Friday, May 11, 2012

Is our NYS Public Health Department doing its job in a time of warming? Are they connecting the dots between Climate Change and vector-borne diseases?


Many of these vector-borne diseases (including Lyme disease, and West Nile Virus) are predicted to increase in NYS because of Climate Change, as mentioned in many area Climate studies.

It would be nice if the NYS Department of Health would start educating the public on this, as this too is a recommendation of many Climate studies. Instead the NYS Department of Health does not connect-the-dots on Climate Change and vector-borne diseases when it publicizes information on misquote-driven diseases:

Health Departments Team Up Against Mosquitoes State and Central NY Counties Working Together to Protect People from EEE ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2012) - State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., and health officials from counties in Central New York have joined together to raise awareness about the dangers of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the importance of taking personal protective measures to reduce the risk of disease. New York State and counties work together each year to monitor mosquito populations and the potential for the spread of disease. They also educate people on how to prevent mosquito bites. This year's efforts are critical in light of three deaths in the past three years in Central New York due to EEE virus, including the death of a young child last summer.  (May 10, 2012) New York State Department of Health

The warmer weather will allow mosquitoes to come out earlier and stay longer in the fall and just about the last thing we want to do is dump pesticides all over our environment to solve this problem. So, if the NYS Health Department began a serious campaign to education the public on the relationship of these misquote-driven diseases we might be able to adapt to them without further environmental damage.

Learn more about what the government knows about vector-driven diseases coming to NYS as Climate Change gets worse:

New York State has experienced the emergence of several vector-borne diseases in the past few decades. For instance, the state leads the nation in numbers of Lyme disease cases. Between 2002 and 2006, the top two counties in the United States for number of cases, and four of the top 10 counties in Lyme disease incidence rate (cases per 100,000 people) were in New York State. Illness caused by West Nile virus in the state peaked in 2002 at 82 cases, and the state has had the highest numbers of cases on the East Coast since 2005. Both Lyme disease and West Nile virus tend to be most prevalent in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City areas with dense and growing human populations. The factors responsible for the concentration of Lyme disease and West Nile fever in the southeastern region of the state are not well understood. Similar southeastern concentrations of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected blacklegged ticks, as well as of West Nile virus in mosquitoes and wild birds, suggest that ecological conditions, possibly including warmer climate, might be important. (Page 204) Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)

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