It's especially high in Santa Cruz," noted Green. "That's not from a study," she added. "That's from sitting behind my desk."
AGH!!! But it IS from a study- a study PROVES it!! Journal of Medical Entomology 2003!!! AGH Doc G!!! What are oyu THINKING!!!!*)*)!! Good article ANYWAY- but STILL!!!!!!! *************************************
Lyme disease real danger in Bay Area
Encounters with ticks heighten in fall, winter By Suzanne Bohan, STAFF WRITER Article Last Updated: 11/08/2007 02:37:41 AM PST
If you spend time outdoors during the next few months, take extra precautions against ticks that carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, warned the state's Department of Public Health this week. The agency annually reminds state residents to maintain extra diligence when fall begins, as adult ticks carrying the bacteria causing Lyme disease become a greater threat.
"Although most people associate ticks with summer activities, adult western black-legged ticks are more likely to be encountered in late fall and winter," explained Mark Horton, director of the public health agency.
Of the 48 tick species found in California, only the western black-legged tick is thought to transmit Lyme disease.
But on average, 1 to 2 percent of the adult western black-legged ticks carry the bacteria causing the disease, although in some California counties the rate is higher, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.
While the percentages are small, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Northern California as among the nation's more active areas for human Lyme disease infections, including a number of cases in the Bay Area. Dr. Christine Green, a Palo Alto physician who specializes in treating Lyme disease, sees it firsthand. She has a caseload of more than 200 patients with Lyme disease, many contracted locally in San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
"It's especially high in Santa Cruz," noted Green. "That's not from a study," she added. "That's from sitting behind my desk."
Many of her patients arrive after months or years of enduring misdiagnoses of their symptoms, which can mimic other illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome.
While Green said more Bay Area physicians are aware their patients are at risk of contracting a Lyme disease infection locally, word is slow to spread.
"I have colleagues saying 'Why are you treating Lyme disease? There's not Lyme here,'" Green said.
Spring presents another time of peak risk for hikers, gardeners, surveyors and others spending time outside, when young ticks, called nymphs, emerge. The nymphs, the size of a head of a pen, live in leaf- and fir-needle litter in the mixed hardwood forests common in the region.
The UC Berkeley data found that on average, 2 to 15 percent of the nymphs in California are infected with the Lyme disease bacteria -- although in one woodland site in Mendocino County, 41 of the nymphs were infected. As they grow, however, the ticks' diet clears out much of the Lyme disease bacteria, leading to lower infection rates in adults.
In the fall and early winter, the now-adult ticks climb to the tips of tall grass and brush in urban, suburban and urban areas, and attach to passersby. The insects spread the disease by sucking blood for several days.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever and body aches. Most patients recover with antibiotics, although if left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.
-------------------- There is no wealth but life. -John Ruskin
All truth goes through 3 stages: first it is ridiculed: then it is violently opposed: finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer Posts: 5639 | From Aptos CA USA | Registered: Apr 2005
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