Junk Science Journalism: "Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change."

Guest ridiculing by David Middleton

This headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye this morning:

Having grown up in Connecticut, my recollection was that the Lyme disease “epidemic” was largely driven by humans coming into more frequent contact with deer and the ticks they carry as developers built more houses in wooded, rural areas of the State.  When I was a kid (1960’s), we would often here gunshots in the woods behind our house… Deer hunters.  Those woods are now occupied by humans and expensive houses.

The article is quite long-winded, as evidenced by the following excerpt:

 

Ticks rising

In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change

Evolution has endowed the big-footed snowshoe hare with a particularly nifty skill. Over a period of about 10 weeks, as autumn days shorten in the high peaks and boreal forests, the nimble nocturnal hare transforms itself. Where it was once a tawny brown to match the pine needles and twigs amid which it forages, the hare turns silvery white, just in time for the falling of winter snow. This transformation is no inconsequential feat. Lepus americanus, as it is formally known, is able to jump 10 feet and run at a speed of 27 miles per hour, propelled by powerful hind legs and a fierce instinct to live. But it nonetheless ends up, 86 per cent of the time by one study, as a meal for a lynx, red fox, coyote, or even a goshawk or great horned owl. The change of coat is a way to remain invisible, to hide in the brush or fly over the snow unseen, long enough at least to keep the species going.

Snowshoe hares are widely spread throughout the colder, higher reaches of North America – in the wilderness of western Montana, on the coniferous slopes of Alaska, and in the forbidding reaches of the Canadian Yukon. The Yukon is part of the Beringia, an ancient swathe of territory that linked Siberia and North America by a land bridge that, with the passing of the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago, gave way to the Bering Strait. All manner of mammals, plants and insects ferried east and west across that bridge, creating, over thousands of years, the rich boreal forest. But in this place, north of the 60-degree latitude, the axiom of life coloured by stinging cold, early snow and concrete ribbons of ice has been upended in the cosmic blink of an eye. The average temperature has increased by 2 degrees Celsius in the past half century, and by 4 degrees Celsius in the winter. Glaciers are rapidly receding, releasing ancient torrents of water into Kluane Lake, a 150-square-mile reflecting pool that has been called a crown jewel of the Yukon. Lightning storms, ice jams, forest fires, rain – these things are suddenly more common. Permafrost is disappearing.

Such rapid-fire changes across a broad swathe of northern latitudes are testing the adaptive abilities of the snowshoe hare, however swift and nimble it might be. Snow arrives later. Snow melts earlier. But the hare changes its coat according to a long-set schedule, which is to say that the snowshoe is sometimes snowy white when its element is still robustly brown. And that makes it an easier target for prey. In 2016, wildlife biologists who tracked the hares in a rugged wilderness in Montana gave this phenomenon a name: ‘climate change-induced camouflage mismatch’. The hares moulted as they always had. It’s just that the snow didn’t come. Survival rates dropped by 7 per cent as predation increased.

In order to outwit its newest enemy – warmer winters – snowshoe hares would need something in the order of a natural miracle, what the biologists, writing in the journal Ecology Letters, called an ‘evolutionary rescue’. Like the Yukon, this pristine corner of Montana was projected to lose yet more snow cover; there would be perhaps an additional month of bare forest floor by the middle of this century, on which snowshoe hares would stand out like bright white balloons.

[…]

Read the rest of here, if you wish.

Basically rabbits and moose are doomed to extinction due to shorter winters.  The rabbits will all succumb to “climate change-induced camouflage mismatch” and be eaten by the birds of prey who aren’t killed by wind turbines.  The Moose will be eaten alive by hordes of Gorebal Warming-empowered ticks.

Okay… When did the big-footed snowshoe hare and moose first evolve?  Did they survive the Medieval Warm Period?  Did they survive the Holocene Climatic Optimum?

Back to the Junk Science Journalism:

Winter ticks have been known to afflict moose since the late-1800s. In a normal year, a single moose might carry 1,000 or even 20,000 ticks. In a particularly harsh winter, when moose are underfed and weak, anaemia and hypothermia wrought by ticks can make the difference between life and death.

[…]

Moose have long died from disease, predators, hunting and sometimes ticks. But their losses in the early 21st century had a different, more threatening, more consequential implication. In 2015, two environmental organisations, alarmed at population trends, petitioned the United States Secretary of the Interior to have the Midwestern moose listed as an endangered species. In Minnesota, the number of moose dropped by 58 per cent in the decade through to 2015, similar to losses in New England. Environmentalists believe moose could well be eradicated in the Midwest by 2020, with stocks declining precipitously in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

“In a particularly harsh winter, when moose are underfed and weak, anaemia and hypothermia wrought by ticks can make the difference between life and death”… WTF?  I thought particularly harsh winters were a thing of the past.

Note to “two environmental organisations, alarmed at population trends”…

Okay… So, it’s not mild Gorebal Warming winters that will kill the Moose… It’s particularly harsh winters, during which hordes of evil ticks infest the Moose trying to not freeze and starve to death… Did the Moose survive the Little Ice Age?  If the Moose survived the coldest phase of the Holocene, I doubt Gorebal Warming driven particularly harsh winters will be much of a problem for them.  For that matter, I’m fairly certain that the Moose handled the Pleistocene without much trouble.  For that matter Moose have existed since the Pliocene:

Paleontology

An artist’s rendition of Libralces gallicus

Moose are an old genus. Like its relatives, Odocoileus and Capreolus, the genus Alces gave rise to very few species that endured for long periods of time. This differs from the Megacerines, such as the Irish elk, which evolved many species before going extinct. Some scientists, such as Adrian Lister, grouped all the species into one genus, while others, such as Augusto Azzaroli, used Alces for the living species, placing the fossil species into the genera Cervalces and Libralces.

The earliest known species is Libralces gallicus (French moose), which lived in the Pliocene epoch, about 2 million years ago.

[…]

Wikipedia

I won’t even bother quoting any of the nonsense about Lyme disease.

CS4_Tick Basemap_v8.ai

Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) Where found: Widely distributed in the northeastern and upper midwestern United States.
Transmits: Lyme diseaseanaplasmosisehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia muris eauclairensis), babesiosisBorrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan disease.
Comments: The greatest risk of being bitten exists in the spring, summer, and fall. However, adults may be out searching for a host any time winter temperatures are above freezing. Stages most likely to bite humans are nymphs and adult females.(CDC).

Migratory birds may have played a role in expanding Ixodes scapularis habitat range; but these bugs need high humidity and above freezing temperatures to survive.

Q: Does weather affect deer ticks?

A: Very much so. Deer ticks won’t survive if the humidity goes below 85%. A damp spring will favor the nymphs that will be biting in midsummer, while dry, hot weather in August may dry up nymphs that would otherwise molt to adults in the fall. Deer ticks will freeze under lab conditions at temperatures around 0°F, but deep within their leaf litter refuge in the winter temperatures rarely get that cold, particularly under an insulating cover of snow. As the climate gets warmer, the deer tick life cycle shortens, allowing it to be completed further north where lower temperature have limited its expansion in the past.

Ticks in Maine

So… Let’s get to “the first epidemic of climate change.”

Is Lyme disease an epidemic?

epidemic the occurrence of more cases of disease, injury, or other health condition than expected in a given area or among a specific group of persons during a particular period. Usually, the cases are presumed to have a common cause or to be related to one another in some way (see also outbreak).

CDC

What is the expected occurrence of Lyme disease?

casenumbers-graph-1996-2016

Reported Cases of Lyme Disease by Year, United States, 1996-2016 (CDC)

It’s interesting to note that in 2008, the data were revised to include “probable cases.”  While there appears to be an upward trend in Lyme disease cases, this graph doesn’t take population growth into account.

Confirmed and Probable Cases US Population Rate per 100,000
2000                                                    19,730 282,171,957                            7.0
2001                                                    17,029 285,081,556                            6.0
2002                                                    23,763 287,803,914                            8.3
2003                                                    21,273 290,326,418                            7.3
2004                                                    19,804 293,045,739                            6.8
2005                                                    23,305 295,753,151                            7.9
2006                                                    19,931 298,593,212                            6.7
2007                                                    27,444 301,579,895                            9.1
2008                                                    35,198 304,374,846                          11.6
2009                                                    38,468 307,006,550                          12.5
2010                                                    30,158 310,232,863                            9.7
2011                                                    33,097 312,905,005                          10.6
2012                                                    30,831 315,231,924                            9.8
2013                                                    36,307 317,518,355                          11.4
2014                                                    33,461 319,951,923                          10.5
2015                                                    38,069 322,306,121                          11.8
2016                                                    36,429 324,650,630                          11.2
Avg                            9.3
Std Dev                            2.1
2 Std Dev                            4.2
Lyme_2

Y-Axis is Lyme disease cases per 100,000 people.

The increase in the Lyme disease rate per 100,000 people appears to be entirely due to the inclusion of “probable” cases from 2008-2016.  The only data file I could find on the CDC website lists confirmed cases before 2008 and confirmed & probable from 2008-2016.  Using my Mark I Eyeball, I estimated (to the nearest 500) the confirmed cases from 2008-2016.

Lyme_CDC

Dave’s Graph Paper Trick

The incidence rate of Lyme disease from 2000-2016 was a stable 8 (±2) per 100,000 people.

Confirmed Cases Only US Population Rate per 100,000
2000 19,730 282,171,957 7.0
2001 17,029 285,081,556 6.0
2002 23,763 287,803,914 8.3
2003 21,273 290,326,418 7.3
2004 19,804 293,045,739 6.8
2005 23,305 295,753,151 7.9
2006 19,931 298,593,212 6.7
2007 27,444 301,579,895 9.1
2008 29,000 304,374,846 9.5
2009 30,000 307,006,550 9.8
2010 23,000 310,232,863 7.4
2011 24,500 312,905,005 7.8
2012 22,000 315,231,924 7.0
2013 27,500 317,518,355 8.7
2014 25,500 319,951,923 8.0
2015 29,000 322,306,121 9.0
2016 26,500 324,650,630 8.2
Avg 7.9
Std Dev 1.1
2 Std Dev 2.1
Lyme_3

Left y-axis is confirmed Lyme disease cases per 100,000 people. Right y-axis is the 13-month running average temperature of the contiguous United States (deg F). Note that the worst Lyme disease years (2008, 2009) are associated with the coolest weather from 2000-2016.

The only “anomaly” in the Lyme disease data is the CDC’s decision to include probable cases from 2008-2016, yielding the false impression of an increase in the incidence of the disease and leading a Junk Science Journalist to declare it to be “the first epidemic of climate change.”

Unsurprisingly, the author of Ticks Rising is a Soros Justice Media Fellow.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mark from the Midwest

“Snow arrives later. Snow melts earlier.”
Another vague generalization, the common approach to analysis among the AGW crowd. So today I’m getting 8 inches of snow on top of a 14 inch snow-pack. If this is an earlier snow melt I’d hate to have seen things in the days before AGW.

Phoenix44

That’s the great thing about averages. A couple of years in ten when it arrives much later and leaves much earlier and the average is changed. Of course for eight years it’s no different at all – or it arrives a bit earlier and leaves a bit later..

Samuel C Cogar

“Snow arrives later. Snow melts earlier.”
OH MY, MY, ….the world’s populations of rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta) will surely have to be placed on the list of “highly endangered species”.
The rock ptarmigan is seasonally camouflaged; its feathers moult from white in winter to brown in spring or summer.” Read more @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_ptarmigan

Harry Fisher

In 1966, when I was 12, we moved to a house in a more remote part of SW CT. We began to see what we had not at the previous home in a more densely populated part of the town, Deer. They occasionally appeared in the field behind the house. It was a novelty and a cry would arise in the house to come see. Over the years, they became common, and then populus, and then intrusive. They boldly went where no deer had gone before, closer to the house to eat the trees and bushes. Once one of them confronted me within a few feet of the house, snorting and stomping hooves. Obviously they carried the ticks closer to the house and those dropped off into the grass. Also, it allowed the ticks to attach to smaller rodents (I regard deer as overgrown rodents), which did not travel as far. So it was the deer that introduced the small rodents to the tick, and both helped increase the risk for humans.
About 10 or 15 years ago the Audubon Center in Greenwich, CT, which is the largest piece of contiguous open space in the town, studied the plant life on its over 500 acres. The results were astounding. I believe it was fewer than a dozen species of trees were surviving, perhaps even less. The forest was becoming much less diverse. Plus the deer were eating the understory making life more difficult for small animals. A walk in the forest in the summer used to have a range of visibility of a few yards, but now it is limited only by terrain and large trees.
The response of the Audubon was to commence hunting the deer. Other large landowners do so as well. While the deer population has declined, it still is way to many.
Until it is reduced, Lyme disease will be present. And obviously, nothing to do with climate change.

Mark from the Midwest

In my area we’ve introduced supplemental deer hunts to try and thin things out, but there are limits to the number of deer that even a hard-core hunter wants to harvest. A couple of hard winters, back-to-back in 2013-14-15 also helped. But right now I could probably take 3 to 4 deer a day using a small caliber handgun.

As part of the tick development life cycle, ticks utilize rodents as a host species.
Where deer stick to ranges and paths with occasional deviations searching for food, rodents wander everywhere.

HotScot

There are a number of knowlegable people who want to re-introduce wolves into the Scottish highlands to help redress the balance of out of control deer.
Of course, on the one hand we had a a minority group who support the move, on the other, a group that fear for humankind with wolves roaming free, and on the third hand, another minority group that object to deer culling by shooting.
Meanwhile, nothing much is done, other than continuing culling.
The common theme is that, once again, human progress is petrified, because of minority groups. We’re not allowed to upset them, as the snowflakes will cry, so we deprive wolves the right to exist in a natural habitat.
We wiped them out in Scotland, yet their re-introduction is opposed by the idiots who want to see deer as the dominant species whilst we, by then, all vegans, must grub around competing for sparse vegetable pickings, not offending deer and dodging ticks whilst doing so. Nor can we offend the humble tick either, they have feelings too you know.
I think a cull of minority groups is required.

Ian Magness

“The only “anomaly” in the Lyme disease data is the CDC’s decision to include probable cases from 2008-2016, yielding the false impression of an increase in the incidence of the disease and leading a Junk Science Journalist to declare it to be “the first epidemic of climate change.”
Never mind the Holocene, or even the Pleistocene, gather round all ye greenies and behold the effects of the Adjustocene!

oeman50

Would you say that Lyme disease didn’t actually tick upwards?

Ian Magness

Groan….

Russ R.

It’s those “probable epidemics” that create the most chaos. Probable disease is the worst kind. It is so difficult to treat what you only have a statistical probability of having. Maybe I will just stay home today, because of all the statistical disease out there, not to mention the statistical accidents, statistical assaults, statistical lightning strikes, and the real possibility of a meteor strike or nuclear war.
The only thing that keeps me functioning is my knowledge of the underlying mathematics of statistics and probability. And it keeps my lottery money in MY pocket. Hopefully those that do not understand what statistics tells us, have that very rare intellectual virtue we call Common Sense.

Phoenix44

I am curious though why they didn’t apply probable to previous years? Presumably theya re using some sort of formula rather than collecting reports of probable sufferers?

Yirgach

It looks like the “probable” cases were done using collected reports. Presumably, these were not available prior to 2008… Here is the current link to the CDC lyme disease case def (the one shown in the graphic is 404’d): https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/lyme-disease/case-definition/2008/

Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis
For the purposes of surveillance, the definition of a qualified laboratory assay is (1) a positive culture for B. burgdorferi, (2) two-tier testing interpreted using established criteria1, or (3) single-tier IgG immunoblot seropositivity interpreted using established criteria1-4.
Probable
Any other case of physician-diagnosed Lyme disease that has laboratory evidence of infection (as defined above).

MarkW

Not just population growth, but also more wealth means more leisure time, which means more people in the woods, exposed to the ticks.

Richard K.

58% drop in Moose dropings due to constapation due to climate change.

Steve Keohane

I live in scrub oak, on a creek, and have been in the same spot for 27 years, with another 20 years in the area. For forty years we had ticks. I would remove 3-5 a day from clothing or skin. I have seen zero, none, nada in the past seven years. What epidemic?

DMA

As a note on the last graph, we were recently informed that the eastern portion of the US has not warmed lately. This non-warming area coincides well with the tick habitat graph.

Original Mike M

Gee why can’t we just keep the ticks out of our country like Mexico and Canada do?

Latitude

You would think the extreme cold weather of the 1930’s would have wiped them all out……../snark

beng135

Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change.
I’m like the term fake-science better now (usurping the marxists’ terms). And indeed, this is FAKE. The reason for the spread of Lyme disease is elementary — the rampant overpopulation of deer. And that is a perfect example of the result of greenie-ism. Oh, you can’t hunt Bambi, Bambi is so cute, and you can’t use guns, they’re unsafe. What about the children? (Crying and wringing hands).

Tom Halla

Definitely. A general decline in deer hunting is probably responsible for the increase in Lyme disease. We have a herd in my subdivision that are utterly fearless, and quite numerous. The numbers recovered after the drought a few years ago.

beng135

I’m in a rural area & there are alot of deer and deer-ticks. Been bitten by them several times over the yrs. Recently got tested for Lyme’s disease — opinion was that I fortunately didn’t have it (yet), but several people I know have been positively diagnosed w/it, and a cousin even has chronic neurological effects from it (speech problems).

Those “suspected” cases probably are very real. My youngest daughter was bitten at work but did what we always do- pulled it off. No red target. She slowly became ill and went through months of testing. Tests for lyme’s are difficult and unpredictable. I’m in Canada, and no physician would positively diagnose lyme’s, because the symptoms overlap several maladies. Nobody would prescribe the necessary and costly meds she needed. I had to fly her to a specialist in Wisconsin, who confirmed lyme’s. Our local medics accepted his diagnosis, and three years of heavy antibiotics followed – and much grief – this is not fun if not caught early. Medics are more willing to diagnose the disease today, allowing the counting of previously undiagnosed patients.

George

Studied Lyme disease in the 80’s in NJ. Did work out at Naval Weapons Station Earle and Fort Monmouth Wayside Training Area. Deer population, lack of predation, land use and these isolated preserves that don’t allow normal migration in and out of these animals allowed amplication of these animals, ticks and the disease. We simulated increased predation by eliminating the deer and small rodent population (the white footed deer mouse) through hunting and trapping and in time we saw a reduction in ticks. I suspect had we instituted a drastic reduction the results might have been more dramatic. We added insecticidal (going after the adults and larvae/nymphs) use in addition and that reduced tick populations even further.

AZ1971

I worked in a research epidemiological laboratory in central Wisconsin from ’95-’98 that studied Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. The white-footed deer mouse as the vector species wasn’t really studied, even though most cases of infective tick bites occur from the nymph stage whilst feeding on this intermediate species. There isn’t an “epidemic” in the classic sense, only that the spirochete agent is expanding its range—and that’s largely due to favorable habitat and simple naturalistic expansion. The real question to ask is, Where did it originate? The investigative medical director had good arguments to be made in claiming this was an escaped military experiment from Plum Island, both from the initial cases being made within literal spitting distance of the facility and that it’s an unusually robust spirochete bacterium which hides from one’s immune system by mimicking natural non-reactive body proteins. As to the validity of those claims I can’t be certain, but this is a disease which had no previous analogous counterpart prior to the 1970’s-80’s.
As to the issue of moose and hares, one need only look to the case of the peppered moth during the Industrial Revolution to see a contemporary, proven case of rapid evolution and natural selection. I have no reason to believe that something along the same line could happen with colour-changing hares.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution

AZ1971

EDIT: … couldn’t happen with colour-changing hares.

jclarke341

I really enjoyed Ms. Pfeiffer’s writing skills. She should probably be writing speculative fiction over science articles. Oh wait! I forgot that they are now the same thing!

scott manhart

The disease we now identify as Lyme disease was occurring back in the 1930’s and undoubtedly before that. Its just that nobody had enough cases to recognize it as a new entity. That took a naive idea regarding game management that allowed deer populations to skyrocket in rural Connecticut leading to increased contact between humans and the deer tick vector. Once enough cases occurred in a single locality the disease was identified and given the name we know it by today. Stories like this are what happens when pattern seeking humans, light on knowledge and heavy on confirmation bias, attempt to play scientist.

Susan Howard

Also, since the symptoms are non-specific the diagnosis rate depends on the clinician including Lyme disease in the tests. Increased rate of testing will increase the diagnosis rate. Availibilty of the test has probably increased over time.

littlepeaks

This really ticks me off.

beng135

Me too, deerie.

michael hart

That gets to the hart of the matter.

I completely agree with your assessment on this alleged research, David.
A) They use some snowshoe hare research as justification:
• a) The snowshoe hare paper uses Parmesan for reference.
• b) Their study apparently uses hares during three years, a grand total of 186 hares.
• c) The authors admit that hares show large natural molt variability in timing and coloring.
• d) The authors assume survivability is 100% color contrast and molt related.
• e) An alleged maximum 7% increase in predation is claimed, i.e. a total of ten hares over three years. Ignoring all natural variation.
• f) The authors assume their radio collar was neutral towards predation. (aka hubris)
• g) Then everything else was modeled.

“We assumed that the form of selection against colour contrast would be directional; survival probability decreases linearly as hares become more contrasted against their background.
Annual survival rate projections
We projected annual survival rates into the 21st century under specific climate change scenarios. First, weekly survival estimates were calculated for colour contrast of 0 and 60% (the lowest degree of contrast when hares are considered mismatched) in the following way: weekly colour contrast; where is the expected weekly survival estimate at week given the mean overall survival, the degree of colour contrast during that week (0 or 60%) and the effect of colour contrast on survival as calculated by the survival model with weekly colour contrast.
Next, annual survival estimates Annual were calculated by multiplying weekly survival estimates for the predicted number of weeks out of the year (52 weeks total) hares are expected to experience colour contrast of either 0 or 60% under specific climate change scenarios:”

“The cost of being mismatched was high. According to the survival model including weekly colour contrast, the effect size of colour contrast on weekly survival was strongly negative such that a completely mismatched hare (100% contrast) had a 7% lower weekly survival than a hare at the same time and place that matched its background (0% contrast). ”

There was not any corroborating study on annual snowshoe hare predation by any of the alleged predators. Predators and predation is assumed.
One also loves where the authors conducted their study, “Seeley Lake in the Lolo National Forest (Morrel Creek drainage, Lat. = 47.23°, Long. =113.43°) and Gardiner in the Gallatin National Forest (Bear Creek drainage, Lat. = 45.08°, Long. = 110.57°). Both are well known tourist destinations, even in winter. Gardiner is just north of the entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
These authors base their entire study on hare color. i.e. a human visual perception while completely ignoring how the assumed predators hunt their prey.
Predators use sound, motion and scent for their primary hunt methods.
Especially those predators with strong night vision and poor color recognition, and excellent scenting ability.
One overlooked hunting impact is pattern recognition; where the authors conspicuously fail to demonstrate or even test if their radio-collar gear is predation neutral.

ResourceGuy

Well all things that happen in urban legend public health fall into one of two categories.
A. Agent Orange did it.
or
B. Climate change did it or will do it.
All things previously attributed to power lines have now been allocated to A or B. You may now return to your day job.

John in L du B

My understanding has always been that the increased incidence of Lyme’s disease, especially in New England and Eastern Canada was the result of two factors:
1. Better diagnosis and identification of the disease
2. Forest regrowth.
New England and Eastern Canada were practically deforested in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for two reasons:
The widespread use of firewood as heating fuel
Timber for houses.
Firewood for fuel had a huge impact on forests. Houses were poorly insulated and the typical 2-story house used 15 cut-and-split cords per burning season. The hotel I worked in in Ontario’s lake country has a sketch hanging on the wall of the hotel sketched in the 1890s. It shows the hotel surrounded by hardwood stumps as far as the eye could see. Yet when I worked there in the 60s it was well forested with maple and elm. It still is.
I think the increase in Lyme’s disease has occurred for lots of factors and that climate change has had a very minor (if any) effect.

Well deserved ridicule of utter nonsense that ‘ticks me off’. The deer/Lyme disease problem is pretty simple. Fewer hunters in some states, less huntable land in all states. Result: deer population explosion.The suburbs and forest preserves around Chicago provide ideal deer habitat but no hunting opportunities. We had buck rubs in the back yard a couple of years in the 1990’s! House was about 1.5 miles from massive forest preserve complex south of the botanical gardens, where 6 foot high electric deer fencing is now mandatory for all the outlying gardens.

JRF in Pensacola

Always amazing that population growth is not included in the interpretation of data. My favorite is the dollar figure associated with landfalling hurricanes along the US coasts. We do get inflation adjustments (sometimes) but buried will be the growth of population, housing and infrastructure along coastal areas. But, if you can’t show a trend related to frequency of an event, use the dollars and don’t mention population growth.

J Mac

The only known parasite that has demonstrably increased in population in the USA during the minor warming trend since 1970 is the economically blood sucking parasite know as Socialista AGWcatastropha. The science fiction book referenced in this article illustrates the pernicious nature of the parasite, using biased and flawed analyses coupled with fear-mongering scare tactics to acquire other peoples money through greater book sales, research grants, government regulations and taxes.

J Mac

Should be 1979….

Edwin

Lyme disease is a problem due to basically a failure of science and government. While it is not known exactly where lyme came from it is believed it probably originated in Europe, where it has long been known. Besides deer, mice are part of the ticks normal annual cycle and most probably the reservoir for Lyme disease. Populations have exploded for both especially in suburban areas and most especially where anti-hunters have dominated the political landscape. Also with the general decline in hunting. Again global warming had nothing to do with it. Ticks are tough to control even without host like deer and mice. They have been around a long time and are well adapted. Few people appreciate that we have significantly more deer today, probably more mice, than we had at the turn of the 20th Century, possibly more than when Europeans arrived in the new world. Land in the NE USA once farmed where farmers would have done mouse control, now are houses and estates. First identified in 1975 it has been a tough disease to deal with. Like most arthrovectored diseases individual human react differently to the disease. Some are asymptomatic for months or longer. For decades most doctors failed to diagnose the disease. Like syphilis it is caused by a spirochete. Spirochetes must be treated aggressively soon after being contracted because if not they then hide out in the body only to return later to cause all sorts of nasty problems.

Wrusssr

I KNEW the doc misdiagnosed when I showed him the red ring around my sore belly button and he called his two nurses in to show them what a symptom of climate change looked like, then proceeded to remove a tick from my naval.

Steve Zell

With all the nor’easters that have plagued the Northeast US this past March that came in and went out like a lion, the deer ticks will probably have a shortened growing season, which could reduce the incidence of Lyme disease this summer. The late storms may have also reduced the number of young deer that made it through the winter, possibly reducing their population, which may have also hurt the moose living in northern New England.
Have a happy, snowy, Lyme-free Easter, everyone, with a snowshoe hare bringing you eggs!

im not a big believer in conspiracy theories , but it seems like quite a coincidence that lyme disease first appeared in lyme connecticut , a few miles from the government’s top secret biological laboratory on nearby plum island in long island sound . it seems like an odd place for an unknown disease to start . all it would take would be one mosquito to pick up the disease and spread it .

kristi silber

Yeah, that’s hilarious, David. A real laugh. Just more junk science about the evidence for climate change. Who needs moose, anyway? Just a bunch of big deer studied by numbskull pseudo-scientists, eh?
No wonder no one believes the evidence. They are told not to.. And told climate change should leave harsh winters behind – an asinine assumption in its own right, but more so because of the implication that “harsh winter” means for all creatures the same it does for us. Why didn’t the excerpt include, “Moose like and need the cold. They become sluggish when it’s warm, failing to forage as they should, and becoming weak and vulnerable.”? Too much info for convenience, I guess, ruins the propaganda.
Gotta love the way it makes people come up with all kinds of their own theories and “evidence” to show that science is junk. Go for it, people! Leave science behind! All that crap that underlies engineering…Junk! All the science behind meteorology…Junk! Differences in surface weather stations – triple junk!
It doesn’t fit MY picture of the world, and that’s all that matters. That should be the Wattsupwththat motto.

michael hart

Take some water with it, kristi.

beng135

Wow, kristi. Bad day or something?

Phil

Your bar chart, showing that the number of confirmed, as opposed to assumed, cases of Lyme’s Disease holding steady this century, was very interesting. If only temperatures had done the same! But, since 97% of climate scientists assure us that they continued on their dangerous upward trajectory, I’m afraid that the authors of the paper may have to think again.

James Bull

Sounds like they’ll end up itching and scratching.

James Bull

Mike Maguire

One only needs to look at a map that shows where Lyme Disease is most prevalent(some of the coldest locations in the US) to know that cold temperatures and winter kill are not the main factor.
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/news/a44165/lyme-disease-map/
Can a Winter with extreme cold kill more ticks than one that is mild? Yes, though ticks can survive extreme cold. However, disease carrying ticks are multiplying faster in cold climates that often have extreme cold, than in warm climates that rarely have extreme cold because the regions with a colder climate has more hosts(deer/mice for instance).

chris_zzz

Here in Massachusetts, the deer tick population has increased along with the deer population. In some towns, there are 6-8x more deer per acre than recommended. In all of these towns, deer ticks and Lyme disease are a big problem. Before blaming the problem on climate change, maybe we should just start thinning the deer population to the levels it was 40 years ago.