F Rosa Rubicondior: Malevolent Designer News - How Science is Racing to Beat Creationism's Favourite Sadist

Saturday 21 October 2023

Malevolent Designer News - How Science is Racing to Beat Creationism's Favourite Sadist

Black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis
Illustration from The Malevolent Designer

Catherine Webber-Hounslow
Racing to defuse a ‘ticking’ public health time bomb | YaleNews

Like the parasitic worms that zombify their hosts I wrote about in my previous blog post, I also wrote about the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, now proliferating in North America and infecting more and more victims with Lyme Disease, in my popular, illustrated book, The Malevolent Designer: Why Nature's God is not Good.

As the reputed work of an intelligent [sic] designer, this tick can only be regarded as evidence of the pestilential malevolent of any designer that could design such a creature, as it serves no purpose other than to be the vector of a number of different pathogens and to make more ticks.

What information do you have on the tick, Ixodes scapularis, and the risk it poses to human health? Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the black-legged tick or deer tick, is a species of tick found primarily in North America. It is known for its role in the transmission of various diseases, making it a potential health risk to humans. Here's some information about Ixodes scapularis and the diseases it can transmit:
  1. Geographic Distribution: Ixodes scapularis is most commonly found in the northeastern, north-central, and southeastern parts of the United States, as well as parts of Canada. Its distribution is expanding due to various factors, including climate change.
  2. Hosts: This tick species primarily feeds on white-tailed deer during the adult stage but can infest a wide range of hosts, including small mammals, birds, and humans during their nymph and larval stages.
  3. Diseases Transmitted:
    1. Lyme Disease: Ixodes scapularis is the primary vector for the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. Infected ticks can transmit the bacterium to humans during their blood-feeding process. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, joint pain, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more severe health issues.
    2. Anaplasmosis: This tick can also transmit Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a bacterium that causes anaplasmosis. Symptoms can include fever, headache, and muscle aches.
    3. Babesiosis: Some Ixodes scapularis ticks may carry Babesia parasites, causing a disease known as babesiosis. It can result in symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, and anemia.
    4. Powassan Virus: Although relatively rare, this tick can transmit the Powassan virus, which can lead to severe neurologic illness in humans.
  4. Prevention: To reduce the risk of tick bites and the associated diseases, individuals should take precautions when spending time in tick-prone areas. This includes wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent, checking for ticks after outdoor activities, and properly removing ticks if found attached to the skin.
  5. Tick Removal: If you find a tick attached to your skin, it's important to remove it properly using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removal, clean the area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  6. Medical Attention: If you develop symptoms of a tick-borne illness after a tick bite, seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce the risk of complications.
Ixodes scapularis poses a risk to human health due to its ability to transmit various diseases, particularly Lyme disease. Awareness, prevention, and timely removal of ticks are crucial for reducing the risk of tick-borne illnesses.
Now, in response to the growing public health risk in the proliferation of these ticks, a research team led by Sukanya Narasimhan, associate professor in Yale’s Department of Internal Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Erol Fikrig, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases) and of microbial pathogenesis, have produced a review article in which they outline why the stakes are so high and describe some potential solutions.

Their article is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and explained in a Yale news release by Bill Hathaway:
Yale is developing vaccines that combat a variety of infections by thwarting the ability of ticks to feed and even alert human hosts when they have been bitten.

The explosive rise in tick-borne diseases in many parts of the United States over the last five decades represents a major public health threat that demands innovative solutions, warns a group of Yale scientists. In a review article, they outline why the stakes are so high and describe some potential solutions.

Possible solutions include a new class of vaccines for humans, including vaccines being developed at Yale, and even for the animals that carry the ticks.

The article is published Oct. 18 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The research team was led by Sukanya Narasimhan, associate professor in Yale’s Department of Internal Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Erol Fikrig, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases) and of microbial pathogenesis.

The public health threat, they say, is escalating rapidly. It wasn’t until 1982 that the threat of tick-borne diseases was recognized after a bacterium transmitted by ticks caused an outbreak of arthritis-like symptoms in children in Lyme, Connecticut. And even then, known cases of the disease were extremely rare.

Today an estimated 490,000 people in the United States are infected annually by tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, an increase that researchers say has been fueled by the return of formerly depleted forests and a dramatic increase in populations of tick-hosting white-tailed deer.

The threat has also spread from isolated areas near the New England coastline into the U.S. Midwest and other parts of the country since the cause of Lyme Disease was identified four decades ago. A single tick species — Ixodes scapularis, commonly called the black-legged or deer tick — accounts for 97% of tick-borne diseases in the United States.

To date, most efforts to combat tick-borne diseases have concentrated on developing vaccines that target Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. These efforts, however, have had limited success and do nothing to combat other pathogens that can be transmitted by ticks, the researchers say.

For example, deer ticks can also transmit six other human pathogens, including the Powassan virus — named for a town where it was first identified in a young boy who eventually died from it — which kills 10% of infected people and causes permanent neurologic damage in half of the cases. While still rare, Powassan cases have increased forty-fold in the last two decades.

In response to this rapid rise of a host of tick-borne diseases, Fikrig’s lab at Yale is developing vaccines that combat a variety of infections by thwarting the ability of ticks to feed and even alert human hosts when they have been bitten by a tick.

“If we can keep ticks from feeding, we can control Lyme and other diseases as well,” said Narasimhan, first author of the new report.

Previous research has shown that multiple exposures to tick bites can increase resistance to tick-borne infections. At Yale, Fikrig’s lab capitalized on this insight. In a previous study, the lab showed that a vaccine containing a cocktail of tick salivary proteins can impair tick feeding and even increase the chances that a person will recognize that they’ve been bitten, which can in turn prompt rapid tick removal and a reduced likelihood of infection.

Durland Fish, professor emeritus of epidemiology (microbial diseases) at Yale School of Public Health and a co-author of the article, argues that such a vaccine could also be delivered orally within bait that would be consumed by deer. Ideally, he said, ticks would then be unable to feed upon the blood of that deer, which in turn would reduce tick populations and the risk of disease for humans.

“Deer are the keystone host for deer ticks,” he said. “They do not exist in areas where there are no deer. I think this should be the Manhattan Project for tick-borne diseases.”

Similar strategies have already been carried out to prevent racoon rabies in the U.S. and fox rabies in Europe, and also to protect cattle against tick-borne disease.

“Toward this goal, we must have a multidisciplinary, One Health approach [an integrated approach that balances the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems] that will harness the vision of molecular biologists, entomologists, ecologists, epidemiologists, physicians, veterinarians and vaccinologists,” the authors conclude.
The team's paper in Science Translational Medicine contains more details, especially in the Introduction, which is reproduced here for the purpose of illustration and review. The Abstract is reprinted with kind permission:


The deer tick transmits nearly half of the known tick-borne pathogens in the United States, and its expanding geographic range increases the risk of human infection. To decrease the abundance of and infection risk from deer ticks, approaches that include vaccines for human use and for animal hosts are desired.

© the authors. Published by American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Reprinted with kind permission under licence #5653261466958


Ixodid ticks comprise a diverse family of hematophagous arthropods distributed worldwide that serve as vectors of disease pathogens of humans, companion animals, and livestock (1, 2). In addition to the impact of mortality and morbidity associated with tick-borne human pathogens, pathogens transmitted by ticks to livestock severely affect agriculture and farming, especially in developing countries [citations in (2) provide insights into the impact of tick-borne diseases of livestock in resource-poor countries]. Of the multitude of vector-borne diseases affecting human health globally, those transmitted by mosquitoes dominate. But in the United States, more vector-borne diseases are transmitted by ticks than by mosquitoes, and the burden of tick-borne diseases is increasing. More than 490,000 cases of tick-borne diseases are estimated to occur annually, caused by at least 20 taxonomically diverse microbial agents that are transmitted by at least 10 different tick species (Table 1) (3). Seven of these pathogens are vectored by only one tick species, Ixodes scapularis, commonly called the black-legged or deer tick, which is the focus of this Viewpoint. This single tick species is responsible for 97% of all tick-borne diseases in the United States (3). Several of these pathogens, or closely related species, also occur throughout northern Eurasia, where they are transmitted by the related tick species Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus (1). Along with Ixodes pacificus (4) in the western United States, these tick species have a similar ecology and share similar potential for intervention strategies.

Sukanya Narasimhan et al. ,
A ticking time bomb hidden in plain sight.
Sci. Transl. Med.15,eadi7829(2023). DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.adi7829
These situations are a test of the sincerity of creationist beliefs. If they truly believe their god creates these things for some ultimate good purpose, in their childishly Panglossian view of reality where everything is for the best in the best of all worlds, they would not try to avoid becoming infected, and they would not seek medical help if and when they do, because to oppose their deity's 'perfect plan' would be a blasphemy.

But I wonder how many of them stick to the principles their faith should be mandating them to live by, and how many of them suddenly discover the benefits of modern scientific medicine.

Thank you for sharing!

submit to reddit

No comments :

Post a Comment

Obscene, threatening or obnoxious messages, preaching, abuse and spam will be removed, as will anything by known Internet trolls and stalkers, by known sock-puppet accounts and anything not connected with the post,

A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Remember: your opinion is not an established fact unless corroborated.

Web Analytics