Ticks that carry Lyme-disease causing bacterium, new pathogen ‘widespread’ in Bay Area 

click to enlarge ticks
  • New Stanford research says 2 percent of ticks in the Bay Area are Lyme carriers.
Ticks bearing the bacterium that causes Lyme disease can be found in nearly every park and open space in the Bay Area.

And it gets worse: Ticks bearing a second, “Lyme-like” pathogen are also prevalent in Northern California.

Ticks bearing the bacterium that can lead to the debilitating disease — once thought to be restricted to the Northeast — were found in “nearly every [Bay Area] park” studied by a team of Stanford researchers, whose findings were released today.

Only about 2 percent of local ticks examined carried the bacterium that leads to Lyme disease, the researchers found — far less than the 35 percent rate found in ticks in the Northeast. But Lyme-carrying ticks were found in grassland as well as wooded areas in the park- and trail-rich Bay Area, according to the researchers.

In addition to the bacterium that causes Lyme, researchers found a second bacterium in many of the same ticks: Borrelia miyamotoi.

Very little is known about that bacterium — first discovered last year — aside from it causing some Lyme-like symptoms, including headache and fatigue, researchers said.

About 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease were diagnosed in the United States last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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