For Americans on the fence about the need to address climate change despite deadly heatwaves, horrific wildfires, destructive hurricanes, and parching drought, maybe ticks and mosquitos will be the last straws. Climate change, caused mainly by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is pushing the U.S. into a "goldilocks zone" for mosquitos and scientists expect increased transmission of West Nile Virus, a neuroinvasive disease spread by mosquitoes that can cause paralyzing and even fatal brain and spinal cord swelling. Drought forces birds — which carry the virus and are even more susceptible to infection when their stress hormones are elevated — to congregate, thus making them easier targets for mosquitos. Seasonal periods of tick activity are also lengthening, increasing the transmission of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and tularemia.
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