Save us from ticks and Lyme

To the editor:

The increasing prevalence of tick-borne diseases due to warmer weather as a result of climate change is putting a growing number of people at risk in more areas. As the report discussed (“Ticks in the Adirondacks,” Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Aug. 18, 2018), more and increasingly diverse tick-borne diseases are expanding to a wider area in Upstate New York. Lyme disease, along with other tick-borne diseases, has spread from the Hudson Valley to Canada in the past 20 years. Research has shown the effect of rising temperatures on better survivorship of the disease vector, tick, resulting in the spreading of tick-borne diseases further to the north. However, I am increasingly concerned about the lack of awareness of the impact of climate change on tick-borne diseases, which is clearly an environmental injustice. I am calling for increased awareness and protection for minorities from climate change-induced diseases, such as tick-borne diseases. I invite you, the reader, to bring attention to One Health by contacting Gov. Kathy Hochul to ask for the state Department of Health and state Department of Environmental Conservation to take faster action to address the climate crisis and greater protections for those among us who are most vulnerable by enhancing access to rural health care opportunities.

As a result of greenhouse gas emission from privileged communities, spreading tick-borne diseases have threatened the health of minority and rural communities, as they have fewer resources to protect their health and less access to education about the increasingly prevalent diseases.

We need our elected officials and state agencies to better evaluate the impacts of climate change in relation to disease and the potential for disproportionate impacts to minority and low-income rural communities, by increase funding for research on tick-borne diseases. We also need more public education campaigns, and long-term strategies that will work to better protect environmental justice and underserved rural communities from climate-induced diseases, so that everyone can enjoy spending time in the outdoors, for both work and play.

Thomas Tao

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs


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