December 10, 2018

UMaine is Going to Test for Infections in Ticks

What a great idea! According to V. Paul Reynolds, the University of Maine is going to test ticks to determine how many or what percentage of ticks carry infections and what kind they carry. From the article linked to, it appears researchers want to focus on Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis, all diseases that are extremely dangerous to people.

This is all good and never should any of us downplay the importance of understanding ticks and the spread of disease. However, consider what I am about to write.

Hydatid disease in humans comes from the ingestion of Echinococcus granulosus eggs. These tiny eggs are carried in wild and domestic dogs, foxes, and raccoons (definitive hosts) and spread through their feces and ingested by secondary hosts – deer, moose, cows, sheep – ungulates – which causes the growth of cysts in organs such as liver, lungs, brain, heart. Most common are the lungs and liver.

Maine scientists and researchers have determined that moose in Maine are infected with cystic echinococcosis (they like to call it lungworm), most likely contracted from wolves/coyotes that populate the state of Maine in the tens of thousands.

But, we are talking about ticks, right? Correct! Hang on!

There are many kinds of ticks that carry diseases, some of which are talked about in V. Paul Reynolds’ piece. But there is no talk of this very dangerous, even deadly disease that can infect and affect man. I have written extensively about how men can become infected by the inadvertent ingestion of the E. granulosus eggs, i.e. through infected water, foods, feces (disturbing wolf/coyote scat) and from your pet dog that roams about freely and is not adequately treated by your local veterinarian.

Few in the U.S. know anything about and have never heard of such a disease. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently had stated that worldwide Hydatid disease among people was at epidemic levels. Today, WHO says that at any one time, more than 1 million people are affected.

WHO also states that: “Humans are infected through ingestion of parasite eggs in contaminated food, water or soil, or through direct contact with animal hosts.”

But, Tom. We are talking about ticks and the spread of diseases. That’s right.

Ticks cannot be carriers of the E. granulosus egg…through their own ingestion and pass it on through their feces or blood…that we know of. But there is a remarkable phenomenon that shouldn’t be disregarded.

Research has discovered that insects that are commonly found on scat can carry the microscopic eggs on them and transplant those eggs on the next warm body or object they land on, i.e. you, me, a bird, a cow, a deer, a moose, a picnic table, plants, flowers, etc. Should that egg(s) be inadvertently ingested by you or I or any of the listed unsuspecting culprits and hundreds, perhaps thousands of other contacts you can come up with, there is no limit in how this disease can be spread. The odds are low, perhaps, but realistic none the same. This is something that we should be educated about.

Our own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that these eggs can remain viable for up to one year. Extreme heat and cold has little effect. Fire will destroy them.

So imagine if you can, any of the several tick varieties that inhabit our areas, crawling on or near an infected coyote scat before working their way up a stem of grass or a bush. You are out for a walk later discovering that same tick on you. The way we have been brainwashed and fear instilled in us about Lyme disease, in our semi-panic stage to get the tick off us, we grab the tick, trying to squeeze it and kill it, or simply to touch it to save for the doctor or burn in a fire, we forget to wash our hands thoroughly or before we do, we put our hands on or near our mouth or nose. The next thing you know, this possible Lyme disease-carrying tick also has a few viable E.g eggs that got on you and you ingest it.

Frightening prospects to say the least.

Also, consider the possibilities of those ticks that find deer and moose as a source of a blood meal. It’s not that the tick will necessarily infect the deer or moose, or any other ungulate it might land on by spreading it through the blood, but the ungulate, even it doesn’t groom well, may ingest the eggs from a tick carrying an E.g. egg.

We know that ungulates that grow the cysts will not often die directly from the disease but surely lungs infected with cysts inhibits that animal’s ability to avoid large predators. This, in turn, increases the mortality rate which could present significant problems with managing wild ungulate herds and sustaining a viable population. This act aides in the spread of disease.

With all the many ways that E.g can spread, it is time that all of us become educated to the prospects of how these diseases are spread and how other animals and ourselves can become infected.

There are other diseases from ticks than Lyme disease.

Get educated. You may want to begin by going to this page and begin reading.

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Politics May Cause Focus on CWD Spread to be in the Wrong Places

Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in deer in Ontario Province in Canada. Some in Maine and other New England states have taken up a panic or semi-panic mode while saying and doing stupid things. One thing is for sure. Few of us know anything about the disease…even those pretending to be an authority.

As with most things like diseases that are serious, why does it seem the focus is placed on the wrong aspect of the problem? It seems an American thing to avoid the real issue and place the focus on emotional and political BS. We see this in discussions about AIDS and the Second Amendment. With AIDS, instead of addressing the immoral lifestyles that most greatly contribute to the spread of the disease, we only focus on a cure in order to permit the perpetuation of homosexuality.

In speaking of guns, Americans almost never focus on the real issue of what causes a person to resort to violent behavior that is deadly to other humans. So much effort is placed on ensuring that law-abiding citizens have their right to choose how to protect themselves taken away.

And now we see Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sneaking up on us. Many admit that scientists don’t fully understand the disease. They have a better sense of the end result – almost – than the cause and the spread.

As is typical, with diseases such as CWD, brucellosis, Echinococcus granulosis, Neospora caninum, etc., where both wild and domestic animals can become infected and infectious, often the blame, if you will, is placed on captive animal facilities as being the culprits in the growth and spread of these diseases to the wild population of the same animals. This has never been proven as fact and is next to impossible to do so. To state otherwise is dishonest.

In an article I read in the Berkshire Eagle of Massachusetts, it was written that: “If you have regulatory authority over captive farms you could require really high fences, double fences and require tags on your deer.”

Part of the argument being expressed here is that an agriculture department will not be strict enough in regulating captive cervids and that authority should be given to fish and wildlife agencies. There is serious political corruption that exists within both departments that we should never consider one government agency as being better at regulating than another. History has shown us that fish and wildlife agencies can be just as corrupt in their wielding of authority for political reasons as any agriculture department.

By directing the focus of the problem on captive cervid ranches, we may be doing ourselves a real disservice when it comes to serious efforts to understand this disease, for without the right knowledge proper control if there is such a thing, is impossible.

For those who don’t know, I will tell you that captive cervid ranchers would put up “high fences” and “double fences” if they could afford it in order to protect their herds from the spread of disease from outside into the ranch. It’s been several years now since I last spent a great deal of time learning about elk and deer ranching, but the last time I recall discussing double fencing the cost ranged somewhere around $1 million a mile. The argument for high and double fencing is to prevent any kind of contact between captive animals and wild ones.

It is sometimes lost in these emotional discussions that ranchers absolutely do not want any disease in their herds. It’s stupid to think differently. CWD within a herd of captive elk or deer would put the rancher out of business.

Because some choose to believe that diseases like CWD originate within the fences and is spread beyond the fences through contact with other animals outside the fences, they fail to understand that it can just as easily happen in the reverse. There was a time when in areas where CWD occurs, no instances of CWD had been detected in captive cervids. That should tell us something. It seems the real issue is in regulating the import and export of captive cervids, especially across state lines.

I visited domestic elk ranches in the West a few years back and was impressed with how conscientious they were about every aspect of their business, including the threat of disease. Again I say, any serious disease will destroy that business and none of them want it.

The author of the article linked to does a pretty good job explaining to readers about how easily and quickly CWD can spread in the wild. He writes: “Deer disperse out, and in studies they have found 75 percent of yearling males will disperse from two miles on up from where they were born. Stainbrook cited that one yearling disperser in Pennsylvania, which had a GPS collar on it went over 90 miles. This could be a major contributor to how CWD can spread across the landscape. There are ongoing studies to try to determine the average distance that deer will disperse. If the average males travel four or five miles, one can estimate after 10 years how far CWD has been spread.”

Captive deer are captive, enclosed behind fences, and unable to “disperse.” It, therefore, makes a bit of sense that they are less likely to be the chief culprit in the spread of the disease. Any agriculture business needs to be responsible for disease spread and for the most part, I think that is the case. We can do many things to reduce the risk of the spread of disease, or at least perhaps slow it down, but short of a cure, there is little hope of completely stopping it. Ensuring that we keep our focus on the problem in the right places, prioritizing them from a scientific position rather than a political one will go a long way in addressing a serious disease spread.

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Winter Ticks Haven’t Figured Out Where to Ambush the Moose

Nathan Terriault has a “Special to the Bangor Daily News” about his belief that perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should be providing more moose permits rather than fewer. Much of this is substantiated by the notion that there are too many moose – at least in some places – and as a result the moose population is not healthy, i.e. malnourished and carrying hundreds and thousands of winter ticks making the moose anemic and susceptible to exposure and predation. I might add that moose are also carrying or infected with what MDIFW likes to call “lungworm” but what I would call Hydatid cysts from the Echinococcus granulosus eggs carried by wild canines. These cysts also make the moose more susceptible to escaping or fleeing from harm by predators.

Terriault’s piece is well thought out and I would have to agree with much of what he is saying, as I have recently written questioning whether MDIFW is attempting to grow and perpetuate too many moose due to social demands rather than devising desired populations based on scientific evidence.

However, I have to snickeringly take issue with one comment that was made, not so much as a means of correcting Mr. Terriault but to make sure that readers better and more accurately understand about winter ticks. Terriault writes:

Forestry practices, such as clearcutting and strip cutting, concentrates cover for moose and funnels animals through areas where ticks lie in wait for host animals.

This is true information but it might lead some to think that the ticks have actually figured out exactly where these moose “funnel” and go there and wait; much the same way large predators do. A tick’s life cycle, part of which begins when the ticks (female) drop from the moose in Spring. From that point, wherever the drop occurred, the tick larvae and the tick do not travel any great distances – by human standards – and these drop zones are not necessarily within one of these “funnel” corridors. In the late Summer and early Fall, the tick climbs vegetation wherever they are and they wait, hoping to catch a ride on a passing moose. If they don’t catch a ride, they die. It’s that simple.

From the moment a tick attaches itself to a moose, where that tick ends up next Spring, to drop and begin the cycle all over again, is dependent upon the travels of the moose. Understand as well that the time in which ticks are climbing vegetation looking for a free ride happens to fairly closely coincide with the moose mating season, when moose travel the most due to increased activity. Where the tick is picked up by a moose and then dropped in the Spring could be some distance away, even by human standards.

It shouldn’t be thought that moose are carrying more ticks because ticks are moving into the regions where moose seem to be traveling the most, although simply because of those natural actions it is possible that more ticks might be present in a travel corridor than some other random spot, but I can’t believe it would be of any significance.

I think the facts are clear, and I’ve never read any studies that suggest ticks have figured out where to go to catch a ride, that there are more ticks everywhere, because there are more moose everywhere. Therefore logic would suggest that if you reduce the number of moose, there would be less ticks and healthier moose, which is, what I think, Mr. Terriault is suggesting.

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The Fuss Over Maine’s “Endangered” Lynx: What About the Whitetail Deer?

While agenda-driven environmentalists, who couldn’t recognize an honest scientific process if it lifted it’s leg and peed on their shoes, fret and stew over the Canada lynx in northern regions of Maine, the whitetail deer is moving toward extirpation. For those who pay attention at all to history, the Canada lynx was called the “deer wolf.” Note: Post normal science and history would tell us that, like the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, early settlers calling the Canada lynx the deer wolf was probably also a myth to scare children through abuse. Anything to protect a predator at the cost of the destruction of other species.

There’s not much sense in trying to sugar coat the fact that in northern Maine, the whitetail deer is struggling to persist. Excuses are abundant: severe winters, deer are at their northern range (although further north in portions of Canada there’s not necessarily the same struggle), loss of habitat, the pope is Catholic, etc.

And yet, as the deer population there in Maine struggles, other species that compete with, threaten and prey upon the deer are overprotected – black bear, bobcat, Canada lynx and coyote/wolf hybrids. Because the whitetail deer has historically been the species of focus for most hunters, why then are we protecting everything that wants to destroy the deer? Maybe I just answered my own question, if you follow.

Now that the totalitarians have taken complete control of the Canada lynx, there’s little now that Maine’s wildlife managers can do to mitigate the loss of deer due to loup cervier, the deer wolf. The same act of wildlife management extortion, via the Endangered Species Act, has further severely restricted trapping and so what now will become of coyotes and bobcats? I suspect increased predation on whitetail deer.

For now, Maine is off the hook as far as putting an end to bear hunting but don’t take that to the bank. So long as Maine Guides control what the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does with the implementation of bear hunts, I don’t expect any real effort to reduce bear numbers in areas where the deer are struggling. This is where, as a matter of convenience, anyone can play any one of a number of those excuse cards that explain why the deer are disappearing. I’ll bet this is a good chance to get a grant to study global warming in Maine and it’s affects on deer. Line up!

Nobody else will make notice that the deer are, more than likely, feeling the effects of hydatid cysts on lungs and other organs, that reduces their ability to evade predators.

Maine biologists reported, albeit inaccurately and incompletely, that moose examined in portions of Aroostook County had, what officials called, “lung worms.” What the moose had were hydatid cysts, the result of ingestion of Echinococcus granulosus eggs found in the scat of wild canines. Ingestion of these eggs by humans can be fatal. The more the coyote/wolf hybrid is protected the greater the chance of infecting wild ungulate populations in Maine (deer, moose) and putting humans at risk.

Because the cysts were found in moose, the likelihood of finding similar cysts in deer grows. The last thing Maine’s deer herd needs is another enemy. Wintering deer can struggle to exist under normal circumstances but if moose and deer struggle to breathe due to cysts on the lungs, liver, brain and muscle tissue, odds of surviving the onslaught of predators goes down.

Over the past several months, all focus has been on defeating an anti human, bear referendum and now it has shifted to Canada lynx. The deer still suffers while managers hope and pray for some global warming. The question I have is what will then become the excuse for disappearing deer herd when Maine’s climate becomes like Virginia’s?

NorthernMaineDeerHarvestLynx

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It Continues: Eating Wolf Scat and Howling at the Moon

WolfScatIn 2010 it was considered by most as absolutely atrocious that wildlife officials would tell citizens that in order to contract Echinococcus granulosis, you had to eat wolf excrement. As ridiculous as that sounds, the same utter nonsense continues to be perpetuated.

“But veterinarians point out that other critters are host to the parasite, too. It’s been around for a long time. A human would essentially have to eat the poop of an infected animal to contract the parasite.”

“If you’re worried about wolf diseases, wear latex gloves while cleaning game, wash your hands – and don’t eat poop.”<<<Read More>>>

One has to wonder that had it been stated that Ebola was transmitted to humans via the wolf, if so many would be as eager to protect the wolf over the human?

It seems that in any discussion about wolves, too much emphasis is placed on either or of both extremes. A reader here at this website pointed out last evening that issues of Echinococcus granulosis isn’t about scare tactics and fear mongering. It’s about gaining the accurate knowledge in order that any person can properly use the best tactics, for their own circumstances, to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Why is that so difficult to do and met with such resistance?

I think there are many things at play here that drives human actions, non of which are for the benefit of the human being; only the wolf.

For those of us who have spent a considerable amount of time studying this issue, what has changed doesn’t seem to be taken into consideration. It’s easy to fall back on making a statement that E.g. has been around for a long time. And it has, but what has changed is, the United States Lower 48 states now have wolves numbering in the thousands. The human population has grown. There are more domestic canine pets than ever at any time in history and testing and studies are now confirming the existence of the more virulent strains of E.g., previously only found in remote northern climates. How that strain got here is mostly immaterial, except to discover whether or not it did happen through wolf introduction using wolves from Canada, to insure it wouldn’t happen again in a similar instance. Learning of the dangers and how to avoid them is responsible.

It isn’t about scaring people. It’s about discovering truth, not denying or covering it up.

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