If you’re hiking around the Bay Area right now, you should be

thinking about ticks. I do, and after a recent hike, was especially vigorous in checking for them, and urged my hiking partner to do so as well.

A new Stanford University study has found ticks in a dozen Bay Area parks that are carrying a mysterious bacteria that is an offshoot of Lyme disease. This is an interesting development, to say the least. The effects of Lyme disease are well-known, ranging from achy joints to fever and rashes to much worse, if left untreated. But it’s a tricky disease so if a variation of it has developed among deer ticks, it could prove problematic. (Lyme disease is, of course, far worse in the Northeastern US where almost 1 in every 3 ticks carries it. By comparison, about 1 in every 50 here carries it.)

The researchers found bacteria-carrying ticks across the area, including China Camp State Park in Marin County and the Hopland Extension Center in Mendocino. Given that other sightings were scattered (Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa), it’s a safe bet that these ticks are or will soon be spotted in Sonoma County’s parks. (A Sonoma County Regional Parks spokesperson said Wednesday that there has no been unusual tick activity reported so far this season.)

Link to the Stanford

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Here’s a tick-prevention video that’s as amusing for its public-access shooting-style as it is informative:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnfr_dzX2_k

 

Brochure on ticks from Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (PDF)

 

2/26 Update: Good story from SF Chronicle on this topic