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“New” Tick borne disease discovered, identified in NJ woman

New Tick Disease identified in NJ Woman

Are there such things as “New Diseases”?

Quick answer: Probably not.   In his seminal 1997 work “Guns, site Germs and Steel: the Fate of Human Societies” author Jared Diamond ( Amazon Listing ) describes to the reader the cultural and developmental pressures that creates endemic disease as we know it today.  Microbes that were essentially contained within the animal world evolving and adapting to human biology as a result of our pastoral legacy, when our ancestors created livestock from wild animals through domestication and selective breeding.

The unique relation ships between diseases and the vectors that carry them have been evolving for millennia  if not eons and have shaped human history before history was even recorded.  Not only was disease resistance integral in the dispersal of early humans (and proto-humans) it has reared its ugly head several times throughout recorded history:  The Plague Epidemics of the Middle ages and the fleas that spread it,  Mosquito borne Yellow fever that almost halted the construction of the Panama canal in the early 20th century and the Malaria carrying mosquitoes that kill up to a million people a year up to modern times.

These events  were not the evolution of a new disease (although diseases, especially viruses, are constantly modifying their genetic structure to remain competitive), it was simply the interaction of non-inoculated peoples with a pre-existing disease reservoir, i.e. European descended humans living in a central American rainforest for which they were not adapted, or the introduction of and Asiatic microbe  to previously unexposed persons of, again, European descent.

So, considering the interaction of diseases, humans and the insects that complete the link, we are left only to wonder what causative factors resulted in this discovery?  A few options present themselves:

First, a true genetic change, an evolutionary step from a related disease into the strain currently identified.  Although totally possible, would we be lucky enough to literally witness evolution before our very eyes? A doubtful hypothesis, certainly…

Second, the importation of a previously unknown disease vector into an environment.  Considering the presence of both humans and ticks in the local environment in NJ for thousands of years, practically impossible.

So lastly, and most likely, we are looking at the introduction of a foreign pathogen into a previously unexposed host.  To prove this hypothesis, we would need to trace the epidemiology and spread of this particular microbe by diagnosis to try and find the point of origin, an extremely difficult task considering the recency with which this particular disease was described. It would seem that when we apply Occam’s Razor to this question, we trim away the fat of the first two possibilities fairly quickly.

In this world of fast travel and shipping we are constantly introducing potential pathogens, vectors and victims.  We are making connections between peoples and environments at lightning speeds and some times these connections result in the importation of more than just trade goods or immigrants.  Although we are a little late in the game to see a “new” smallpox or polio (as these hugely endemic disease have already made their rounds of human society) the chances of a small, non-fatal pathogens being “discovered” is very high, as modern medical science comes to understand diseases in their minutiae and describe the previously encountered ones.

 

 

Pest Control, a caring undertaking?

Can you work in an industry that engages in the wholesale slaughter of God’s Little Creatures on a daily basis, hospital and still be considered a caring, considerate individual?  Well maybe “wholesale slaughter” is the wrong phrase, but it’s not like we’re rehabilitating these creatures and shipping them to a wild game farm or something.  Even our non-toxic approaches are not exactly pest friendly.  Rodent proofing only means those cute little field mice will freeze in the winter and be exposed to predators!  Affecting sanitation will only deprive hungry little buggies of the food with which to feed their families, leading to a slow, lingering death through starvation and illness.

Can you really “Kill with Kindness” or “Knock ‘em Dead- with Love”?

Is it possible to see the vast diversity of life on this earth, with all of its beautiful and unique creatures, and snuff it?

You’re Damn right you can!  I do every day.  You see, the difference is where you draw the line about what you care about.  Maybe that’s what we need to project a bit more: our caring, compassionate side, not just the “roll up the sleeves and get to work” professionalism we’re all trying to project.  As you can see, our market is softening, maybe we should soften up a bit too, it might help.

A little less Antlion, a little more Ladybug, so to speak.

In the last few years our marketing paradigm has shifted from the man of the house to the lady of the house.  Our product choices are dictated by an ever earth-friendlier consumer group that is limiting our pesticide choices and making some mouse jobs more like catch and release fishing!  Now people want to know if we have hybrid vehicles!  You want to know my idea of true, green pest control?  A Tech on a bicycle with a fly swatter in his teeth and a pocket full of glueboards.  He won’t need a clipboard, do you have any idea how many trees it takes to print out a week of work orders?  And he sure won’t use a PDA, do you have any idea how big the carbon footprint is on those things? And Actual Pesticides? Ha! Do people even use that stuff anymore?

I hope you can find the humor in this exaggeration, and that you understand our future is much brighter.  At the root of our biggest obstacles and challenges, (School IPM, the “green” consumer movement, etc.)  resides our biggest opportunity.  We are provided a chance to pin our hearts on our sleeves and do things because we care.  We can care about the kids, we can care about our environment, we can care about our companies, our employees and co-workers.

We care about our future- and not just our own future, everyone’s.

My God, if that’s not the ideal marketing message, I don’t know what is.

Ladies and gentlemen, face it, Tom Mix is long dead and so are all the dead-eyed, quick gun sheriffs that never smiled in those westerns.  Even heroes can hurt, care and cry. The Good Guys don’t always wear white and ride an appaloosa pony into the sunset.

Sometimes they wear green and ride a bicycle.