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      “Ticking Bomb”: The Impact of Climate Change on the Incidence of Lyme Disease

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          Abstract

          Lyme disease (LD) is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. It is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted to humans by blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis. The life cycle of the LD vector, I. scapularis, usually takes two to three years to complete and goes through three stages, all of which are dependent on environmental factors. Increases in daily average temperatures, a manifestation of climate change, might have contributed to an increase in tick abundance via higher rates of tick survival. Additionally, these environmental changes might have contributed to better host availability, which is necessary for tick feeding and life cycle completion. In fact, it has been shown that both tick activity and survival depend on temperature and humidity. In this study, we have examined the relationship between those climatic variables and the reported incidence of LD in 15 states that contribute to more than 95% of reported cases within the Unites States. Using fixed effects analysis for a panel of 468 U.S. counties from those high-incidence states with annual data available for the period 2000–2016, we have found sizable impacts of temperature on the incidence of LD. Those impacts can be described approximately by an inverted U-shaped relationship, consistent with patterns of tick survival and host-seeking behavior. Assuming a 2°C increase in annual average temperature—in line with mid-century (2036–2065) projections from the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA4)—we have predicted that the number of LD cases in the United States will increase by over 20 percent in the coming decades. These findings may help improving preparedness and response by clinicians, public health professionals, and policy makers, as well as raising public awareness of the importance of being cautious when engaging in outdoor activities.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Nonlinear temperature effects indicate severe damages to U.S. crop yields under climate change.

          The United States produces 41% of the world's corn and 38% of the world's soybeans. These crops comprise two of the four largest sources of caloric energy produced and are thus critical for world food supply. We pair a panel of county-level yields for these two crops, plus cotton (a warmer-weather crop), with a new fine-scale weather dataset that incorporates the whole distribution of temperatures within each day and across all days in the growing season. We find that yields increase with temperature up to 29 degrees C for corn, 30 degrees C for soybeans, and 32 degrees C for cotton but that temperatures above these thresholds are very harmful. The slope of the decline above the optimum is significantly steeper than the incline below it. The same nonlinear and asymmetric relationship is found when we isolate either time-series or cross-sectional variations in temperatures and yields. This suggests limited historical adaptation of seed varieties or management practices to warmer temperatures because the cross-section includes farmers' adaptations to warmer climates and the time-series does not. Holding current growing regions fixed, area-weighted average yields are predicted to decrease by 30-46% before the end of the century under the slowest (B1) warming scenario and decrease by 63-82% under the most rapid warming scenario (A1FI) under the Hadley III model.
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            Lyme disease-a tick-borne spirochetosis?

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              What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature†

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol
                Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol
                CJIDMM
                The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology = Journal Canadien des Maladies Infectieuses et de la Microbiologie Médicale
                Hindawi
                1712-9532
                1918-1493
                2018
                24 October 2018
                : 2018
                Affiliations
                1Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Rochester, MN, USA
                2Division of Hospital Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire, WI, USA
                3Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College, 4800 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Paola Di Carlo

                Article
                10.1155/2018/5719081
                6220411
                Copyright © 2018 Igor Dumic and Edson Severnini.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Research Article

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