SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More people are spending time in the great outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hiking and walking in parks.
Here in Massachusetts, that comes with another risk: Lyme disease. The disease is primarily spread by deer ticks, and is common here in Massachusetts. And according to the EPA and Climate Central, the increasing number of Lyme disease cases is yet another signal of our changing climate.
The increase is caused by a number of different factors, however climate change is one of them. Warmer temperatures mean ticks develop and grow in population faster, which allows them to become active earlier and spread to areas that used to be too cold for them.
Lyme disease cases in the United States have more than doubled in the past two decades, according to Climate Central using data from the CDC. The EPA says “evidence suggests that expanding ranges of ticks in certain northern states may be more related to a warming climate,” although they don’t know what proportion of the number of increased cases are directly driven by climate change, rather than changes in diagnosing practices and awareness of the disease over time.