Stanford Study Finds Ticks Abundant in Bay Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new study reveals ticks carry new bacteria that causes symptoms similar to Lyme disease when exposed. Kimberly Tere reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014)

    Some people think you have to be in the woods to encounter ticks, but a new Stanford study shows a simple walk in the grass could expose you.

    Stanford researchers found ticks carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in parks all across the Bay Area. The study also found ticks carrying another disease, borrelia miyamotoi, a disease discovered just last year that has symptoms similar to Lyme disease.

    In response, researchers are warning the public to be aware of ticks. Officials said ticks can be found just about anywhere -- in the woods, grass, at a playground or on a picnic bench.

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    "I think it underscores the need for more research on what these ticks are carrying and where they are," said Ana Thompson, executive director of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

    The Stanford researchers were surprised to find ticks infected with one or both bacteria in nearly every Bay Area park they examined.

    Tick season is year round in California, officials said.

    Palo Alto-resident Dan Dion said he's found his share of ticks over the years and has taken care to remove them quickly.

    "It almost feels like a pimple staring when I touch it cause you can feel it right away with your fingers," he said. "And then I watch it after that because I am paranoid about Lyme disease."

    Health officials said Lyme disease can affect joints, the nervous system, brain and heart. It can also be fatal.