Monday, June 24, 2019

Plan vs. tick-borne illnesses addresses another Walker policy failure

Fresh reporting adds to earlier news of state action to address what Walker and his partisan bellhops intentionally ignored.

So good for WI legislators who want legislation and programming aimed at tick-borne threats
A bipartisan package of five bills would direct the state Department of Natural Resources to post signs about the tick-borne disease in public parks, sell bug spray with the powerful DEET repellent and conduct an awareness campaign each May.  
The legislation would also create an epidemiologist position in the Department of Health Services focused on the disease and establish a 16-member study committee tasked with recommending to the Legislature policy changes regarding awareness, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.
For the record, this common sense approach could have been underway had not the Walker administration chosen to wage an eight-year war science, the environment, aclimate change and its consequences, noted often on this blog:
Wisconsin, climate change and insect borne illness. Tick-tock.
Climate and Infectious Disease
 Wisconsin is generally becoming warmer and wetter. Changes in the climate may lead to more flooding and precipitation, temperature extremes (very hot and very cold days), drought, and more carriers of disease (such as mosquitoes and ticks).  

These trends could allow for an increase in diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks.  Learn more about simple ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks on the Enjoy the Outdoors - Bug-free! page...
Abstract image of mosquito

The number of ticks and where they live in Wisconsin may also be changing in response to changing weather and climate. 
The blacklegged tick (commonly known as deer tick) is the main vector (species that can transmit a disease agent) for the two most common tickborne diseases in Wisconsin: Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. Other tickborne diseases in Wisconsin include ehrlichiosisPowassan virus, and Babesiosis.
Note also what the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, (WICCI), - - a resource among others disregarded by the Walker administration - - posted in 2014 about known relationships between climate change and insect-borne disease. 
A year after the 2011 release of WICCI's first comprehensive climate impacts report, southern Wisconsin saw a record-breaking summer. Spanning the week of July 4, 2012, temperatures soared into the 100s, barely cooling at night. 
Stifling heat, buckling pavement, lakeshores choked with blue-green algal blooms, tempers flaring and babies and senior citizens overcome by the heat provided a possible preview of events that are more likely in the future, according to WICCI projections. 
This was especially true for those living within the concrete-rich communities such as Milwaukee. Cityscapes serve as heat islands, absorbing the day's heat in sidewalks, buildings, walls and roads. At night, the heat radiates back into the air, negating the relief that might otherwise come from lower nighttime temperatures. And, under prolonged heat waves, it all starts again at sunrise. 
Other extreme events are also projected to become more frequent. Heavy rainstorms, for example, could mean more flooding, outbreaks of West Nile Virus from the subsequent burst of mosquitoes, and the spread of tick-borne diseases.
But, science-schmience: the WICCI was out of step with former DNR Secretary and Scott Walker policy cudgel Cathy Stepp who told a conservative Wisconsin newspaper some years ago that she had ended the agency's relationship with WICCI. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And speaking of ticks....