“Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly”, is not linked to 'climate change' by study, despite what the NYT says

Guest Commentary by Kip Hansen

 

tick_disease_actual_sizeScience News treated us to an interesting quip on 2 May titled “Tick-borne and mosquito-borne illnesses are on the rise in the United States” written by Roni Dengler.  Dengler writes:   “Warmer weather is a major cause for the explosion in these vector-transmitted diseases, The New York Times reports, as ticks thrive in areas once too cold, and mosquito populations mushroom during heat waves.”   Real news?   Fake news?  Or echo chamber reverberation?  Let’s see….

The New York Times once again pushed its Editorial Narrative on Climate Change ahead of scientific facts in a news article by Donald G. McNeil Jr.  published under the banner of Global Health on 1 May 2018.  The article, titled “Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly, C.D.C. Finds”.

The title is true enough, the C.D.C. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health & Human Services) did in fact find that the incidence of mosquito and tick borne diseases are rising rapidly and laid out a well-founded scientific case as to Why and How and What To Do About It.  The study report is available in several forms:  a Briefing Sheet online, with a video; and in a full study report, “Vital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004–2016”.   Both are quite good.

The New York Times, however, insists (this is the correct word) that the cause of the increase and spread of vector-borne diseases is “warming” and/or ”climate  change”.  Our intrepid NY Times journalist states:

 “Warmer weather is an important cause of the surge, according to the lead author of a study published in the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

This is a fascinating distortion of the facts….a very clever one.   Why?  Because the journalist, McNeil, is forced immediately to point out:

“But the author, Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, the agency’s director of vector-borne diseases, declined to link the increase to the politically fraught issue of climate change, and the report does not mention climate change or global warming. Many other factors are at work, he emphasized, including increased jet travel and a lack of vaccines.”

“The study did not delve into the reasons for the increase, but Dr. Petersen said it was probably caused by many factors, including two related to weather: ticks thriving in regions previously too cold for them, and hot spells triggering outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.”

I often write about Science Journalism — and this article gives me an opportunity to point out one of the tricks that journalists use when they want to say the news is THIS when it is really THAT.

Here is what McNeil has done:

  1. There is a C.D.C. study that says vector-borne diseases are on the rise and spreading — in this case, diseases spread by mosquitos, ticks, and fleas.
  2. The journalist wants to say, maybe because the NY Times has a strict Editorial Narrative on Climate Change, that this increase in incidence and geographical spread is caused by “warming weather caused by Climate Change.”
  3. He has a problem. The actual study from the C.D.C.  does not contain the word “climate”.  It does not contain the word “change”.  Naturally, it does not contain the two words  — “climate change” — together.  It does not contain the word “warming”.   It does not even contain the word “weather”.  The word “temperature” does appear in the paper — once — in this sentence: “The longevity, distribution, biting habits, and propagation of vectors, which ultimately affect the intensity of transmission, depend on environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, and shelter.”  This sentence is found in the Introduction to lay some groundwork about biological disease vectors (in our case, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas).   It is worth noting that almost all biological activity depends in part on temperature to some degree.
  4. What to do? The journalist is compelled to blame Climate Change, or at least “warming”, for the dangerous situation.

[Full Disclosure:  I have been a radio journalist and an amateur science journalist and have used this trick myself — benignly, I hope.]

Here’s the trick that is used to get around the fact that the study authors have not said what you — the journalist —  needed them to say:  You call them up (or, more modernly, email them) with a series of questions specifically designed to get them to say something, nearly anything, that you might be able to “validly” transmogrify into a sentence like this one from McNeil:

 “Warmer weather is an important cause of the surge, according to the lead author of a study published in the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

How is this a journalists’ trick?  It is an easy thing to do — the journalist need only convince himself that the “lead author” said or wrote something in reply to the journalist’s leading questions that might be construed to say something enough like the sentence above to justify the claim.  Of course, the journalist does not actually quote the lead author — because he probably said no such thing.

Petersen, the study author attributed, did, I suspect, reel off a long list of potential contributing factors:   expanded human travel, suburban reforestation and a dearth of new vaccines to stop outbreaks.  Also in the list: Ticks and fleas need deer or rodents as their main blood hosts, and those have increased as forests in suburbs have gotten thicker, deer hunting has waned, and rodent predators like foxes have disappeared.   In this list, might have been the idea that some areas are seeing less-cold winters and longer warm seasons …. we won’t know because the NY Times journalist has not told us what Petersen actually said or wrote, nor did he supply any data to support the implied ‘fact’ that areas with less cold winters have increased tick and mosquito activity and vector- borne disease.

What the lead author of the study did not do was blame climate change or warming weather for the problems of vector-borne diseases.

[More Disclosure:  When I have used this trick, I have always directly quoted both my exact question and the exact full reply to that specific question, as journalistic standards require.]

Side Note:   Forests have increased?   The meme is we have been cutting down all the trees.  Not true of course — McNeil  has been kind enough to include the historical actuality (parentheses his):  “(A century ago, the Northeast had fewer trees than it now does; forests made a comeback as farming shifted west and firewood for heating was replaced by coal, oil and gas.)”  Yes,  almost all of the forest in Northeast United States had been clear-cut  — at one time or another over the last century and a half —  to supply building materials, firewood and charcoal.  There are few remaining tracts of native, never-cut forests in the Northeastern states.  Connecticut, with an overall area of 3.5 million acres, has only 200 acres of true old growth forest.  New York does better at 210,000 acres (which oddly includes 50 acres in the New York Botanical Garden), out of a total of 35 million acres. We see a similar ratio in each state — about 0.0057%.

The “Illnesses On The Rise from mosquito, tick, and flea bites” factsheet from the C.D.C.’s Vitalsigns outreach, based in part on the study data,  lays the blame where it belongs:

 

More people at risk

  • Commerce moves mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas around the world.
  • Infected travelers can introduce and spread germs across the world.
  • Mosquitoes and ticks move germs into new areas of the US, causing more people to be at risk. “

Once again, the Vitalsigns factsheet contains no instances of the following words and word combinations:  temperature, warming, climate change.

The real causes of the increase in incidence and geographical spread of these vector-borne diseases are:

  • Commerce — international shipping — moving biological vectors to new areas — such as mosquito species and fleas.
  • The biological vectors shift locations or expand territories, they bring can diseases with them.
  • Renewing forests have expanded the ranges and numbers  of deer and other  vector-associated species — increasing human exposure
  • Localities, no longer faced with fighting malaria and yellow fever, cut back on mosquito-control efforts.  Some of this cut-back can be blamed on anti-spraying efforts of environmentalists groups.
  • Humans have moved into the forests and previously unoccupied areas, bringing themselves into closer contact with disease vectors — the outdoor  movement (hiking, camping, trail-biking) also brings more people into contact with Nature.
  • The Lyme Disease epidemic has increased awareness of vector-borne disease and vastly stepped-up surveillance and reporting of these diseases, which could account for a very high percentage of the reported increases.

One of the largest complicating factors adding to the problem of human movement spreading diseases is the fact that many localities, as mentioned,  for varying reasons over the past decade,  have failed to maintain vector control efforts.   The C.D.C.  says “Critical to effectively preventing or responding to disease outbreaks is sensitive disease and vector surveillance, backed by well-organized, well-prepared, and sustained vector control operations.”   For mosquitoes, vector control means, among other things, local efforts of mosquito-control spraying.   Environmental groups across the country have been battling mosquito-spraying efforts for many years.  Vector control of ticks and fleas is more difficult as is it not easily approached on a community-wide basis and is best handled through public education efforts.

The C.D.C. is worried that with increasing human travel, which moves diseases around the world, and with existing local and state vector-borne-disease surveillance and control efforts not being fully up to the task, that either a natural or a bio-weapon vector-borne disease could cause a serious epidemic.  The C.D.C. calls for more Federal and State level effort and money to improve vector surveillance and control and increased efforts to develop vaccines for these diseases.  These are valid and important issues and do need to be addressed.  They are not, however, a looming disaster or existential threat to mankind.

And, they are not caused by Climate Change or Anthropogenic Global Warming byany of its many names.

Those interested should read the Vitalsigns factsheet available here.   It is evidence-based and good science.

Skip the Science News and NY Times pieces — they are badly Flawed News.

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Author’s Comment Policy:

It is a sad commentary that the once-proud “Gray Lady” — The New York Times — has allowed itself to be turned into a political-party-based yellow-journalism propaganda rag.  In my young years, when I studied a bit of journalism in University and hosted a radio news show with a couple of college friends,  the offenses committed daily by journalists at the NY Times were considered ‘firing offenses’ — misrepresenting a quote intentionally, slanting a story to match one’s personal bias or including a personal opinion in a news story.

That Science Magazine, as represented in this case by Science News, would allow something to be published under its masthead without even the pretense of fact-checking is equally sad.

This Commentary is about Science Journalism — not climate change or mosquitoes.

Always happy to read and respond to your comments here or you can email me at my first name at the domain i4 decimal net.

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Rolf H Carlsson

Back in the 70s the answer to all problems: it was all to blame on Capitalism. Now it is all a matter of AGW. It is probably much the same people now or their siblings!

HotScot

Rolf
I believe it was Karl Mark’s 200th birthday today. More misery caused in this world by that nutter than anyone else.
Nuff said really.

Alan the Brit

Karl Marks, a true man of the people! He used to spend many a Sunday afternoon in London’s Hyde Park having champagne picnics with his family, just like ALL working class people were able to do, NOT!

Trevor

HotScot : ……………………………. or should that be …………………………. SteamingCaledonian :
Have SOME RESPECT man !
HIS NAME WAS MARX ! He was of German Origin although his maternal Grandfather was a
Dutch Rabbi …………….so like ALL GOOD SOCIALISTS ……..he came from a highly principled and
educated , wealthy middle-class family and was himself ‘privileged’ in every sense of the word !
TYPICAL !

HotScot

Trevor
Not sure if being rude was necessary.

Ricdre

“it was all to blame on Capitalism. Now it is all a matter of AGW.”
They haven’t changed. They believe AGW is caused by Capitalism so if the can replace all reliable energy systems with unreliables they can bring everyone down to the same level and thus bring about their worker’s paradise and eliminate both AGW and Capitalism in one bold stroke. Of course, since they care so much, they are exempt from having to live down at the level of the rest of the proletariat.

StephenP

Welcome to the world of Pol Pot in Cambodia.

HotScot

Kip
Excellent. Learned a lot from that. Thank you.

TonyL

The New York Times — has allowed itself to be turned into a political-party-based yellow-journalism propaganda rag.

This is not news.
Does the name Walter Duranty ring any bells.
Duranty was the NYT Moscow bureau chief from 1922 to 1936. He could well be described as Stalin’s apologist. He once declared, referring to Stalin’s Russia, “I have seen to future, and it works”.
In addition, he attempted to completely cover up The Holodomor, the deliberate famine and starvation of the Ukraine, claiming repeatedly that it was not happening, British reports to the contrary.
The NYT has been Fake News for a very long time.

Curious George

Mr. Duranty got a Pullitzer for this brave journalism.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pulitzer_Prizes_awarded_to_The_New_York_Times

Louis Hooffstetter

Big deal.
Al Gore and Barack Obama got Nobel Peace Prizes for nothing.

Curious George

NYT is correct. Ticks and mosquitoes are not active in snow. 🙂

HotScot

Curious George
Too busy building snowticks and holding mosquito carol services.

eyesonu

While ticks are not ‘active’ in the snow they are alive and well in the ‘black muck’ found in spring seeps and watering hole edges even with 12″ snow and frozen creeks and ponds and 20 F temperatures.
My bird dogs would literally be crawling with ticks when the streams were frozen and/or snow crusted and they utilized spring seeps for water. The ‘black muck’ on their feet WILL lead to me picking 25 – 50+ crawling over their fur and face. Had a biologist hunting with me once and he never heard of it. I proved my point in a couple of hours. Forced a change in hunting plans from high on mountain to low elev with strong creek and sent dogs swimming to wash out the ticks. ‘Black muck’ feet = ticks regardless of temp in mid-Atlantic states. They were small tan/brown ticks. Same issue in different mountains 100 miles apart.

Felix

Yup.
As with mosquitoes, the females need our blood to make their eggs.
I’ve had them drop on me from trees, but have also been attacked by “questing” ticks on the ground.
“Questing is a behavior exhibited by hard ticks (Family Ixodidae) as a way of increasing the chances of coming in to contact with a suitable mammal host. The behavior involves the tick climbing up a blade of grass or other structure and then waiting with its front legs outstretched.”
https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/questing
(Spelling Americanized.)

Sheri

Kip—Don’t be mean! I like British spellings of many words.

BCBill

Winter ticks are. They hammer moose in the winter and get on horses and other animals too. The earliest mosquitoes come out when there is snow on the ground but they are big and slow. The best movie line ever “Life, ahhhhhh, finds a way”.

Alan the Brit

Curiously, the “ague” is mentioned a dozen or so times in the works of Shakepeare! Often mentioning that this or that character was down with or afflicted by the ague! Ague was the old English word for………..Malaria!!!! It’s from the old Italian for bad air because that’s how they believed it was caused!!!

HotScot

Alan,
Every days a school day for me.
Ta.

Edwin

Ticks do not die from cold. Tick populations have exploded due to dramatic increases in their wild hosts, e.g., white tail deer, mice, etc. While mosquito populations are reduced in winter they are not all killed. They survive either by hiding in leaf litter, as pupae or eggs. Some of the worst place in the world for mosquitoes are in the far north of the Northern Hemisphere. I have been involved with mosquitoes and arthrovectored disease policy issues for 40 years. Over the past several years in our state we have dealt with dengue and Zika outbreaks. Zika came from Africa, byway of Brazil by airplane. The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti is the vector of both dengue and Zika as well as other diseases. Aedes aegypti is believed to have arrived with the slave trade and since it is a container breeding mosquito has been transported all over the world. Dengue, malaria and yellow fever were common diseases in the USA until the middle of the 20th Century and the advent of modern professional mosquito control and screening windows. Zika, Chikungunya, and other diseases are “emerging” out of Africa not because of climate change but because people in Africa are more affluent and are traveling. Yellow fever, Chik, Zika and others have a real problem relative to control. A relatively large percentage of people with those diseases are asymptomatic. Meaning they can be viremic, get on a plane and go unnoticed where they arrive. West Nile is a whole other story but its arrival here again had nothing to do with climate change. Right now Brazil has a yellow fever problem. Yellow fever is epidemic in western towns and moving eastward. Worldwide there is a shortage of yellow fever vaccine.

Clyde Spencer

Edwin,
One of my worst experiences with mosquitoes was in Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite) in the Spring. However, one time when I was in Alaska, at the beginning of April, the mosquitoes were already out even though the ground was still covered with snow. But then, the mosquito is the state bird in Alaska.

barryjo

“The mosquito is the state bird of Alaska”??? I thought Minnesota claimed that honor.

Edwin

Clyde, while I haven’t been to either Yosemite or Alaska at the”right” time of the year I will raise you the mangrove swamps of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades. The count on more than a few occasions was a 100 plus per minute. I swore I saw them fighting for a place to sit. DEET had NO effect. Yet the vary worse was around an impoundment on a barrier island on Florida’s east coast. It was directly adjacent to an ocean front nuclear plant. Warm water continually percolated into the impounded marsh year round. Levels in the impoundment fluctuated based on how the plant was operating making perfect breeding habitat for salt marsh mosquitoes. I was with a mosquito technician who did surveillance. He estimated the count as “greatly exceeding 500 per minute.” They went around our clothing, in our ears, on our eyeballs, up our noses. It was a fog of mosquitoes on a bright blue sky day at noon in the early spring that literally dimmed the sun.

kaliforniakook

I appreciate at least this point (“Some of the worst place in the world for mosquitoes are in the far north of the Northern Hemisphere.”) My friends and I are planning a motorcycle trip to the Arctic Ocean from California and Nevada. We keep seeing warnings of major risks from HUGE mosquitoes. Clearly, the cold does not kill them off, else their migration patterns are legendary.

rckkrgrd

It is hot weather that kills mosquitos. They thrive in damp, cool or even cold conditions. A few hot days that burn off morning dew quickly and dries puddles reduces the mosquito population considerably.
Mosquitos are not the only threat in the North. A few black fly or deer fly bites and you will remember your visit for a long time.

Oldseadog

kaliforniakook,
Last autumn we took a camper van from Anchorage south to ‘Frisco. We were told that the mossies on the Alaska Highway were so big that they would carry you home and then come back for the camper.
Never saw one in 5 weeks.
So go in September.

Carbon Bigfoot

I have no background in tick infestation other than having pet dogs over many years (35) and living in wooded and country locations in the NE & SE Pennsylvania. We always got are dogs inoculations every year and in fact I was inoculated for Lime Disease ( no longer available ) in the early 2000s.
I was under the impression that methyl bromide ( or other chemical ) was sprayed onto bags before loading onto planes from foreign destinations.
Methyl bromide was also used to disinfect various grains, flour and seeds. Several years ago we had a moth infestation in our domicile since un-disinfected bird seed we stored in the house hatched a cadre of pests that our Pest Control Technician ultimately eliminated after six months of treatment.
Our technician stated to me that we now have grubs in our packaged food as a result of EPA’s elimination of methyl bromide.
Anyone know how we can deal with this problem??

ResourceGuy

It’s a good thing the Obama policy vector to control and regulate every ditch and puddle under the wetlands act and waterways act did not get through. They can always make a run at it next time with over reach part 2.

commieBob

… rodent predators like foxes have disappeared.

Coyotes are taking over. link
When I moved east a few decades ago I was astounded that there were coyotes and that they lived near human habitation. Their western cousins are really shy of people. Anyway, since I’ve been down east, the coyotes have started moving right into town and are becoming a danger to cats and dogs.
I’m not sure if foxes are on the wane but coyotes sure are increasing.

Caligula Jones

I live in the heart of Toronto, Canada (not the suburbs). We have coyotes in our dog park half a block away (one made a meal out of an unlucky cat recently) and they will run down the train tracks beside the dog park in broad daylight.
So, yeah, our doggo doesn’t get to go off-leash much.

Mark Luhman

I live in Mesa AZ, coyotes traverse my small back yard regularity if not the yard the street an sidewalks out front. They are a nusance but they are around to feed on another nusance the rabbits. We did have a summer they were not around, they had been chased out by a mountain lion who elected to raise her cub in the development’s golf course. I will take coyotes over a mountain lion any day of the week.

AllyKat

Kip – He may have actually seen one. Not from a remnant population, but from some jerk releasing their former “pet” into the wild once it was no longer little and cute and controllable (and once it started getting expensive to feed).

Sweet Old Bob

AllyKat : and it may be wild . KCMO recently (one or two years ago ) announced the discovery of a wild cougar . Not too surprising ….Eastern Ks has had them for many years .

Sara

Cougars? One healthy young male cougar made the mistake of wandering down the Des Plaines River waterway into Chicago, got himself lost in the neighborhoods, and was cornered by Chicago’s finest and dumbest cops ever.
He did not survive the encounter, but he was 2 years old and had originally started his life in South Dakota.
Black bears have been seen and photographed in Dekalb, IL.
Coyotes are all over the collar counties now.
If you see one at night or in daylight, there are 20 more you don’t see in the bush.

TA

I live out in a rural area in the woods, a stone’s throw from a small creek, and have had a pack of coyotes using the creek bed as their highway for the several decades I have lived here. I have a six-foot chainlink fence around my house, so the coyotes can’t get to my dogs, and they used to come by about every night or two and sit down there in the creek bed and just howl up a storm and of course, my dogs would bark their selves silly. I’m convinced those coyotes did that just to aggravate my dogs and me. 🙂 They don’t come by every night anymore, but they still visit from time to time. I also have a herd of deer that passes through my property every day. In the morning, they will be headed one direction, and in the evening they retrace their steps. That’s been going on for decades, too.

commieBob

Kip Hansen May 5, 2018 at 2:50 pm
… (though how this commentary about a shady journalistic practice got onto coyotes is a mystery to me….)

Ah well, you said:

… rodent predators like foxes have disappeared.

… and I, being pedantic, felt it necessary to correct that misconception with the observation that, no matter what foxes are, or are not, doing, coyotes are filling the gap.
Having said the above … This very morning the CBC radio had its daily global warming diatribe on how ticks are spreading and endangering our very civilization. They moved past bad journalism into blatant propaganda a long time ago.

I occasionally see a coyote crossing behind my house less than half a mile from the center of town going to the stream and wood. I see foxes very frequently, not so many rabbits any more, can’t imagine why. Still plenty of deer and squirrels around though.

kaliforniakook

In Southern California, coyotes are not shy of people. They are everywhere. I can’t think of a single town where I haven’t seen them. Last I heard, 10,000 of them were in Los Angeles alone. Much more in Orange County. I’ve seen them just outside the fences of Boeing in Seal Beach and Huntington Beach. While the former has a wetlands nearby, the latter does not. There is little open space in HB.
Good news: they keep down the rabbit population. Somewhat. A little. Let’s face it: rabbits breed like… hm.

Warmer climate also means more predators which eat ticks and mosquitoes.
My home on the edge of the tropics is surrounded by lizards crawling over the house, spiders, birds, large insects, even toads hopping over the lawn.
The lizards especially love it when we turn the lights on, they wait by the windows and snatch insects, including mosquitoes, which are drawn by the light.
Many of these predators eat mosquitoes and ticks.
Warmer WEATHER causes a small surge in mosquitoes and ticks. Warmer CLIMATE not so much – because predator numbers also surge when there is a sustained increase in food supply.

Clyde Spencer

Eric,
On the other hand, California lizards, such as the alligator lizard and blue bellied lizard, are often hosts to ticks. Apparently, the blue bellied lizards have something in them that kills the spirochetes of Lyme Disease. Were that not the case, I suspect that Lyme Disease would be a lot more prevalent in California. It has been present for over 30 years, but never as prevalent as in the NE, even though California deer are usually covered with ticks, fleas, and some other kind of arthropod that seems to like deer.

Louis Hooffstetter

“Apparently, the blue bellied lizards have something in them that kills the spirochetes of Lyme Disease.”
The drug companies should take notice…

tty

The worst area for mosquitoes is the northern coniferous forests, the taiga zone, They are particularly bad near the northern treeline where the forest is usually quite swampy. The tropics are almost mosquito-free by comparison (mangrove swamps are an exception, they can be quite bad).

Smart Rock

tty – you should try going beyond the tree line into tundra territory. A windless summer day in Nunavut is torture for humans and other mammals. The one advantage we (humans) have is that we can wear head nets that are useless in the forest because of getting snagged on trees.

Dodgy Geezer

…Ticks and fleas need deer or rodents as their main blood hosts, and those have increased as forests in suburbs have gotten thicker, deer hunting has waned,…
So… the problem is too much Nature? So for health reasons we should cut down the forests and shoot all the deer…?

kaliforniakook

Remember – California needs to cut down the forests to reduce water consumption. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/04/25/study-cut-down-trees-in-california-to-save-billions-of-gallons-of-water/

Caligula Jones
Clyde Spencer

Kip,
You said, “…have used this trick myself — benignly, I hope.” Are you rationalizing that the end justifies the means? 🙂

ChrisB

It is still same “gray lady” that I’d read during the preceeding months of Iraq war. Who can forget the aluminum tubes, nuclear bombs and biological agents that its breathless “journalists” pumped out ?
Not a single drop of ink in that piece of rag worth the time spent on dissecting its honesty. It is simply a sheet that one can find in any 3rd world brothel, but with NYT embroidered on its corner.

Does anybody still subscribe to that socialist rug?
Or is it entirely financed now by guilt-tripping billionaires?

AllyKat

A librarian at GMU told me that the university paid $40,000 a year for students and faculty to have online access to the NYT. Just 25 schools need to “subscribe” at that price for the paper to “earn” $1,000,000 in revenue.

joelobryan

The ticks may be the bacterial host, and thus the vector to human infection. But ticks have tiny little legs. And humans are generally quite a dead-end host for ticks. We pick them off, and mostly head to the Dr for treatment if a large red rash appears.
The ticks are spread by the wild mammals they feed on, deer, mice, and voles. An infectious focus, called a nidus, once started will enlarge under natural dispersion of infected/disease/tick-infested carrying animals. Mice and voles tend to stay in one area and establish localized infectious foci. A nidus allows transmission to the geographically wider ranging deer populations.
Deer populations are increasing in the eastern US.

“No native vertebrate species in the eastern United States has a more direct effect on habitat integrity than the white-tailed deer. There are no hard numbers, but in many states deer populations continue to rise well beyond historical norms. In many areas of the country deer have changed the composition and structure of forests by preferentially feeding on select plant species.”
read more here: https://blog.nature.org/science/2013/08/22/too-many-deer/

As the deer populations increase and spread, mainly due to lack of predation and decreases in hunting from man, so too will Lyme Disease spread with it.
So once again, the cause maybe anthropogenic, but it likely has little if anything to do with atmospheric, trace-gas increases in TheMagicMolecule™️.
Unless of course you are a Propagandist journalist working for the Green Blob, then the mystical powers of TheMagicMolecule™️ can be unleashed to cause anything.

Felix

Yup. Shoot more deer and tick-borne disease will drop like shed antlers.
But that fact is an inconvenient truth to Enviro-N@zis.

Felix

I’m in favor of shooting and eating them, rather than letting them starve to death or be eaten alive in the wild, to which the relocated deer would not be adapted.
Road-killed elk used to be fed to prisoners. Dunno if that’s still allowed or not.

TA

I have a herd of deer that hangs out around my place and I think they do self-regulate because the number of deer in the herd has been about the same for all the decades I have lived in my current home.

kaliforniakook

Thank you for that! Justifies me getting back into hunting. Can do it now on my own property.
If only I could get my wife to cook the meat. All she sees is Bambi. Damn that stupid movie.

tty

Contrary to what NYT claims there is no such thing as an area “too cold” for ticks. The worst place for ticks that I have ever visited was the area around Bratsk in Siberia. Winter temperatures regularly are below -40 there. There is a lot of TBE (Tick-Borne Encephalitis) there too. If you plan to visit Siberia be sure to get inoculated for TBE.

joelobryan

Most of Siberia is covered by vast arboreal, decidous forests. This produces a regular leaf layer every fall. The nymphal ticks are evolved to remain covered under this decaying layers of leaves on the forest floor. The decay (like a compost heap) helps keeps temperatures elevated under a deep blanket of snow from the very cold air above.
Further, like all cold environment evolved arthropods and arachnids, the ticks in Siberia (and North America, and N. Europe) also employ natural antifreeze defenses. Very fascinating stuff.
Read more here:
http://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/12/1846
But it suits the Climate Propagandists narrative to conveniently avoid any discussion of the above two considerations. They remain focused solely on warmer temps due to TheMagicMolecule™️ as causal to anything the rhetorically invoke.

tty

Unfortunately most of Siberia is covered by vast coniferous forests. There is consequently no leaf layer, the typical soil profile is podzolic:
http://www.borealforest.org/world/images/russia_forest_map.jpg

eyesonu

I’m curious as to the correlation of tick borne disease in the Eastern US as opposed to the western states as possibly being related to fires. Not a lot of out of control fires in the east as opposed to the west. Are there fewer ticks out west?
Are deer really the main culprit in Lyme disease or is the increase in reported cases more a result of the medical profession’s awareness and testing? It was just ‘discovered/identified’ in the past 35 – 40 years.

TonyL

Deer population increases have been absolutely stunning on Long Island (NY), Conn., Rhode Island, and Mass. Even more dramatic is that these phenomenal increases have happened in heavily populated suburban areas. In decades past, there would never be deer anywhere near these areas. Now, of course, they are all around people, maximizing disease transmission. After this, the next big problem is car crashes with them, due to their unfortunate habit of bolting right as a car going down the road makes it’s closest approach. Incredibly, they jump right in front of the vehicle.
Along with the deer, there has been a huge rise in the deer tick. Although not unknown in previous decades, they were never as prevalent as they are now, and certainly did not appear in suburban areas.

tty

Deer are very social animal. The “jumping right in front of the vehicle” usually happens when most of a flock is on one side of the road and one or two on the other side. When the deer get scared by an approaching vehicle the “outliers” will instinctively try to join the main flock. This was a sensible behaviour against predators but it is not at all a successful strategy with cars.
Living in an exceptionally deer-rich area in Sweden I am afraid that the only things you can do is to drive quite slowly in forest or scrub areas and try to hunt a lot of deer.

Clyde Spencer

TonyL,
I grew up in northern Illinois in the 50s. My collie and I would roam through the forest and fields and I never jumped a deer nor even saw deer tracks in the snow. I went back to my old home a few years ago and saw white tail tracks in the mud all over the place. Some of the prints were bigger than Mulie tracks in the Sierra Nevadas. Things have changed!

Felix

tty,
In North America, the males of both white-tailed and mule deer are mainly solitary. White-tailed does are more solitary than the more gregarious mulies, but in both species, the level of sociability varies with the season.
I too hunt deer not just for food, but to thin out the population. Almost everyone in my area has hit a whitetail or mule deer on the road at night at least once.

Clyde Spencer

eyesonu;
It is my experience that there is no shortage of ticks in the West. Indeed, I would pick up ticks regularly in the Mother Lode of California, and I have yet to encounter a tick here in Ohio, despite deer bedding down back behind my house in the Winter. Ticks generally seem to prefer to migrate up to the back of my neck. When they start to burrow in, I start to itch, and as I scratch, I pick them off with my fingernail. When I lived in California, I did a lot of gold panning. There was one place on the Cosumnes River where there were some cattle. I picked up a tick about every ten minutes!

lewispbuckingham

In Sydney the suburbs have had most of the original Cumberland Wood Plain chopped down to be replaced by McMansions and the Green Web, 100 metre littoral areas where creeks still run and have scrub and trees around them.
As a result the possums and hopping marsupials have been wiped out by cats, dogs and deforestration so a new vector is on the rise, Rattus Rattus.
These then ,according to theory, transmit ticks into the suburbs along wet , low bushes along the creek lines.
This is man built vector change.
Now Ixodes Holocyclis is known to be active in the month after rain.
According to Prof Flannery we should be in eternal drought, which, in theory, would wipe out ticks.
Anything could happen with climate change, even good things, such as the destruction of paralysis ticks.
However we still have rain, contrary to the dismal forecast.
The ‘theory of everything’, climate change, which we engender, opening endless possibility.

J Mac

I grew up in Wisconsin…. I can deal with mosquitoes and ticks. I’m more concerned with the economic-blood-sucking human parasites known as climate change activists and environmental justice warriors.

kaliforniakook

True, true, J Mac.

Reziac

Yep, ticks and mosquitoes, every spring.
Especially in the Arctic.

alexei

Coincidentally, NOTALOTOFPEOPLE had a very interesting article today by an expert (Prof.Paul Reiter) on the alleged spread of malaria –
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/paul-reiter-debunks-malaria-scare-stories/#more-33048
 

Kristi Silber

Greetings, Kip!
Just as you are interested in identifying journalistic bias, so am I!
‘The New York Times, however, insists (this is the correct word) that the cause of the increase and spread of vector-borne diseases is “warming” and/or ”climate change”. ‘
From what you’ve presented, I don’t see where the NYT article “insists” anything about the cause being climate change.
“Warmer weather is an important cause of the surge, according to the lead author of a study published in the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”
How is this a distortion of facts? Is this not something the CDC author said? You say yourself the NYT writer immediately said the researcher wasn’t talking about climate change. Or is it the “important” you have a problem with?
“The C.D.C. is worried that ….either a natural or a bio-weapon vector-borne disease could cause a serious epidemic. … They are not, however, a looming disaster or existential threat to mankind.
“And, they are not caused by Climate Change or Anthropogenic Global Warming byany of its many names”
You don’t know this! To me, this is potentially more misleading that the article you talk about. Even if research hasn’t demonstrated a link between climate change and diseases or their vectors, that does not mean there isn’t one. (Have you checked the literature for other evidence?) The research wasn’t even meant to address the question, so it would be pretty silly to draw conclusions about it. It’s even possible that the CDC is under orders to avoid direct mention of climate change, or that one of the authors of the paper is a skeptic and doesn’t want it discussed – who knows?
I am NOT arguing that climate change has resulted in increased disease development and spread, I’m arguing that you are not in a position to say it’s not happening – no one is. The most one could say is that it hasn’t been documented (if that’s true – I don’t know). I imagine it would be pretty difficult to demonstrate that statistically. …Besides, “Dr. Petersen said it was probably caused by many factors, including two related to weather: ticks thriving in regions previously too cold for them, and hot spells triggering outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.” Well? Is this irrelevant to climate change?
“The journalist wants to say, maybe because the NY Times has a strict Editorial Narrative on Climate Change, that this increase in incidence and geographical spread is caused by “warming weather caused by Climate Change.””
Again, you don’t KNOW the journalist wants to say something, you assume it – and stating the assumed desires of another is pretty awful journalism. It doesn’t matter if it’s a safe assumption. Maybe he simply wants to cover the bases because he knows climate change is a big deal and people will wonder. He could even have excluded the part about the CDC man declining to make the link if he wanted to fool people.
I agree that the NYT writer didn’t need to bring climate change into the article, but based on what you’ve presented I don’t see how facts have been twisted. To me it’s pretty ironic to make the assertion about others when there is ample fodder for such complaints here. Stories about NYT writers believing climate change or bringing it up gratuitously are hardly surprising – why bring it up?
Do you wish to inflame animosity and a sense of victimhood? Why not turn that “skeptic” eye on the statements that are made in WUWT posts?
Poor “skeptics” – the world is against you, and it just isn’t fair!
…………………………………
This paper discusses the relationship between deer, mice, climate, acorns and Lyme disease. it, too, finds no link with “climate variables” or with deer density (Coincidentally, I spent 2 summers gathering forest data in the Adirondacks for one of the authors. I can vouch for the integrity of the two first authors even though they discuss climate change and models, which I know normally automatically makes them corrupt lying fools.)
http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0040145
However, this is in the middle of Lyme disease country, and it may be limited by other factors than climate. To assess that, comparison with the edge of the range, or looking at topographic effects on range, or the expansion in relation to climate might be better indicators. It’s a good example of research that addresses climate change but which could to be reproduced in a different area, get different results, yet not contradict those of the first if different factors are limiting in different regions.
(I’m pretty sure that deer population density is higher in patchy landscapes rather than solid forest.)

TA

“and stating the assumed desires of another is pretty awful journalism.”
We need to get this message out to the Leftwing News Media. All they do is assume, and assume the worst-case scenario at that, when it comes to the political opposition. That’s awful journalism.
As for Kip misrepresenting what the NYT reporter wrote:
The New York Times article does say the CDC Director “declined to link the increase to the politically fraught issue of climate change” so I assume the NYT reporter made a point of asking him if there was any relationship. That would tell me the NYT is focused on climate change, as well as emphasizing “warmer weather is an important cause of the surge”, even though other possible causes were mentioned, which also implies a focus on CAGW (climate change)
I don’t think Kp misrepresented anything.
As to why we should care: Know thy enemy. Which is Leftwing Propaganda. Leftwing Propaganda will take away your freedom, if given the chance. so we need to study it and understand it so we can defeat it by shining the light of Truth into the Darkness. A relentless stream of lies from the Left needs constant correction.

Edwin

Deer adapt quite quickly to predation by wild carnivores like coyotes. Coyotes generally only prey on fawns and like most predators diseased and old animals. One of the problems with deer is the decline in hunting throughout the country or overly restrictive bag limits. For decades in most states it was illegal to take doe. That caused all kinds of problems including over population. Florida has endangered plants now surrounded by state parks but which are threatened because the animal rights folks and environmentalist refuse to allowing hunting in those parks. So when deer season opens where do the deer go, in the park.

u.k.(us)

What exactly are the diseases/infections being spread ?
Are they life threatening ?, or easily cured ?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Felix

Ticks (arachnids) and mosquitoes (insects) spread some of the worst diseases known to humanity:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick-borne_disease
http://www.mosquito.org/page/diseases
They rival fleas as vectors in their toll of death and misery.

u.k.(us)

But…but…I’ve got Obamacare.
No worries, right ?

Felix

Better if you had Medicare Plan D, with antibiotic coverage.
Plus experimental antivirals.

Felix

A far greater threat than the arthropod vectors of pathogens, which can be controlled, are the US cities which allow, indeed encourage, the unwashed homeless to live, urinate and defecate in their streets.
Not to mention the environmental effects of all the disinfectant that gets washed into water systems along with all the untreated (sub-)human fecal matter.
Thanks to all the liberals who thought it was a great idea to empty out and close mental institutions, because crazy people were sure to take their new meds while on their own.

Felix May 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm
Thanks to all the liberals who thought it was a great idea to empty out and close mental institutions, because crazy people were sure to take their new meds while on their own.

Yes that well-known ‘liberal’ Ronald Reagan!

Zurab Abayev

Even though beautiful Review article at New England journal of medicine States that dengue is on the rise due to increased human travel and international used tire trade, greens are still using so called global warming as chief cause…

I honestly believe a lot of WUWT followers live in urban conurbations and are completely disassociated from the land.
Living in a small village in Poland the increase in tick numbers has been obvious year-in-year as well as the more rapid transition from winter to summer – this year we are already watering our garden early May which is almost unheard of. Ticks thrive during warmer winters and we all know climate patterns are being impacted by AGW. The correlation is an obvious one: https://mankindsdegradationofplanetearth.com/2018/05/02/ticks-are-on-the-increase-owing-to-warming-climate-conditions-people-should-dress-appropriately/

Ve2

If CNN get hold of this story that tick will be big enough to have your leg off.

Tom Kennedy

As mosquito infections triple industrial wind turbines are killing the best natural way to control mosquito populations.
Heres a summary from an article on Save the Eagles International
http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/new/wind-farms-more-health-issues.html
– Birds and bats are being killed at an astonishingly increasing rate as the number of industrial wind turbines increase.
– Mosquito populations are rising at an alarming rate.
– Bat kills in one location can impact locations thousands of miles away.
– Bats are long lived and slow to reproduce. Scientists are worried that some of the most useful bat species (e.g. Hoary bats) will not recover and become extinct – Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat
– Birds and bats provide a natural way of keeping mosquitoes and other problem insects (e.g. Lyme disease ticks) in check.
– Mosquitoes spread diseases like Zika, Malaria, and West Nile Virus. These diseases are spreading throughout the US and Europe.
– Communities are beginning to increase chemical spraying, including aerial spraying of Naled over millions of acres in the US. Naled is toxic to bees and butterflies. The European Union banned Naled in 2012, citing “potential and unacceptable risk showed for human health.”
– Politicians and Industrial Wind companies are not going to give in easily, as billions of dollars (and euros) in subsidies are at stake.

thomaskennedy2

At least part of the blame for the increase in mosquito population, is because Industrial Wind Turbines are killing millions of bats. Bats are the best natural way to control mosquito populations.A bat can eat as many as 1000 insects an hour. If you kill millions of bats you will have billions of more mosquitoes. While subsidies fund a false solution (wind turbines) for AGW (which is probably a mythological problem), they are creating a real problems by destroying the best natural way to control the problem.

TA

Someone in Kp’s article made this unsubstantiated claim: “ticks thriving in regions previously too cold for them,”.
Could someone tell me where this is happening?

Gary Pearse

Kip, even Peterson is mistaken about cold places and ticks. Manitoba has had heavy tick infestations from before my early childhood days in the 1940s and right up to the present.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4054020
Manitoba winters are warmer today, but ticks were rife in the very cold years, too.

M E

If the influence of the New York Times is the question.
It must be international , as Newspaper sites in New Zealand .Radio New Zealand often quote the New York Times as an authoritative source. Along with the Washington Post, The BBC, The Guardian , Australian News Papers and TV and some times DW…. My own theory is that the number of journalists in newsrooms in New Zealand has been seriously cut as the proprietors and management put their money into trying to create new
methods of news distribution for mobile devices. Even the National Radio has a web page with podcasts and visual news hosts conduct main news programmes on line . it is now http://www.radionz.co.nz/
This may be leading to reporters or journalists covering academic subjects in which they have no background . They may produce ‘news’ by cutting and pasting from overseas sources and making precis of various publishers ‘ advertising ‘blurbs’. because it is cheaper. These quick summaries by academic publishers are often as misleading as the description of the contents of a book on the back of the book jacket.
But the NYT is very influential overseas make no mistake, and when it misleads the U.S it misleads a large part of the world. I think arguing that it is authoritative is no longer possible either. I’m sceptical of their reporting of science as I’m sceptical of their reporting of conditions in other countries. the Motto Falsus in Uno , Falsus in Omnibus should be pinned to the wall of newsrooms if they want respect.

lewispbuckingham

My significant other has NYT news texts sent to he I Phone, free.

Roger Knights

Reason site article:
Over-Regulation Is Making Us More Vulnerable to Disease
Regulatory precaution, not rising temperatures, is the main driver for the increase in vector-borne disease.
Ronald Bailey|May. 8, 2018
“the increase in vector-borne illnesses identified by the CDC says much more about how the proliferation of regulatory barriers is slowing the development and deployment of modern technologies to prevent the spread of disease.”
http://reason.com/blog/2018/05/08/vector-borne-diseases-climate-change-and?utm_medium=email