San Francisco Bay Area's trails and open space hold a higher risk of tick-borne disease than previously thought.
Scientists collected 622 ticks from 20 sites in recreational areas from Sonoma County in the north to Santa Cruz County in the south and found a higher percentage of young ticks were infected with bacteria that produces Lyme disease-like symptoms, according to a new study by Stanford University researchers.
Because of their size, the smaller ticks are less likely to be discovered when they hitch themselves onto humans.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and sometimes a rash that looks like a bull's-eye centered on the tick bite. If left untreated, the infection can cause arthritis, joint pain, immune deficiencies and a persistent cognitive fog, the study says.