Investigative Journalist to Discuss Link Between Lyme Disease Epidemic and Care Challenges

Julia Fishman

Mary Beth Pfeiffer

September 21, 2018—Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions in much of the United States, particularly in the northeast. As a news reporter, Mary Beth Pfeiffer wrote about Lyme disease in New York’s Hudson Valley. What she thought would be one or two articles ultimately led her on a journey to further investigate the sudden rise of this debilitating disease which resulted in the book, Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change.

Pfeiffer will discuss her research and what she believes are the direct links between climate disease and rise of several tick-borne illnesses, regionally and globally, in a talk at Marist College on Wednesday, October 17, 7:00pm, in the Nelly Goletti Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.

“Lyme clearly exploded in the 1970s—and has accelerated since—as the effects of a warming globe took hold. Ticks now live where they never could, and the one clear factor in their expansion is an increase in temperature,” Pfeiffer noted. “Ticks are climbing latitudes and mountains. Climate change most certainly is abetting this epidemic, along with other changes in the modern environment, including the fragmentation of forests and loss of species.”

Drawing on more than 300 scientific articles and dozens of expert interviews, the book documents the human contribution to the dangerous spread of tick-borne illnesses to dozens of countries and multitudes of people. Pfeiffer also challenges standard medical dogma that has left many untreated. Lyme makes a powerful case for action to combat ticks, address patient pain, and recognize humanity's role in creating an epidemic. Booklist called it “superbly written and researched.”

Pfeiffer, a 1976 graduate of Marist, has been a journalist for four decades. She was a reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal, where her work on Lyme disease began.  She is also the author of Crazy in America: The Hidden Scandal of Our Criminalized Mentally Ill.

This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Environmental Science & Policy and the School of Science, and is part of the annual Marist College Lecture Series.

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