One of the lesser known side effects of climate change is the increase in invasive species — animals which are either not native to an area arriving there and out-competing the local animals OR animals which were limited by environmental factors such as seasonal rain or snow — now moving into areas where they were previously not known and taking over those areas, either eating everything in sight, and/or spreading diseases which once had far smaller domains.
In the case of ticks, we are seeing both. Ticks have begun to spread farther than they have in the past thanks to longer dry seasons with less rain. Since there is less rain, there is also less vegetation which causes animals to experience distress and become more vulnerable to disease-carrying fleas and ticks.
The result: a spread of disease-carrying fleas and ticks into regions which are ill-prepared or completely unaware of the potential threat. Fleas and ticks are both known carriers of a host of diseases including the dreaded Lyme disease, transmitted by the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern U.S. and upper Midwestern U.S. and the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
The black-legged tick is a major disease vector across the United States known for carrying anaplasmosis, babesiosis, borrelia mayonii, and a host of other diseases.
Another tick whose infamy is growing is the Lone Star tick, known for carrying the Heartland virus identified in the Midwestern and southern United States. Studies suggest that Lone Star ticks transmit the virus. It is unknown if the virus may be found in other areas of the U.S. The Heartland virus is a dangerous pathogen known for causing incapacitation, hospitalization and a chance of dying without proper treatment.
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#CCBTE #Earth #science #disease #medicine
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