The weird and hectic weather we’ve been having these past few years has done more than just mess up vacation plans. Because of the latest ecological vents, scientists say Lyme disease outbreaks will increase this year.
Perhaps the explanation behind the experts’ warning might seem confuse, but it is a direct evidence that everything in nature is linked together. The peak in Lyme disease cases expected by some scientists is a result of events that started back in 2010, and acorns and mice play a major part.
Richard S. Ostfeld is a disease ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York and one of the scientists that warn this year Lyme disease outbreaks will be more numerous than previous years.
Everything began in 2010 with a boom in the acorn crop, “followed by a boom in mice” said Ostfeld. However in 2011, the acorn crop was one of the smallest ever so as a result the “mouse population is crashing”. What you need to understand is that these factors are directly linked to the “well being” of ticks. Because in 2011 there were more mice, the tick population boomed too, but now that the “mouse population is crashing”, hungry ticks will start looking for other hosts.
As a result, as Ostfeld claims: “this spring, there will be a lot of black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white – footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals – like us”.
Some argued that Ostfeld’s theory might be a little too farfetched, however him and his team have spent almost 20 years researching mice and tick populations. Still, his theory has been proven in 2006 and 2007, when there were similar events. “We have correlated the abundance of white-footed mice in one year to the abundance of infected ticks in the next year” explained Ostfeld.
Mice are the favorite dish of the black – legged ticks which are known to transmit Lyme disease, a disorder that causes chronic fatigue, neurological problems and joint pain. Heart palpitations, vomiting and nausea or changes in vision are also common symptoms reported by Lyme disease patients, particularly women.