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Lyme — The First Epidemic of Climate Change author

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What to look for on this episode of Smart Talk:

The number of cases of Lyme Disease doubled in the U.S. over the past two decades.

The illness is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged or deer ticks. These ticks feed on the blood of mammals such as mice, raccoons, deer and humans.

So, what’s behind the increase in Lyme Disease?

Mary Beth Pfeiffer, author of the new book Lyme The First Epidemic of Climate Change writes that warmer temperatures is a big factor in the spread of the disease. Ticks that couldn’t survive in some regions are now thriving.  Even though it has nothing to do with climate change, Pfeiffer says ticks are hard to kill and adapt well. She writes that another reason humans are coming into contact with ticks more often is many places that once were forests or fields have been developed and animals like deer are living in woodlots or closer to humans.

The book also delves into the controversies surrounding the diagnosis of Lyme Disease and whether the thousands of people who show symptoms of Lyme are suffering from chronic Lyme Disease — something many reputable medical professionals discount.

Mary Beth Pfeiffer appears on this episode of Smart Talk.

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