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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Monday, March 20, 2017

When I was a kid romping through the woods in Northern New Jersey,, no one ever heard of Lyme Disease,,,,,,,,,,,,,,No one that we knew was debilitated by this now dreaded disease that has spread out from Wisconsin and the East Coast over the past 30 years to cases in virtually every state in the USA...............Yes, my Doctor tells me he is seeing Lyme Disease in Southern California over the past decade!........The significant alteration of our natural landscape that has created small islands of "green" surrounded by our human habitations has virtually eliminated the carnivore suite that kept hoofed browsers(e.g. White Tailed deer) and rodents(e.g. White Tail Mice) at population levels that kept tick populations in check.......................There is still no "shot" to take to prevent Lyme......................Best advice is to not "bushwahack" through brushy areas when hiking, do not go barefoot on your lawns and after being outside, shower thoroughly with particular attention to your scalp, armpits, back of ears where ticks like to hide

Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast

March 6, 2017

White-footed mice are efficient transmitters of
 Lyme disease in the Northeast. They infect up 
to 95 percent of the ticks that feed on them. But
 it's people who create the conditions for Lyme
 outbreaks by building homes in the animals'
Stephen Reiss for NPR

Last summer Felicia Keesing returned from a long trip and found that her home in upstate New York had been subjected to an invasion.

"There was evidence of mice everywhere.

 They had completely taken over," says Keesing,
 an ecologist at Bard College.
It was a plague of mice. And it had landed right
 in Keesing's kitchen.
"Not only were there mouse droppings on our
 countertops, but we also found dead mice on
 the kitchen floor," says Keesing's husband,
 Rick Ostfeld, an ecologist at the Cary 
Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.
The Hudson River Valley experienced a mouse
 plague during the summer of 2016. The critters
 were everywhere. For most people, it was just
 a nuisance. But for Keesing and Ostfeld, the
 mouse plague signaled something foreboding.
"We're anticipating 2017 to be a particularly
 risky year for Lyme," Ostfeld says.
Keesing and Ostfeld, who have studied Lyme
 for more than 20 years, have come up with 
an early warning system for the disease. They
 can predict how many cases there will be a
 year in advance by looking at one key
 measurement: Count the mice the year before.

The number of critters scampering around
 the forest in the summer correlates to the 
Lyme cases the following summer, they've
The explanation is simple: Mice are highly 
efficient transmitters of Lyme. They infect 
up to 95 percent of ticks that feed on them.
 Mice are responsible for infecting the majority
 of ticks carrying Lyme in the Northeast. And
 ticks love mice. "An individual mouse might
 have 50, 60, even 100 ticks covering its ears
 and face," Ostfeld says.
So that mouse plague last year means there
 is going to be a Lyme plague this year.
 "Yep. I'm sorry to say that's the scenario
 we're expecting," Ostfeld says.

Mice and ticks get along swimmingly. Other animals, such as possums, groom away ticks — and sometimes kill them. But white-footed mice tolerate ticks covering their faces and ears. Blacklegged ticks, like the adult female on the right, are tiny — about the size of a sesame seed

He's not exactly sure which parts of the Northeast

 will be at highest risk.
But wherever Lyme exists, people should be vigilant,
 says epidemiologist Kiersten Kugeler at the Centers
 for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Whether it's a bad season or not, there's still going 
to be a lot of human cases of tick-borne diseases," 
she says. "What's important for people to know is 
that the ticks are spreading to new areas — and
 tick-borne diseases are coming with them."
Back in the early '80s, the disease wasn't that big
 a problem. Cases were confined to two small 
regions: western Wisconsin and the area from 
Connecticut to New Jersey
Since then, Lyme cases have shot up in number
 and spread in all directions: "The only place 
that they haven't really spread is into the
 Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, for 
obvious reasons," says biologist Rebecca Eisen,
 who's also at the CDC.
Now Lyme is present in more than 260 counties,
 the CDC reported in 2015. The disease shows
 up in Maine, swoops down the East Coast into
 Washington, D.C., and southern Virginia. 
Then it hops to the Midwest into northern
 Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. 
There are also small pockets of Lyme on the West Coast.

The number of confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases

 in the U.S more than doubled from 2001 to 2015. In 2015,

 95 percent of confirmed 

cases were reported in the 14 states labeled below.

2001 reported cases

2015 reported cases

"They also cut down trees for commercial use," 
Ostfeld says, "to make masts for ships, and for
Since then a lot of the forest has come back —
 but it's not the same forest as before, he says.
 Today it's all broken up into little pieces, with
 roads, farms and housing developments.
For mice, this has been great news.
"They tend to thrive in these degraded, 
fragmented landscapes," Ostfeld says
, because their predators need big forests 
to survive.
Without as many foxes, hawks and owls
 to eat them, mice crank out babies. 
And we end up with forests packed 
with mice — mice that are chronically
 infected with Lyme and covered with ticks.
So all these little patches of forest dotting 
the Northeast have basically turned into 
Lyme factories, spilling over with infected ticks.
Then people come along and do the darndest
 thing, Keesing says: They build their dream
 homes right next door. "So we see that
 humans are putting themselves in these 
areas where they're most at risk," she says.

To figure out why Lyme has become more
 prevalent, researchers at the Cary Institute 
of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., have
 trapped hundreds of thousands of rodents
 in the woods over the past 20 years. 
Research assistant Francesca Rubino checks
 a squirrel for ticks.
Stephen Reiss for NPR

And that means people, in some areas, may be
 putting themselves at risk for Lyme every single
 day without even knowing it, says the CDC's
 Kiersten Kugeler. "In the Northeast, most 
people catch Lyme around their homes," 
she says. "People out gardening. People playing
 in their backyard. Mowing the lawn."
So what can you do to keep from getting
 infected? Add a tick check to your daily
 routine, Kugeler says. When you're in the
 shower check your body for tiny ticks, 
especially the places they like to hide.
"That's the scalp, behind the ears, the 
armpits and in the groin area," she says.
If you do find a tick, get it off as quickly as 
possible. The longer an infected tick stays
 on your skin, the greater the chance it will 
pass the Lyme bacteria on to you. Generally,
 it takes about 24 hours for the tick to infect
 a person after it starts biting.
Then be on the lookout for Lyme symptoms —
 like a red rash or a fever. It anything crops
 up, go see a doctor immediately. Don't wait:
 The earlier you get treated, the better
 chance you'll have for a full recovery.

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

   clipart image of a tickAvoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.

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