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October 19, 2018

Ticks, mosquitoes on the rise in Iowa


Ticks, mosquitoes on the rise in Iowa

New report warns of climate impact on wildlife

By Gabriella Dunn, The Gazette

Published:

August 19 2014 | 6:21 pm – Updated: 19 August 2014 | 6:44 pm

in

News

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DES MOINES — Ballooning amounts of ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy are invading Iowa because of climate change, and the increase will bring higher rates for disease, according to a report by the Iowa Wildlife Federation.

The report, titled “Ticked Off — America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change,” outlined effects on the outdoors from rising carbon dioxide rates, increased humidity and altered seasons like milder winters.

“If we keep the status quo the way we’re living, it will keep getting worse and we will start seeing diseases we never dreamed about coming to our soil,” said Dr. Yogesh Shah, associate dean of the Department of Global Health at Des Moines University.

To illustrate his point, Shah highlighted the rise of Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquito bites, which starts with cold-like symptoms and then persists as joint pains for up to several years. Chikungunya, he said, was hardly discussed just six months ago, but will likely become more prevalent.

Shah said that with every degree increase in temperature, mosquito population increases by nearly tenfold — plus the viruses are living longer in each mosquito.

The report found that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels, is causing poison ivy to grow more rapidly and with stronger toxicity.

“If a drop used to cause a rash, now it’s just half a drop,” Shah said.

Deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are expected to be “more widespread than ever before” because of milder winters.

“Climate change is not so subtle anymore,” said Joe Wilkinson, president of the Iowa Wildlife Federation. “With temperatures going up a degree to two, as a human, I can handle that. But what will be the cumulative effect?”

The report encourages people to reduce carbon pollution, invest in clean energy, increase energy efficiency, put buffers around farmland to keep soil in place, clean stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes breed and wear protective clothing outdoors.


Injured Black Mountain rock climber thankful for rescue

ASHEVILLE — A Black Mountain man who suffered serious injuries in a rock climbing accident earlier this week faces months of recovery, but his overriding emotion Wednesday was gratitude.

I want to put a thank you out to everyone who was involved in the rescue, Jackson DePew, 23, said in an interview from his room at Mission Hospital. Id like to send them my sincerest gratitude.

In the dramatic rescue Monday afternoon at Linville Gorge, rescuers used a Black Hawk helicopter to pluck DePew from a ledge about 200 feet above the ground on Shortoff Mountain.

Ive gotten lots of Facebook messages and phone calls from people who I havent heard from in years, said DePew, an experienced climber. I want to say thank you to everybody whos reached out to me and sent me their best wishes.

DePew suffered a concussion and broken leg and fractured his pelvis in five spots after falling and slamming into the side of the mountain, winding up on a narrow ledge high above the ground. He also broke his tailbone and suffered three broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

The accident happened about 1 p.m. as DePew was climbing the steep rock face from the bottom, using climbing cams metal anchors that fit into crevices and rope as safety equipment, along with a helmet. When he put his left hand on a part of the cliff, it broke loose. He fell about 35 feet before his cams and rope stopped him, keeping him from tumbling all the way to the ground. But he still hit the rock face hard.

His climbing partner, who was still on the ground, saw what happened and called 911.

DePew said he was unconscious for several minutes, then was able to answer a phone call from his partner. He remained conscious throughout the rest of the ordeal. It took about four hours before he was lifted off the ledge in a basket by the helicopter.

I was in an absurd amount of pain, said DePew, a 2013 graduate of Warren Wilson College who started rock climbing six years ago and has been a climbing instructor for three years. It was the most pain Ive ever been in in my life. But I also remember thinking, This is freaking awesome. This is the coolest thing. Theres a Black Hawk helicopter right there. Im just about to get the VIP escort out of here.

Burke County Emergency Management Director Mike Long said one rescuer rappelled down the mountainside while another came down from the helicopter to reach DePew, who was lifted into the helicopter.

The helicopter was dispatched through the N.C. Division of Emergency Management from an Army National Guard unit in Rowan County.

DePew said the accident wont deter him from returning to climbing once his injuries heal. He plans to make a career as a climbing instructor and wilderness expedition leader.

Climbing makes me happier than a lot of things, almost more than anything, he said. Im definitely lucky I didnt get hurt worse. I feel very fortunate. I think Im meant to do something with my life.

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Injured Black Mountain rock climber thankful for rescue

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