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Climate change is no longer only an environmental problem. It is a growing public health risk. 

'Global pandemic' possible as Lyme disease creeps north

Umair Irfan, E&E News reporter
Published: Friday, July 28, 2017

The eight-legged bloodsuckers that spread Lyme disease are crawling farther north and infecting more people due to climate change, scientists report.

Rising average temperatures are making more parts of North America hospitable to the Ixodesticks that carry Lyme disease.

The infection's range is expected to move northward into Canada by 250 to 500 kilometers (155 to 310 miles) by 2050, and the season for the disease may start up to two weeks earlier than it does now. Health officials report similar patterns in Europe.

And human-caused climate change is a major contributing factor, scientists say.

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Climate Change Aids Spread Of Lyme Disease

In a recent Jefferson Public Radio interview, Dr. Dominick DellaSala (co-editor of The Ecological Importance of Mixed- Severity Fires and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene) discusses how climate change aids the spread of Lyme disease.

In the interview, he states that the animals that normally carry ticks (deer, mice, etc.) are surviving through the warmer winters coupled by the lack of top predators. He goes on to say with the warmer weather, the ticks could start making way to more northern parts of the world like Canada and Scandinavia thus putting more people at risk to the disease.

You can listen to his interview here

Climate change is triggering a pending human health crisis

Climate change is NOT an environmental problem - new research has increasingly pointed to a link between climate change and the spread of vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease. The decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the Paris climate change accords is only going to increase the spread of diseases associated with a warming planet.

Related article: "How climate change helped Lyme disease invade America" (Vox)

Download the factsheet: Lyme Disease Spreading Due to Climate Change and Human Activities, by Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D.

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