Stanford study finds Lyme disease widespread in open spaces


Lyme disease is more widespread in Bay Area open spaces than previously thought, according to a new study released Thursday by Stanford University researchers.

The study was funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, started by concerned citizens in Portola Valley and Woodside after several residents came down with the disease, but did not have it appropriately diagnosed for months.

"Lyme disease is widespread throughout the Bay Area," according to Dan Salkeld, a disease ecologist at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. "We found it in every single (test) open space, and every type of terrain."

The study, called "Tick-borne Pathogens in Northwestern California," also revealed that Bay Area ticks carry a second bacteria, previously undetected in the region, that can bring on flu-like symptoms in infected humans, such as relapsing fever and severe aches and pains. "It had been seen before in a couple of places around the Northwest, but we had no idea it was in California," Salkeld said.

The two strains of bacteria were found by researchers who fanned out into 12 open space preserves in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and dragged big white blankets through woodlands, grasslands and chaparral environments, collecting ticks that stuck to the material, Salkeld said.

Lyme disease and the second pathogen -- Borrelia miyamotoi -- were detected in around 2 percent of ticks that stuck to the white blankets, Salkeld said.

While the pathogens were detected in a far lower percentage than in the Northeastern U.S., where around 35 percent of ticks are carriers, it was still a higher result than many people expected to find in the Northwest.

"A lot of people think you just can't get Lyme disease in California," Salkeld said. "It's often under the radar, so sometimes it takes a really long time for the disease to be diagnosed."

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause severe rashes, fever, joint pain, and debilitating arthritis, Salkeld said.


For Bay Area residents who take advantage of the vast array of parks, trails and open spaces in the region, some simple precautions can be taken to avoid being bitten by ticks and potentially infected with Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses.

Hikers, walkers and bikers should try to stay in the middle of trails, avoiding brush, woodpiles and logs, Salkeld said. After spending time outdoors, residents should check themselves thoroughly for ticks, especially their hair.

Pets should also be thoroughly checked for ticks after a walk in the woods.

Anyone who develops symptoms -- fever, headaches, rashes or fatigue -- should consult a doctor familiar with Lyme.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by DonZ
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2014 at 4:34 am

Lyme disease is normally considered to be a Borrielia infection but among the co-infections is Bartonella. Borrielia is much easier to treat without the presence of Bart. Bart is the real culprit and what is not known is that Bart cause angiogenic tumors in your blood vessels which the bacteria use to hide from treatment. Not very many LLMD's are successful at treating Bart.

Everything explained here and how to treat presented as free info.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:51 am

"Lizards fight Lyme Disease"
In the current issue of California Game and Fish magazine (vol 2014 No 2 page 12) there is an article about how the common Western Fence Lizard (Blue-belly) cleans the Lyme bacteria out of ticks.

Like this comment
Posted by Angel Moon
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:53 am

Back in 1995, I was bit by a tick in the Santa Cruz area, and started having symptoms right away. When I sought medical help, the doctor told me there was no Lyme Disease in California, and I probably just had the flu, and to go rest it off. I was young at the time, without insurance, and the internet wasn't a big help back then...I believed what he told me. I got lost in the system for a long time. I went undiagnosed for 16 years, until finally my symptoms were debilitating, and I did enough research to figure it out myself. I asked my naturopath to be tested. It came back "negative", but most of the results were actually IND (indeterminate). I was no longer producing antibodies, and any regular doctor would pass it off again as some mysterious ailment according to the test results. I took myself and the test results to a LLMD, and finally got diagnosed. This was 2.5 years ago...I'm still in treatment, and sick. Stable, I think, but still sick. This is a SERIOUS disease, and can kill you if left untreated. PLEASE be careful out there. PLEASE see a specialist if you've been bit. Getting treatment right away could save your life.

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