Climate change could bring bubonic plague back to Los Angeles

From The LA Times

By David K. Randall

May 16, 2019 | 3:15 AM


Bubonic plague bacteria taken from a patient in 2003. (Center for Disease Control / AFP / Getty Images)

The steamship caused the last global outbreak of bubonic plague. Climate change could cause the next one.

Longer, hotter weather patterns are extending the breeding season of rats and rodents, leading to a steep increase in their numbers in places like Los Angeles, New York and Houston. Over the last decade, urban rat populations are up by 15% to 20% worldwide, thanks to a combination of climate changes and a greater preference among humans for urban living, increasing the amount of trash available for scavengers, according to estimates from Bobby Corrigan, a rodent control consultant and one of the nation’s leading rat experts.

The swelling number of rodents isn’t just an urban nuisance. More importantly, all those additional rats and squirrels can serve as hosts for fleas carrying the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis. The disease is already endemic among fleas that feast on rural squirrels in California, Arizona, Wyoming and other states. Climate change could make it possible for plague-carrying fleas to thrive in more places than they do now, bringing the disease into closer contact with humans.

“Any climate change conditions that increase the number of fleas [also increase] the distribution of plague,” said Dr. Janet Foley, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UC Davis.

Already, public health officials increasingly find themselves battling rare and dangerous diseases associated with rats. An employee at Los Angeles City Hall who recently contracted typhus blamed the disease on flea bites she suffered as a result of the building’s rat infestation, while a cluster of patients suffering from the rare disease leptospirosis, an often-fatal condition spread by rat urine, were identified in the Bronx in 2017. An outbreak of bubonic plague due to contact with diseased squirrels prompted Russia to close its border with Mongolia last week.

While many major cities face the problem of increasing rat populations, Los Angeles finds itself in unique danger of disease because of its rapidly growing homeless crisis. As more people live in closer contact with rodent fleas that can carry the plague bacterium, preventing an outbreak of one of the most frightening diseases in human history will require a stronger push to eradicate potential hosts.

Eliminating rats and squirrels to save human lives saved Los Angeles once before. In 1924, fleas from an infected rat bit a man named Jesus Lajun who lived on what was then called Clara Street, near the current-day Twin Towers Correctional Facility downtown. Within six weeks, nearly everyone who had come into contact with Lajun during the roughly 48 hours between the time he caught the disease and the time he died from it was dead. The trail of victims included not only his immediate family members but also those of a neighbor who cared for him when he was too weak to leave the house.

Full story here.


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Tom Halla
May 20, 2019 10:08 am

Another green porkie. The Black Death occurred during the first part of the Little Ice Age (1348 onwards).
If there is any problem, it is due to restrictions on rat control due to environmental concerns, in addition to the uncontrolled homeless problem due to leftist social engineering.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 20, 2019 1:06 pm

Tom, you are correct the Plague that wiped out much of Europe took place during the Little Ice Age. In fact if I remember correctly Bubonic Plague outbreaks throughout history took place during cold periods, not warm. The problem today is poor rodent control, including everything from poor planning of control methods, untrained technicians in the field, rats developing resistance to poisons like warfarin. The other problem is the homelessness problem in most of the major cities and towns on the West Coast and the massive influx of illegal aliens. We will have a major disease outbreak though not necessarily the Plague, probably along the West Coast

Richard Patton
Reply to  Edwin
May 20, 2019 5:07 pm

The idiots in charge of my city (PDX) are of the opinion that it is unconstitutional to kick the homeless off the streets.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 20, 2019 1:39 pm

Homeless people defecating in the streets and the ensuing rats is far more likely cause an outbreak of bubonic plague than any warming.

Pretending this is anything to do with a few days more summer weather is the usual fake science.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  Greg
May 20, 2019 4:46 pm

I suspect that excrement in the streets is more likely to result in an outbreak of cholera than of bubonic plague.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
May 20, 2019 6:06 pm

Plus hepatitis. Hepatitis outbreak in San Diego “under control”. For now.
I suppose it does provide regular daily jobs for the HazMat suited workers who hose down the streets and sidewalks that are covered in human waste.

Why the return of these 3rd world diseases to 1st world sanctuary cities?

tsk tsk
Reply to  Alan McIntire
May 20, 2019 6:34 pm

They already have a typhoid epidemic.

Kitty Antonik
Reply to  tsk tsk
May 21, 2019 7:15 am

Officials for Pasadena Health Dept “say the disease has nothing to do with homelessness in their high-income city.” But LA Health Dept searching specifically for “high concentrations of infected fleas and/or infected rats, feral cats and opossums.” Also noting “There are lots of rats on Skid Row, and there are lots of dogs that belong to homeless people.”
So some see only warming & “interfacing” w/ “wildlife” from nearby canyons as typhoid cause, while others think otherwise, assessing some of the sidewalks they encounter as “refugee camps”.

Reply to  Greg
May 21, 2019 3:29 pm

One could argue though that homeless people in the streets are caused by warmer weather, since they don’t freeze to death enough during winters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pieter Folkens
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 20, 2019 4:56 pm

David Keys in “Catastrophe, An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World,” pointed out that the Plague first got to Europe on ships from Africa following the Sunda Caldera pyroclastic event and the ensuing abrupt cooling/climate change around 534 C.E.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 20, 2019 8:41 pm

The problems that they are presently experiencing with typhus in California is a good example of what might be expected with the plague. Typhus is spread by fleas, just like Bubonic plague, and climate change is no more responsible for it than it is for the plague. The real culprit is the piles and piles of garbage on the streets caused by the huge overpopulation of homeless, and ineffective control of same. The garbage draws rats and the rats carry fleas, which carry typhus.

Every year when I lived in San Diego some years ago, there would be a report or two of a squirrel or raccoon or rat being discovered to be carrying the Black Plague, usually hyped by the writer assigned to the article. Now the situation is a lot more serious. All it’s going to take is one squirrel exposing a human transient to its bacteria, and Shazam! Then Los Angeles or wherever it occurs will have a real problem on its hands, even without climate change.

I hope they get a handle on it before that kind of thing happens, but my expectations are not high.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Nancy
May 20, 2019 8:51 pm

There is also the risk that the homeless could be infested with fleas themselves, making human to human transmission more likely. Given the epidemiology of the Black Death, it was not purely transmission from rats an their fleas. This return to Medaeval sanitation by the homeless makes this much more likely.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 21, 2019 8:48 am

As a matter of fact the Black Death was probably mostly spread direct human-to-human:

Reply to  Nancy
May 21, 2019 3:22 am

curous thing an outbreak of distemper in raccoons in usa and in grey seals in usa shores also
distempers are a group of diseases and are pretty rare nowdays.
they dont even have the sense to warn dog owners to update vaccines for distemper in case its a cross species varaint

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 21, 2019 5:51 am
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 21, 2019 8:35 am

It’s not just the mid-1300s bubonic plague pandemic.

There were three great bubonic plague pandemics in recorded history – the “Justinian Plague” in the 540s AD, the “Black Death” plague in the 1340s AD, and finally the Chinese Plague outbreak in the 1890s. Each of those mass pandemics occurred during a relatively cool period.

The disease vector, or course, is just one element required for a disease pandemic. What is also required is a weakened human population, and human population movement. The chief effect of a cooling climate is of course crop failure, followed by mass starvation. Mass starvation makes any population far less resistant to disease pandemics.

All three conditions applied in the three great bubonic plague pandemics of history.

Today humans are the best fed in human history. And of course medical practice and disease vector controls are also superior to historical plague pandemic practices.

Sorry – there will be no 21st century Black Death pandemic.

It is possible, of course, that other disease pandemics may materialize just like Hollywood movies have portrayed for decades … but not the Black Death.

bobbie Kay gregory
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 31, 2019 6:22 am

If the plague breaks out, it is because of feces in the streets., just like medieval times, when there was no carbon footprint. The plague has nothing to do with “climate change.”

May 20, 2019 10:12 am

Overwhelming otherwise wealthy sanctuary cities like SF with a massive indigent illegal immigrant population is a far more likely cause of a plague outbreak.

Besides, didn’t the Plague occur during a period of natural cooling? Wasn’t the Dark Ages the period of time between the Roman Warming and the Medieval Warming?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 20, 2019 11:11 am

The common Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus, aka, sewer rat, Norway rat, Hannover rat) is the culprit here.
They are remarkably adaptable mammals of course. They’ve lived for millennia along side human civilizations, feeding on waste piles and living in human dwellings. They are alos highly intelligent. They learn avoidance behaviors quickly when hunted, and their sense of smell is probably equal to that of most canines.

As such, their range of environments is as diverse as humans from the equatorial tropics to the villages in the Arctic. What they need like any mammals for a population explosion is a ready and abundant food source. Co-habitating with humans, especially where public sanitation is not strictly followed, allows populations to explode when trash and garbage are not collected. Then rats become more common sightings, and their hunger can drive them to boldness, and also allow for flea populations to explode from the many brooding nests as well.

To blame “climate change” for this highly adaptable mammal’s population increase in an urban area is either sheer stupidity or outright lying for political purpose.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 1:00 pm

Rats like all mammals need water to survive and the California perma-drought will .. oh never mind.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 1:46 pm

One of the main contributions to the outbreak of the plague in London, in 1665 to 1666, was the open sewers in the street. They STANK.

The general plan was the “chuck your crock of shyte out of the window” of the overhanging Tudor first floor. An open trough in the middle of the road was intended to take it away …. next time it rained !

How long before the homeless in LA create a similar health situation?

The only thing which saved the population of London was the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 21, 2019 1:01 am

I think the Black Rat (Ratus Ratus) was the culprit, or carrier during the medieval plagues ?

Here in the UK its all but extinct, having been driven out by the larger Brown Rat it maintains a tiny toehold in a single spot on the banks of the Bristol Channel. It presented a conundrum for the preservation people a while back, should they be protected 🙂

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 21, 2019 8:51 am

It is actually very doubtful if any plague pandemic before the one at the end of the nineteenth century was spread by rats. This seems to be a recent adaptation by Yersinia pestis which is now known to have repeatedly decimated human populations in Eurasia for more than 5,000 years.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 20, 2019 11:17 am



And it’s compounded by the plague of leadership there.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
May 20, 2019 1:06 pm

“Bubonic plague outbreak in Los Angeles” – – – – I’m not sure there is a downside to this scenario.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  GeologyJim
May 20, 2019 4:44 pm

Amen. Please, don’t give us false hope. Shame to lose DiCaprio et al.

Richard Patton
Reply to  GeologyJim
May 20, 2019 6:07 pm

Bubonic plague is not the disaster that public health specialists worry about. By far the great majority of Americans do not live in conditions where they would be exposed to rat flees. What worries public health officials is that it takes only ONE person who has gotten Bubonic plague and in whom it transitions to pneumonic plague using public transit to turn it into a disaster worse than Ebola with nearly 100% fatality rate if not treated by antibiotics within 24 hours of first symptoms which are very similar to the flu.

Here is how it could work: A group of city workers clear out a homeless camp in LA or SFO. One or more of the homeless have picked up plague and have what everyone thinks is pneumonia, it is close to the holidays and one of the workers the next or following day takes a flight to Chicago, or NYC even though he is starting to feel rotten, to visit relatives. He is picked up by relatives and they take the subway to their home. Everyone in the plane will come down with it and everyone in the subway car will come down with it. It won’t be recognized for what it is for many days or even a couple of weeks. In the meantime, many thousands will come down with it. As soon as it is recognized, all air travel to/from the U.S. is shut down, but it may be too late. It is quite possible that millions would die before it is stopped.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Richard Patton
May 20, 2019 6:11 pm

I did see one quote on pneumonic plague, that by the time the doctor notices that the lungs are involved, “the patient usually dies”.

Reply to  Richard Patton
May 21, 2019 9:13 am

Here is a thing, if not the thing about infectious diseases. They all have incubation periods, where the exposed carrier doesn’t feel sick. Why is that? Because the symptoms are mostly from the immune response, not the disease vector, itself. There are exceptions; and those are where the organism produces toxic amounts of chemicals in addition to the toxic amount of chemicals the immune system produces. Hint: activated oxygen … is just *one* of these. Hint: there is enough calcium floating around to poison cells whose membranes have been made *too* porous.

Bill Powers
May 20, 2019 10:25 am

They can keep this up all day. There is no end to their fearmongering. They especially love to scare the lil chillun.

Lucius von Steinkaninchen
May 20, 2019 10:27 am

I’m sure that the tendency of Los Angeles becoming a shithole of trash in open air and growing homeless camps has nothing to do with the proliferation of rats. Clerarly, it’s GLOBAL WARMING’s fault!

Reply to  Lucius von Steinkaninchen
May 20, 2019 11:24 am

Tom and you had good points.

Also note: a hot dry climate is bad for rat, a warm humid climate is good for all life, including illegals from Central America.

May 20, 2019 10:33 am

So they won’t change what is known to be currently causing the typhus (and measels, and whooping cough, etc).

But everyone else is supposed to change what hypothetically could cause bubonic plague in the future.

May 20, 2019 10:33 am

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d have a fine Christmas. Another guesstimate piece fearmongering AGW. Like there’s no rodents in cold environments?

Commodore Model 3 Robotic Assembly Device
May 20, 2019 10:34 am

A whole lot of “coulds”and “possibly” in that article. More messy people equals more trash equals more food for rats and mice.

May 20, 2019 10:35 am

Personally, I think letting people “sheet” on the sidewalks is more of an L.A. health problem….IMHO

May 20, 2019 10:36 am

I sure hope someone is compiling all these looney predictions. Future generations are going to have a big laugh at the expense of the cultists.

Could we bring back critical thinking into our educational system? Somehow it got lost along the way.

May 20, 2019 10:41 am

Or maybe it’s the homeless defecating on the streets that brings back the plague.

Bill P.
May 20, 2019 10:42 am

Every one of these dire predictions of this type can be summarized thusly:

“A thing that happened in the past that had nothing to do with Climate Change might now recur because of Climate Change.”


May 20, 2019 10:49 am

Antibiotics control the disease quite easily. With treatment the mortality rate is below 10%.
However, if the alarmists are successful in returning humanity to the 1400’s then the mortality rate soars to 90%.

I might suspect that climate conditions are the least of the reasons vermin proliferate. Human created habitat is far more prevalent.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 20, 2019 12:32 pm

The Western Socialists are following the Venezuelan model. Bernie Sanders has many statements from his past admiring Chavez’s Venezuelan socialism.

Access to even basic clinical care now in Venezuela by the masses simply isn’t happening. Antibiotics – forget about it, people there are now dying at every higher numbers of easily cured infections. Folks with heart failure, diabetes, and other chronic, but pharmacologically-manageable, diseases are dying because those medicines are not available to the masses. They are available though to the Senior military officers and politically connected elites that remain loyal Maduro and his inner circle of Cuban-trained advisors.

Clinics and hospitals all over the country are now closed due to lack of supplies, failure to pay staff, and emigration of trained clinical staff out of the country. This is the real outcome of fully socialized medicine when the government runs out of OPM.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 3:08 pm

What I don’t get is why someone like Maduro wants to run a s*ithole like Venezuela has become. Even though he has robbed it blind at some point he must go out and see what has happened to his country that can’t be a very good feeling.

Reply to  TomT
May 20, 2019 8:20 pm

they would rather rule hell than serve in Heaven.
-Mark Passio

May 20, 2019 10:51 am

Of course it IS the warm, temperate climate of L.A. which attracts bubonic plague carrying rats.

comment image?quality=85&strip=all&w=400&h=225&crop=1

Thanks Jerry Brown! Thanks supermajority Leftist CA Legislature! Thanks Sanctuary City of LA!

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Kenji
May 20, 2019 11:42 am


Can anyone equate the increase of the numbers of homeless in LA and SF to the temperature?

I don’t see a lot of homeless moving to colder climates, why would rats?

Charlie Adamson
May 20, 2019 10:52 am

And I can attest to the rat infestation that Los Angeles has. I lived in Southern California for about 11 years (late 1974 through 1985), and witnessed them first hand. They used the utility pole wires to very quickly travel through the neighborhoods. Thick plant cover such as Ice Plant and Ivy provided excellent cover and breeding grounds.

Once they chewed through the walls and/or soffits of homes and businesses they easily took over attics and crawl spaces. California has far more serious problems to come considering the numerous people crossing the border unvetted and unscreened for disease. For example Tuberculosis has begun to show up in areas that have accepted unscreened people coming form countries around the world via our southern border. But I am sure that many people who visit this site already know about these factors.

Then again the problem does support a thriving pest control industry. 🙂

Reply to  Charlie Adamson
May 20, 2019 3:25 pm

sadly … I have a terrible roof rat problem. Yes, I need a new roof. They squeeze between my worn-out cedar shakes, get into the attic, and then migrate to the underfloor (in the 2inch clear space between framing and my brick chimney). So much for my formerly beautiful natural cedar shake roof 🙁 There is no way to get in from the ground. They’re awful. A new roof and plywood sheathing is coming. I look forward to being RAT free.

Lawrence Miller
Reply to  kenji
May 20, 2019 4:18 pm

I used to have a rat problem in a big way, one night I trapped half a dozen on my kitchen table, they lived in the roof and were causing so much noise at night that I had trouble sleeping, all that changed when I started feeding some wild cats that soon became like pets and after a time I had many, always more than six at a time around the house and I did not feed them too often, within a year or two all the rats were gone.

Sweet Old Bob
May 20, 2019 10:54 am

They need to google DIY tick tubes ….
permethrin works .

May 20, 2019 10:54 am

oh, rats .. this must be OT
Here is an interesting ocean-climate related article, no mention of the CO2 or global warming, a pure delight to read
Seasonal monsoon rains block key ocean current
See animation here

May 20, 2019 10:54 am

Won’t have anything to do with the homeless vagrants on the streets….

May 20, 2019 10:56 am

Notice the conflation of time scales and the confusion of terminology:

Longer, hotter weather patterns are extending the breeding season of rats and rodents …

… talking about weather

Over the last decade, urban rat populations are up by 15% to 20% worldwide, thanks to a combination of climate changes and a greater preference among humans for urban living, increasing the amount of trash available for scavengers …

… now talking about climate, … in a loosely attributing manner that downplays the greater factor of human population density and increasing trash.

So, start talking about weather, and try to slide cleverly into talking about climate, while suggesting that this weather is climate, while trash volume is just a bit player. Typical alarmist “logic”.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 20, 2019 12:38 pm

Well, that was an interesting coding screw up — a blockquote rectangle floating on top of another blockquote rectangle, with a drop shadow and larger font in the floating rectangle. … couldn’t have done that, if I tried.

Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 10:57 am

Yersinia pestis is a bacteria easily cured with common antibiotics. The swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and armpits (bubons) would make this an easy bacterial infection diagnosis for competent doctors, especially if an outbreak was already occurring and a contact history established.

You can’t wait until the patient is almost dead though to administer antibiotics becasue of the tissue damage in the lungs brings on life threatening pneumonia and septic shock.

The best defense though is to eliminate the rats and spray insecticides for the fleas in the areas they infest. The fleas are easily killed with permethrins and pyrethroid insecticides.

To claim a degree or two of temperature change is going to worsen a Y. pestis outbreak is simply nonsense sensationalism from ignorant journalists looking to claim some climate change points with the ignorant public. If public officials are making the claim, it is simply an attempt to avoid politcal accountability for what is a public health problem that can be eliminated with proper responses. That said, LA and SoCal is quite well known for political malpractice and incompetence, so this isn’t surprising they want an excuse. Progressives and Democrats in general never accept personal accountability for their policy failures.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 21, 2019 8:57 am

“Yersinia pestis is a bacteria easily cured with common antibiotics. ”

Not the pneumonic form. It develops too fast for antibiotics to take effect.

Richard Patton
Reply to  tty
May 21, 2019 12:25 pm

If within 24 hours of symptoms developing antibiotics are effective. BUT most people will think it is the flu until too late. The pneumonic form is the type that public health officials fear. With modern transportation, it would spread like wildfire.

LOL in Oregon
May 20, 2019 10:58 am

…”…rats and rodent in LA…”
50,000 “homeless” leeches, loafers, and druggies need to be “helped”
….and they are a bridge to sell’ya!

Tom in Florida
May 20, 2019 10:58 am

“While many major cities face the problem of increasing rat populations, Los Angeles finds itself in unique danger of disease because of its rapidly growing homeless crisis. As more people live in closer contact with rodent fleas that can carry the plague bacterium, preventing an outbreak of one of the most frightening diseases in human history will require a stronger push to eradicate potential hosts.”

Why not get attack the homeless issue for real and clean up there filthy lairs.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Tom in Florida
May 20, 2019 11:45 am

Why don’t we use a market incentive and offer $1 for each rat tail brought in to a government office of rats.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 20, 2019 12:30 pm

Breeding rats is easy.
Entrepreneurs will be able to make some easy $$.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 20, 2019 2:07 pm

My dad told me story of a neighbor who hated stray cats and paid the kids a dollar a tail, a lot of money in the early 40s, for to kids to kill the cats.

After a while he noticed bob-tailed cats running around and stopped paying for the tails.

A rat tail does not mean a dead rat.

E J Zuiderwijk
May 20, 2019 11:02 am

Doing something about the urban rat population would be the line of action in a rational world.

John Bell
May 20, 2019 11:06 am

2.0 C in 150 years (maybe) wow they have such active imaginations, all this doom and gloom to get the little people to give up fossil fuels and elect leftists with political will.

May 20, 2019 11:09 am

Worked in Boston in late 1980’s. One day had to work till wee hours. When I emerged at 4 AM, it was a rat city. There were 10’s of thousands of them everywhere. Very scary, and bizarre.

May 20, 2019 11:10 am

‘Climate change’ i not why rat populations are increasing. Its garbage, urbanisation, deteriorating housing stocks with places to live and inadequate control measures. In fact, I vaguely recall a study done somewhere in the Midwest in which rats were confined with deep fences on the prairies. They dug deep holes and survived 1970’s winters fine.

David Long
May 20, 2019 11:11 am

Obviously just another good example of alarmist scare tactics:
I’m sure rats have been capable of breeding year-round in any of the named cities in any climate they’ve had for a long time. So no real story there. And dredging up examples from the days prior to the discovery of antibiotics is hardly relevant either. Finally, the indigenous Siberian couple, who ate raw marmot meat; that’s just asking for trouble in the wilds of Siberia.

Brendan in Ireland
May 20, 2019 11:11 am

The real vermin of the Black Death were humans! Black rats were not to blame according to recent research.
Typical ignoramus of a journalist.

May 20, 2019 11:14 am

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. “

– Rahm Emanuel

This is the next step in the evolution of liberal tactics. Why wait for a serious crisis to actually happen when you can simply imagine the crisis and then use the hysteria and corrupt mainstream media help to do things you think you could not do before. It’s this case, it’s also creates a scapegoat for a problem that, if and when it happens, it will be the result of their failed immigration and social policies.

TG McCoy
May 20, 2019 11:18 am

One. The Plauge Baterium is with us, right now.
Two.the Black Plauge was during a cold snap(LIA).
Three . do not pick up dead rats, squirrels , gophers,etc,
Fleas can migrate to YOU. and if said dead rodent died because of
say, plague, you can be infected . No warming necessary. Ditto
for other diseases . Dirt and fith, not warming is the cause like others have said..

Bruce Cobb
May 20, 2019 11:21 am

“The steamship caused the last global outbreak of bubonic plague. Climate change could cause the next one.”
Or, perhaps space aliens could. My money’s on space aliens.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 20, 2019 12:21 pm

Bah, Space Aliens probably created all the outbreaks of bubonic plague.

May 20, 2019 11:32 am

Los Angeles and San Francisco – a plague on both their cities.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  jtom
May 20, 2019 12:35 pm

DemocRats are indeed a plague on California now.

May 20, 2019 11:33 am

They leave out that the mayor of SF refused to allow in the USPS for a long time. He was afraid of the tourists leaving town. This delay allowed the germ to get established in the rural squirrel population. That is why the plague bacillus is endemic on the Western side of the Mississippi River, but not the East.

Reply to  joel
May 20, 2019 12:56 pm

US Health Service?

Then again, the USPS would not have delivered either, or would shipped them to the wrong address anyway.

May 20, 2019 11:34 am

Trash is the problem. Not weather.

The alarmists writing this press release propaganda forgot to mention that bubonic plague is endemic to the rats throughout the American West.

Leave trash and feces throughout the cities, one should expect rat, indeed all trash eating rodent populations to boom.
The booms are directly associated with food availability and lack of predators. Those urbanites who kill off natural predators to rats are more to blame than they can ever blame weather.

Lack of predators + food + nesting sites = rat population explosions.

Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 11:36 am

“Longer, hotter weather patterns are extending the breeding season of rats and rodents, leading to a steep increase in their numbers in places like Los Angeles, New York and Houston.

That statement is an outright lie. The common Brown rat female will have as up to four litters per year, regardless of the weather (cold or hot) as long as food and shelter is available. Rats and mice can breed year round. Food is the only limiting factor. Of course before human civilizations came along, they were like all mammals in temperate (cold) climates with cold winters, abundant food simply was not available to support brooding in the winter.

But rural living rats in warm, tropical climates are also population-limited by available food. There is a very well known rat explosion in rural Bangladesh every 40-50 years associated with bamboo flowering, a cycle which greatly amplifies the forest rat population. The resulting hoards of rats from the bamboo forests then, driven by hunger becasue of extremely high numbers, then invade Myanmar and Bangldeshi farm fields and strip the crops bare at night when the farmers are sleeping. This has long historically led to a cycle of human famine timed with the bamboo flowering every 50 years or so.

The UN and EU have commissioned studies to understand this problem and bring control solutions to prevent the rat population explosions.

Executive Summary
Rodent population outbreaks following gregarious bamboo flowering is a real and scientifically accepted phenomenon occurring in the Bengal Bay eco-region (India, Bangladesh, Myanmar) as well as in other parts of the world where bamboo naturally grows. The dominant bamboo species in the region flowers on a 40-50 year cycle. Expansion of the rat population occurs through the provision of large quantities of bamboo seed, which the rats eat and use to fuel their reproductive rate. When the bamboo seeds eventually become scarce, the rats move out into agricultural fields and rural communities in search of food, eating everything they can find. Damage to people’s livelihoods is severe.

Rodent damage levels in the Hill District communities (of Bangladesh) are conservatively 4-5 times greater than that seen in the flood plain areas of Bangladesh. In addition to the destruction of nearly all field crops, the rats get into people’s houses, eating stored food and damaging all sorts of personal possessions and biting people while they sleep. Higher incidence of fevers of unknown origin (FUOs) and increased dysentery is documented in affected communities and most likely attributed to several different rodent-borne diseases known to be present in Bangladesh. However, the causes of the increased incidence of disease have not been clinically confirmed. There is an increased potential threat of bubonic plague entering Bangladesh over the Myanmar border due to large numbers of dispersing rodents moving out of this plague-endemic country. The chances of plague re-entering and establishing endemicity in Bangladesh are greater now than they ever have been, with national economic security consequences for Bangladesh if this were to transpire through the imposition of a national quarantine as occurred to India in 1994 due to a small plague outbreak in Surat.

This bamboo flowering –> seed production –> rat population explosion –> human crops/farms getting stripped –> human famine and disease cycle is a pattern that has been going on for millenia in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and India. To now blame “climate change” is simply an attempt to avoid accountability for political malpractice.

This phenomenon highlights the problems LA and other cities will have when they finally clean-up the garbage dumps and poor public sanitation associated with the human homeless explosion. The multitude of rats will then get hungry after their food supply is removed, and then invade offices, apartments, and homes in search of new food supplies.

So paradoxically, fixing the original food source problem (the garbage/poor sanitation) that allowed the rat population to explode in the first place, at least temporarily drives the hungry rats into closer contact with humans.

Now the real problem is political incompetence and malpractice by these Democrat-run cities. But then they are aptly named as DemocRats. No wonder they go hand in hand.

Steven Lohr
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 20, 2019 1:53 pm

Yep. And that is when I quit reading. Know nothing, speaking nothing but their imagination.

May 20, 2019 11:39 am

I’m surprised they didn’t try to pass off the recent resurgence of Typhus as climate-related.

Mike Ozanne
May 20, 2019 11:50 am

The article~:
“Longer, hotter weather patterns are extending the breeding season of rats ”

“The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year.”

“Just like the brown / Norway rat, the black rat will mate all year round if the right conditions allow it,”

Wood rats…:
“The reproductive period of this species usually begins in late September and continues until mid-June or mid-July.” i.e it already breeds 11 months of the year…

I fear that Portnoy’s complaint has overrtaken these poor souls and they can no longer see to read…

Joel Snider
May 20, 2019 11:55 am

I’m waiting for the ‘I was just joking and you’re a sea-sponge if you believed me,’ part.

After, of course, they’ve put the message out to millions of people.

May 20, 2019 12:22 pm

I’m waiting on the (Pied Piper) to come and save the day and save the children from these fearmongers.

Dave Fair
May 20, 2019 12:46 pm

CC leads to more rats. In a rat’s ass.

May 20, 2019 12:48 pm

The rat problem does not exist in the streets of LA — it exists in the government offices, and the rats there are not of the furry variety but of the intellectually challenged variety.

Too cruel?

Richard from Brooklyn (south)
May 20, 2019 12:58 pm

Next rat explosion in Bangladesh due in 2057 ( BBC reported on the last rat explosion in 2009. That report did NOT mention global warming/climate change/climate emergency/climate armageddon).
Hopefully by 2057 the climate panic merchants will have been ridiculed into obscurity by totally failed predictions/projections and the 2057 rat reports will have no mention of climate.
I will not be about to see this.

Ed Bo
May 20, 2019 1:27 pm

Funny they should print this now when we’re having the coldest winter/spring in recent memory. It’s currently February weather in May here!

As with virtually every other claim of the “effects” of climate change, other factors prove far more significant.

May 20, 2019 1:36 pm

Is it boo-bonic, or bewe-bonic?

Donald Kasper
May 20, 2019 1:50 pm

Homeless living and shitting in the streets of downtown LA are bring back plague.

May 20, 2019 1:59 pm

I am conflicted.
don’t believe it could happen, but horrified that I may be ambivalent if it did happen.
although would suspect a more “open” sanctuary city to get hit first.

its like the walking dead, don’t want it to happen love to watch it happening.
makes me a bad person.

Smart Rock
May 20, 2019 2:25 pm

In medieval Europe, cats were considered to be evil and were killed in large numbers.

Once cats became more tolerated, the multi-century plague pandemic started to run down.

In our modern, heavily regulated (for our own good, of course) societies, we are urged (in some cities, it’s mandatory) to forcibly keep cats indoors, for a variety of reasons that don’t always make sense to me, and certainly don’t to our cat who only comes indoors to eat, or when it gets too cold. Alley cats – the scourge of rats and mice – are getting to be a thing of the past. Again.

More cats in the streets and alleyways = fewer rats

Reply to  Smart Rock
May 21, 2019 2:09 am

And fewer birds, rabbits, etc and a lot of people hating on stupid cat owners.

May 20, 2019 4:15 pm

Once again, they can’t actually measure any temperature changes, however they assume that there must have been changes, and these changes must have been big enough to make a difference.

May 20, 2019 4:31 pm

So the Sanctuary Cities become sanctuaries for flea-ridden rats.

May 20, 2019 4:51 pm

The LA Times did not actually identify an observable, consistent upward trend in plague cases. Replace “bubonic plague” with any other animal transported disease and the same logic applies. Literally, this fear-mongering propaganda at its worst. The only difference here is that as school children we were terrified by the devastation of the Bubonic Plague, so this article plays on that fear.

May 20, 2019 6:12 pm

Were the US plague epidemics of 1900-04 and 1906-08 caused by ‘climate change’?

Unsanitary living conditions and a subsequent boom in rat populations will probably result in a major outbreak, warmer weather, no. Although it is worth noting that the current increase in homeless populations within certain ‘sanctuary cities’ will provide a prime growth environment for the next major outbreak.

Pamela Gray
May 20, 2019 8:57 pm

Are these researchers that stupid? A simple kindergarten review of the literature reveals that COLD periods result in die-off.

May 20, 2019 8:59 pm

L.A. is a plague on the rest of the country.

Pamela Gray
May 20, 2019 9:07 pm

Are ya’all sure this is alarmism or city planning?

May 20, 2019 10:53 pm

Yersinia pestis is just a bacteria and can be cured with common antibiotics.
Medieval scaremongering fail.

Reply to  AntonyIndia
May 21, 2019 2:15 am

So take your choice. Pay the rat catchers or pay the drug companies.

Johann Wundersamer
May 21, 2019 4:18 am
Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
May 22, 2019 6:19 am

Charles the Muderator, [you’re] the 1 and only … and so on.

Thanks, moderation.

May 21, 2019 9:29 am

Perhaps a little update on the history of plague is in order. Ancient DNA research has greatly changed our understanding of historical epidemics. “What kills you isn’t things you don’t know It’s the things you know that just ain’t so”.

Plague is an old disease – European/Eurasian populations have been decimated by plague epidemics since the Neolithic.

It is of course not by any stretch of the imagination a tropical disease, Norway and Iceland was among the worst affected countries during the late medieval-early modern pandemic

There has been at least four big pandemics, one during the Neolithic (c. 3,000-4,000 BC), one in early medieval times (c. 550-750 AD), the “classic” Black Death (c. 1350-1700 AD), and a smallish one (aborted by improved medical knowledge) c. 1850-1900. Almost certainly more will ultimately be found between the first and second of these.

It is very doubtful if any pandemic before the last one was predominantly spread by rodents, but rather from human to human (though quite likely by fleas). There were simply no rats in most of the affected areas, and early strains of Yersinia pestis don’t seem to have had the adaptations needed for efficient rodent-to-human transmission.

A good recent review:

Yes, I know – but not everything published in Nature is junk.

May 21, 2019 9:51 am

I have lived in the ESFBA for the past 35 years and, since I feed birds and squirrels and keep cats, I’ve watched the cycles.
One aspect no one has yet mentioned is that the Cal raccoon population was devastated by a prion disease epidemic about 15 years ago and has yet to recover. Raccoons are major predators of rats in the less-urban parts of cities.
Then there’s the end of the drought, which brought a surge in CA rats and mice (Mus californicus grows to be as large as rats, and is often mistaken for them).
The most urban parts of LA, of course, are less affected by these trends than by street garbage, homeless encampments and other factors noted by other commenters.

bit chilly
May 22, 2019 6:44 pm

We can but hope 🙂

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