather-not-climate events in the future for the alarmists to exploit. Anybody have a river they can hose through this Augean stable?

  30. Another Canadian Press advertising job for the carbon capture lobby:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/only-2-per-cent-of-canadians-dont-believe-in-climate-change-poll/article4482183/

    The poll was done for IPAC CO2

    http://www.ipac-co2.com/about-ipac-co2/who-we-are

    Looks like questions were kind of “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

    it is worth mentioning that Alberta’s Premier Allison Redford is going ahead with a multi billion dollar project of underground carbone storage and thus will need all the industry and media propagandists’ help to sell this waste to Albertans…

  31. ” NikFromNYC says:
    August 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm ”

    Dude, you need a stiff drink. It’s a trivial exercise to find and point out human folly. It has always been so. You can let it put up your blood pressure or you can enjoy it. I enjoy satire. On today’s menu I have the Mikado by G&S. Your tastes may vary.

    As others have pointed out, we have a record low population of mosquitoes this summer. It is strange that even the most rabid greenies aren’t starting a campaign to save the mosquitoes from extinction. How can they not notice? Mosquitoes are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem. Maybe the poor mosquitoes just aren’t cute enough.

  32. I read somewhere that Texas mosquito swarms have actually killed cattle by drawing excessive amounts of blood. So it should not surprise anyone that Texas would have more cases of flu just by the massive population of mosquito…the size of Texas and Texas size swarms.

  33. polistra:

    At August 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm you ask

    @beesaman: I had to read it to be sure. Amazing! Harrabin pleading FOR sanity!

    BBC has also dropped their weekly “One Planet” Gaian religious program, and Radio Nederland has dropped their weekly “Earthbeat” Gaian wackiness.

    Is an epidemic of sanity starting to spread along with the skeeters?

    I answer.
    No, you are observing the slow process of retreat from the AGW-scare.

    The scare reached its peak in the run-up to the Copenhagen Conference which was intended to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but it failed. When that failure happened I said – on WUWT and several other places – that the AGW-scare was dead. It would continue to show signs of life but it was like a beheaded chicken running around a farmyard: its movement disguised the fact of its demise. And I said its demise would not be announced but the scare would gradually fade away. So, in 20 years time few would remember it unless reminded. This would be similar to the ‘acid rain’ scare of the 1980s: few remember that unless reminded of it.

    Since then I have seen nothing to change that view. “Harrabin pleading FOR sanity” is merely one example of the slow retreat from the dead issue. Another example is the growing plethora of trolls who infest WUWT: they are desperately attempting ‘first aid’ to stop the demise of the AGW-scare because they fail to recognise the issue is a moving corpse.

    Now we need to guard against two things.
    (a) Political effects of the AGW-scare need to be minimised and curtailed (expensive effects of the ‘acid rain’ scare still continue; e.g. the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, LCPD, continue to damage energy policies).
    and
    (b) The inevitable next false scare needs to be discerned and prevented or, failing that, inhibited.

    Richard

  34. What a dilemma! Shall we spend $trillion$ in dubious climate mitigation schemes that will take decades to achieve any measurable impact even under the most optimistic assumptions, or spend a few million in carefully targeted mosquito control measures? This is actually a tough question for bureaucrats to decide: saving other people’s money is simply not as attractive as advancing one’s own career. “Let’s just say it’s for the children and go for the $trillion$ boss; they fall for it every time”.

    There are more targeted approaches to mosquito control than large area spraying with DDT or other insecticides and in fact the US funds these measures in developing countries with malaria problems. Insect-borne diseases are a serious problem today as they have been for all of recorded human history (and certainly before that as well). They will continue to be a problem whether the climate warms, cools or stays the same. In any climate I am willing to live there will be insects carrying diseases.

    Our technological civilization, made possible among other things by fossil fuels, gives us options for controlling diseases and disease vectors such as insects which our pre-industrial, pre fossil-fuel ancestors did not have. We can’t blame West Nile Virus on “climate change” and trying to address it as a “climate change” problem instead of a disease vector problem criminally stupid.

  35. Brant Ra’s whinging about DDT is pretty funny. I saw Norman Borlaug eat a heaping tablespoon of DDT in the 1970’s. He died at age 95 in 2004, none the worse for the DDT. Then again, Norman Borlaug was a great man who cared about and benefited humanity greatly. Brant Ra? Well….

  36. From the CDC website about West Nile Virus:

    Serious Symptoms in a Few People.
    About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

    Milder Symptoms in Some People.
    Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

    No Symptoms in Most People.
    Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

    No worries.

  37. George E. Smith says:
    August 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    “””””…..Brant Ra says:

    August 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @ paddylol “The ability to eradicate mosquito borne disease is readily available. It is called DDT. Theri is a plethora of legitimate research that concludes that DDT does not pose a danger to humans, animals or birds.”

    Really??…..”””””

    So Brant, how many humans are known to have died from DDT poisoning, since it was first used as a mosquito control for Malaria and other tropical diseases.

    =========

    For practical purposes DDT is not immediately toxic to humans. But the molecule sticks around a long time in the environment. The reason it was banned from indiscriminate spraying was that it was building up over time in the bodies of upper level predators and for some reason it caused birds like ospreys and bald eagles to lay thin shelled eggs that cracked before the chicks matured. Why should that worry you? You are a top level predator.

    BTW, it used to be the case the the use of DDT for disease control was still permitted when there is no reasonable alternative. I believe that’s still the case. What is banned is the indiscriminate use of DDT to control agricultural pests and non-disease carrying insects.

  38. How is it that a warming planet just happens to be beneficial for bad mosquitoes and viruses yet is harmful for all the good things living on earth? It defies reason. It’s almost as if the premise that “global warming is evil” has now become an undisputed conclusion. All things bad must be caused by global warming and all predictions must fall inline with that axiom to be “approved” by the gatekeepers.

  39. Dallas, Texas mayor Weds. declared a WNV state of emergency after 465 human cases, with some dying. Texas had a “rainy spring” which came following a notorious drought; just like my above linked epidemiology study.
    The drought brings the birds to fewer water sources, the mosquitos had more opportunity to bite those birds & the result is more hosting of WNV in the viral vector process. Spraying is going forward from in Texas & other states now that Center Disease Control recording almost 700 human WNV cases in USA.

  40. If ospreys and bald eagles are worth the deaths of millions of humans, then how fast will they be dismantling the raptor slaying wind turbines? It’s for the raptors!

    Mr. Obama – tear down those windmills!

  41. The only proper way to understand the spread of the West Nile virus is to think of it as a newly arrived invasive foreign species. From a few grow many. Global warming has nothing to do with it. How many mating pairs of strange animals have been dropped off at the side of the road by pet owners who grew tired of them. They start to spread if they have no natural enemies. Do we blame global warming for that?
    How West Nile got here we don’t know but if it doesn’t kill its new local hosts it will spread. If it finds our local mesquitoes compatible hosts it will spread. Global warming has nothing to do with it. The article is beyond silly.
    Eugne WR Gallun

  42. dp says
    Mr. Obama — tear down those windmills!

    Beyond funny! I am totally jealous! Impossible to top!

    Eugene WR Gallun

  43. Here in Australia we are having a normal cold winter, younger people that have not seen normal are amazed that spiders, roaches and other bugs are dying off. What a shame, tell them that is normal and they stare at you. But they are starting to come around.

  44. NikFromNYC [August 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm] says:

    “All the while my crazy lefty neighbors attend city council meetings to ban helicopter spraying during peak mosquito season. This month, after hatefully jealous banning of use of SRO (“single room occupancy”) zoned buildings as actual hotels, the city suddenly converted these palatial carved stone facade buildings into homeless shelters, right in the middle of their million dollar condo neighborhood and the stabbings and shootings have them screaming at each other even louder than before. Their depth of understanding on AGW amounts to headline soundbites, but boy do they ever hate fracking. “No Impact Man” is a popular speaker lately, going on and on about hand washing expensive cotton diapers as he claims that he finds his own ideas in other people’s books all the time and how frustrating that is, namely, that the other author had access to more education and sabbaticals to actually formulate and write down his own ideas. His other main topic is how so very shallow and unhappy those who are willing to buy new instead of second hand smart phones. It’s an odd combination of rent stabilized activism by anemic vegans and yuppie financial support of that activism that I don’t yet understand. I think it’s mostly that the wives of city businessmen have terrorized their poor husbands into a sort of “yes honey” support of the whole asinine fantasy agenda of the left in large part to handle their sense of white guilt brought on by basically being trophy wives who didn’t have to do much except smile to look down from their balconies onto the yards of government owned housing projects. Global warming isn’t something they study as much as a penalty ticket they buy for owning track lighting. The fewer details they consider, the more innocent they will be when schemes backfire.”

    Nik nails it exactly, painting a perfect portrait of the masochistic eco-tards infesting our area.

    In addition to despising fracking and also the various pipelines they now have their sights set upon killing Indian Point, a nuke plant that supplies 30% of the juice used by the vermin in the city. It should be noted that the current Governor Cuomo, swept into office with great cognitive dissonance and the support of every newspaper including the Post, is the son of the earlier Governor Mario Cuomo who killed the fully completed multi-billion dollar Shoreham nuke plant before it could even generate a single watt!

    History is chock full of fabled siege stories of great military planning, execution and significance. However I cannot think of a single time where the city under siege ever intentionally did it to themselves by severing all the energy supply lines in such an act of cognitive suicide. Perhaps we should just skip to the end of this story and build a wall around it and call it Escape From New York.

  45. Coincidentally, from the International Society for Infectious Diseases Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases – ProMED – http://www.promedmail.org/?p=2400:1000: Archive Number: 20120816.1246423 Date: Tue 14 Aug 2012 Source: US CDC [edited] http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

    Thus far in 2012, 43 states have reported West Nile virus [WNV] infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 693 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 26 deaths, have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, 406 (59 per cent) were classified as neuro-invasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis), and 287 (41 per cent) were classified as non-neuro-invasive disease.

    The 693 cases reported thus far in 2012 are the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the 2nd week of the month of August since West Nile virus was 1st detected in the United States in 1999. Over 80 per cent of the cases have been reported from 6 states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California), and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.

    communicated by: ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

    [This report does not offer reasons why human WNV infections are occurring early in the transmission season. Many states are experiencing drought conditions this summer [2012], which would lead one to postulate that WNV mosquito populations ought to be lower than usual, with reduced probability of transmission. Or perhaps the susceptible cohort of wild bird WNV host populations is greater than usual. Or perhaps people are being less careful about avoiding mosquito bites. It will be interesting to see which factors are involved in this spike in cases as studies are completed. It will also be interesting to learn how many patients convalescent from WNV infections develop chronic kidney disease, as reported in ProMED-mail archive no. 20120714.1202043 below.

    A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map showing the locations of the states mentioned in this report can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/01bw. – Mod.TY]

  46. BS all the way down. Even the old DDT “eggshell” conviction is dubious. The research was spotty, amateurish, and showed severe symptoms of fudging and data snoopy editing.

    As an interesting side note, DDT is not even an insecticide. It is a strong persistent repellent.

  47. I live in the south of France where mean temperatures are about 4°C warmer than the English Midlands where I spent most of my working life. The mosquito population is about one percent of what it was up north! Why? Lack of standing water. I remember talking to a French agricultural labourer who said that the entire coastal fringe was almost uninhabitable before it was drained and sprayed with DDT after WW11. Mussolini did the same with the Pontine Marshes, freeing a malarial swamp where life expectancy was 35 years into a rich environment for 500 000 people.
    Oh! and just in case anyone should suggest it: I have no fascist sympathy.

  48. If I understand the logic, the drought is causing standing water where there was once flowing water. This allows more mosquitoes to reproduce. OK, that’s plausible. I’ll buy that.

    However, there is no evidence the drought is caused by AGW. The drought hasn’t exceeded any natural variation experienced in the past. There is no evidence of climate change at work here. Malaria was also common throughout this country before we drained the swamps and took other measures to control mosquitoes.

    Anybody who knows anything knows these facts. Journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and other wondrous products of our education system evidently don’t know that.

  49. In my view, much of the best evidence on climate change comes from data on species distributions and seasonal phenology. When I typed “”Climate change and species distributions into Google Scholar I got about 1/2 a million hits. Many of the best review papers date back to the early 2000’s (2000 to 2006) and document changes in geographical distributions (northward in the northern hemisphere) of thousands of species. These species were probably not influenced by UHI or weather station siting. Phenology refers to the seaonal timing of events such as flowering, breeding and migration. Earlier occurence in these events have been noted in thousands of species. Many studies also docment the movement of plant species to higher altitudinal elevations. I can tell you that such scientific students have accelerated in recent year. When I was in a scientific meeting in Europe, I was impressed by the number of studies reporting the first appearance of plants from Spain, Portugal and France in The Netherlands and Germany. I guess that the fact that European countrys are small compared to the US accentuates reporting on these northward species invasions.

    If you want to doubt or discount these studies, try going to Google Scholar. Many studies are behind the “pay walls,” but there are thousands that can be downloaded for free by anyone. Articles in Science and Nature are also readily available at many libraries. Read ten or a hundred or a thousand studies and see what you think. Although some knowledge of statistics is helpful, such data and evidence is readily understood by a general, nonspecialist audience.

  50. BillD says: August 16, 2012 at 6:47 am
    I don’t doubt what you say you found via Google Scholar, however, consider this. One can go to the treeline, in altitude, and see dead trees above where trees can currently live. Therefore, it used to be warmer. I find the perceptible ‘migration’ questionable as fraction of a degree over a century or more is pretty insignificant, further we constantly discover species previously unseen. Having had an ‘endangered’ lynx at my back door, eight years prior to their “re-introduction”, I’m not impressed with the census of wildlife nor plants.

  51. Steve Keohane says:
    August 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Mosquitoes need standing, still water to reproduce. They don’t do well in drought.
    _____________________________
    Therefore we can blame the EPA who will not let you drain a mud puddle in your drive much less a swamp.

    (A friend had his congressman out to show him the “Swamp” the EPA refused to allow him to fill in. And yeah it was a hole in his dirt driveway! )

    Here are a couple more cases:
    Man sentenced to three years for cleaning-up an illegal dump site and adding topsoil

    … Pozsgai’s property is in an industrial area of town, far from any ocean, bay, or river. It isn’t a marsh, swamp, bog, or anything close to it. Nor does it serve as a fish or wildlife habitat, unless you want to count the thousands of mosquitos that used to breed in the water standing in the old tires. Nevertheless, the Corps’ soil sample of the site, as well as the presence of such “rare” vegetation as skunk cabbage, indicated that most of the dump site was technically a “wetland.”

    Indeed, the Corps has a regulation which authorizes placing fill on 10 acres or less of “wetlands” that are essentially isolated. If a citizen wishes to take advantage of this general permit, the regulation specifically states that no application for a permit is required. Yet the Corps was demanding that Pozsgai fill one out! With the help of his daughter, he tried in vain to get several engineers to complete the confusing and complicated paperwork….

    OH, and you can steal a semi-truck and trailer use it all over the country and get a MAX of 2 months probation. Go figure.

  52. Ixodes phenology boggles the conventional mind, with or without statistics.

    An empirical quantitative framework for the seasonal population dynamics of the tick Ixodes ricinus. International Journal for Parasitology 32 (2002) 979-989)

  53. @ Brian H says: “DDT is not even an insecticide. It is a strong persistent repellent.”

    LOL That is the most moronic statement about DDT I have ever seen. DDT only acts as an irritant to mosquitoes after they have developed immunity to it’s lethal effects. This does not take long, with resistance to DDT developing in just 2 – 3 years in the tropics.

    The main reason that DDT use declined and stopped was because it STOPPED killing the insect targeted due to insecticide resistance.

    All these idiots think DDT is a magic bullet that can save the world. NOT. It is like many other human solutions – temporary. Life will adapt and survive. BTW, USA bedbugs populations are 100% resistant to DDT.

    BTW, that picture appears to be the wrong genus of mosquito. West Nile is generally spread by Culex species.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culex

  54. ****
    Doug Huffman says:
    August 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    The spread of Lyme Disease and its vector tick Ixodes are attributed to a warming climate
    ****

    Most likely the deer-population explosion…..

  55. “””””…..

    BioBob says:

    August 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    @ Brian H says: “DDT is not even an insecticide. It is a strong persistent repellent.”

    LOL That is the most moronic statement about DDT I have ever seen. DDT only acts as an irritant to mosquitoes after they have developed immunity to it’s lethal effects. This does not take long, with resistance to DDT developing in just 2 – 3 years in the tropics.

    The main reason that DDT use declined and stopped was because it STOPPED killing the insect targeted due to insecticide resistance……”””””

    Always happy to read info from those in the know.
    The massive spraying of people and anything else, as I saw on film footage in the 40s, probably helped hasten the diminution of its effectiveness. By the same token, such massive overspraying possibly helped exacerbate whatever deleterious effects that DDT may have had on birds and other species. Who knows; more judicious application of DDT to the problem might have reduced both the rapid adaptation, and also the negative effects.

    I seem to recall that DDT in the environment itself is not such a problem; but evidently bacterial mechanisms change it to something called DDE, which is the agent that is for the birds.

    But then at my age, I seem to recall all kinds of stuff that may not be reliable. Maybe Myth Busters can do an expose on DDT.

    I know that row crop farmers used machines that went down their geometrically laid out fields, and sprayed herbicides; not on the crop, but on the gap between the rows, with the aim of eliminating weeds and such that soaked up water, and also robbed the soil of nutrients wanted for the crop.

    Well if all went according to plan, there shouldn’t be any weeds in that gap anyway, so most of that herbicide was wasted spraying the dirt.
    A friend of mine developed a smart spray head, that illuminated the ground with multicolored plus infra red LEDs, and then looked for the spectral reflectance signal. Most of the time they got a boring dirt spectrum, so they didn’t spray anything; but now and then, that Chlorophyl IR signal would come back at them designating some weed or other was there. Then ZAP !! the weed got blasted. Farmers don’t like to spend money on pesticides or herbicides to spray on dirt or farm workers, or anything else but pests.

  56. A couple of things. First, I think it is a little far-fetched that mosquitoes could kill a cow–unless that cow was at death’s door anyway.

    Second, some people like an Oxford comma. Do I have a vote for an NYC paragraph? :)

  57. It is at least plausible that global warming would put some parts of the Earth at risk for insect-borne diseases that they had never been threatened by before. Boreal forests in Alaska are being severely damaged by beetles that have become able to survive at high northern latitudes only recently, thanks to rising temperatures. The trees have no defenses against these beetles; we can assume, then, that the trees evolved in an environment where the beetles didn’t exist. If El-Nino is causing this warming, then we need to find out why we are experiencing a series of El-Ninos whose strength is unprecedented in the evolutionary history of the trees in Alaska’s forests.

  58. The dry summer in eastern Canada resulted in a sharp drop in mosquitos and biting flies. I noticed I could sit out on my patio in the evenings without protection. Also, I visited a mining exploration project in central Quebec in what is usually the height of the “fly season” and spent the day rambling over outcrops without the need for repellent – so I would take the idea of hot and dry out of the equation for good conditions for the West Nile V. The rest of it I leave to entymologists to speculate on.

    I’ve battled flies and mosquitos from Yukon/Northern BC, the Precambrian of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania in my work and study from the middle 50s to the present – I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this narrow specialty in the same manner that the Innuit are experts on snow and ice. I may have invented the counter-orbiting cast iron frying pan method for knocking down moose flys that get into an orbit around your head. Dungerpooching, I have practiced, but I learned this from a New Brunswicker – you stick a pine nettle up the rear of a large moose fly and the counterweight won’l allow it to level off and it rockets vertically out of sight. Also, about 40 years ago I bought a T-shirt in Whitehorse that bragged the greatest air show on earth between June and August, but I found my flying friends not nearly as voracious as they are north of Lake Superior.

  59. Oh and to give you a flavour of the central presence of flies and mosquitos in geological field camps, a late mining colleague of mine who became deputy minister of the Ministry of Energy Mines and Resources (probaly now called |Resources and Sustainable Development or some such) wrote his biography entitled, “From Black Flies and Mosquitos to Black Ties and Tuxedos”. He was a bit of a poet.

  60. It’s possible that the total number of WNV cases in Texas this year will approach the total cases of 2,202 from 1999 to 2011 in the lone star state. Already this is the largest number of cases ever recorded in Texas of WNV by this date in August. The largest number of cases in Texas for a single year (2003) was between 700-800. CDC has the exact number.

    There seems to be a misconception going around about drought and stagnant water. Drought conditions contribute to water stagnation until the point of complete evaporation of pooled water no longer being supplied by rain. At some pooint all the pools will dry up and the insect vectors depending on water for their larval life cycles will diminish.

    Sophmoric arguments either linking this outbreak to global warming or denying that AGW is happening doesn’t do anyone who has become sick or died of this disease any good.

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