Global warming may increase lyme disease

By Lynn Peeples, Huffington Post

Darren Collins doesn’t know life without Lyme disease. He was just 11 months old when he came home from Wisconsin’s Mauthe Lake Campground pasty white, lethargic and running a fever of 105. Darren’s flu-like illness eventually subsided, but a host of other troubling Lyme-related symptoms — stomachaches, irritability and concentration problems — have since plagued the boy, now 10.

“He’s like Jekyll and Hyde,” says his mom, Kristin. One moment Darren could be “happy and smiling,” and the next in a “complete rage.”

“He scores perfect on a spelling test one week, then gets every word wrong the next week,” adds Kristin, a nurse in Waukesha, Wisc. “He wants to know why he can’t be like other kids.”

Darren Collins holds up a flag with the names

of another family afflicted by Lyme. Sisters, Sophie

and Stephanie, frequent his chat room; both were

too sick to participate in the fundraiser walk.

For now, Darren is settling for finding kids like himself, a group that has grown significantly over the decade since he contracted the disease from a tick bite. And according to experts, there may be a link between these increases and a changing climate.

A quarter of all Lyme disease cases are among children. At highest risk: kids ages 5 to 14, who are more likely to play outdoors and close to the ground, where ticks are ready to pounce. Darren recently launched an online chat room catering to this group. Every Friday night at 8 p.m. Central, he now talks online with nearly a dozen new friends who log on from as far away as Kentucky and Australia, all living with Lyme.

Overall numbers are on the rise, too. From 2005 to 2010, the number of Wisconsinites contracting Lyme each year jumped from 26 to 44 of every 100,000 people. Around 15,000 cases nationwide were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the mid-1990s. That number is now 30,000 to 40,000, although the CDC admits it could be as much as 12 times higher.

Lyme is just one of a lengthening list of emerging infectious diseases that are soaring in North America. Experts say that increasing temperatures and altered precipitation patterns that accompany climate change are already playing at least a partial role in the spread and intensity of zoonoses — infectious agents that begin in animals and account for an estimated 75 percent of all newly emerging diseases. Cases of West Nile virus reported to the CDC, for example, rose from 21 in 2000 — a year after its arrival in New York City — to more than 1,000 in 2010.

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Comments (21)
  1. dogwoman says - Posted: April 11, 2012

    Is there ANYTHING the left won’t blame on global warming?

  2. thing fish says - Posted: April 11, 2012

    It isn’t the left, it is science. It just bad luck for you that science is rarely in support of the political ideology if the right. Did you read the whole article? It says *may* and offers an explanation of what *may* lead to it.
    Here is a question for you. The climate is changing, getting warmer. What won’t change?

  3. JoeStirumup says - Posted: April 11, 2012

    Thing fish, you are wrong, it is theory.

    Indeed a part of the scientific process but still just a theory.

    One that people that i know on the right believe needs to be studied.

    People on the left follow the ‘Al Gores’ of the world complete with the the screeching…

    but in the end it is important to recognize that ‘follow’ is the operative word.

  4. biggerpicture says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    90% of global climatic scientists believe that global warming is indeed real and happening. Yet those with a political agenda that cannot accommodate a widely held theory (E=MC2 is also just a theory, but look how many things we do in science are based upon it) feel that 90% of a group of experts is flat out wrong. This I find funny because when George W. was re-elected by BARELY 3 points, those same folks on the right decreed he was elected with a MANDATE (which in my mind would mean winning by a landslide)! Just think of it a new math for republicans.

  5. earl zitts says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Bigger picture,

    Global warming has been occuring since the end of the little ice age around 1850, though that trend may have ended. The question is whether it is anthroprogenic. The evidence is very thin that man is having a significant influence. It is certainly not based on solid science. Way to many varibles.

  6. thing fish says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Earl, post sources.
    How qualified are you to make the determination that the science is not solid?

  7. dogwoman says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    @thing: how qualified is Earl to make a determination? I’ll bet he can read. If he posted his sources would you actually click on them?

  8. thing fish says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Yes. I bet I have already read them. I keep tabs on the denialists (skeptics are active in their understanding, most of these people are passive ideologue deniers). Just because you can read doesn’t mean you can understand a research paper, or have a vague idea about the science.
    Odds on earl having a BS in a hard science and experience beyond an intro class in statistics…. low

  9. dogwoman says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Is that YOU, Robot?

  10. thing fish says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Oh, the classic ‘it is just a theory’ argument (red flag, scientifically illiterate). The majority of science is a theory. Theories are constantly tested, and the more this particular theory is tested, the stronger it gets because none of the data supports the null hypothesis. No other explanation better explains the increase in global temperature. A lack of a competing theory reinforces the validity of the ACC theory. The recent paper on solar activity and condensation nuclei that all of the skeptics jumped on and completely misunderstood or knowingly were dishonest in taking it out of context, supports the conclusion that ‘it isn’t the sun’ even more.
    Most people who claim to be skeptical, are simply in denial and are unable to challenge their own ideologies.

  11. John says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Thing fish, I agree with a lot of what you say, afterall, gravity is a theory. But I also have to question your ability to sceptically read and comprehend the models that are the basis of anthropogenic climate change theory. I do have a masters in a hard science and I have tried to understand the models and they are inaccessible to me. So then I see geologists or biologists with strong opinions about climate change, and I have to question whether they are good scientists at all. Now having said that, I dont think it matters if there is anthropogenic climate change. Whether there is or isnt we should change fuels from oil to sustainable energy sources for national security reasons, but thats a different topic.

  12. lou pierini says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    I think it’s THE big c rob dog.

  13. JoeStirumup says - Posted: April 12, 2012


    That seems like a logical comparison to me, not…

    Man made global warming is a theory just as gravity is a theory. Good one.

    I don’t remember anyone trying to create a tax on gravity …

    On a separate but perhaps related issue…

    I use to think that many in the the ‘academic class’ were to smart by half now I think many of them are to stupid by double.

    The state of decay in California has a cause, any guesses what it is?

  14. earl zitts says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Thing fish. Wanna bet that you have more college level science courses or units than I have? A beer at the Contina for the winner.

  15. earl zitts says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    BTW folks, gravity is not a theory it is a fact. The cause of gravity is the theory. The fact of gravity is tested almost every winter day on Gunbarrel.

  16. John says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    Earl, if the cause of gravity is theoretical than the whole of the notion is theoretical. But, having been a rock climber, gravity did seem rather certain and unforgiving at times. But then there were low gravity days as well.

  17. earl zitts says - Posted: April 12, 2012

    You may be jesting John and possibly I am a little dense.
    For instance the big bang theory of the universes’ formation doesn’t mean the universe is a theory or does it. We are part of the universe so we are also part of the theory. Do we or do we not exist?

  18. John says - Posted: April 13, 2012

    Earl I am just trying to make the point that while we rely on gravity we dont really know the magnitude of the force because we are just now learning about components of the universe like dark matter and energy. So gravity may in fact turn out to be a strong force, but cancelled rather than a weak force. This is again over my head, I have a masters in biological sciences. So both climate change and gravity are just outside of what I can really have an opinion about. That was my point.

  19. JoeStirumup says - Posted: April 13, 2012

    The idea that a person can arguing the issue of gravity in a discussion about global warming is to me sign of something gravely wrong with a persons logic.

    To make the comparison between the two issues is not reasonable, it’s like bratty kid on the playground.

  20. U Stripum Joe says - Posted: April 13, 2012

    Joe, your posts defy gravity on a regular basis!

  21. David A says - Posted: August 20, 2012

    That there has been a warming trend isn’t the question. The questions are: 1) is it caused by us? and 2) is it irreversible, or is it simply a continuation of the historical cycles of cooling and warming trends?

    The fact that climatologists changed the name from “global warming” to “climate change” is telling. In other words, they’re not sure the earth will continue to warm, but they’re all set to blame us when it starts to cool.