T.The pathogen that causes Lyme disease is just as common in coastal ticks as it is in ticks from forests, known high-risk habitats, researchers reported on Friday (April 23) in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. They examined the prevalence of the Lyme disease-causing bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi in two California counties and found the same proportion of western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) were infected with the pathogen in forests because they were located next to beaches in Chaparral.
“We were really surprised at the high rate of disease-causing ticks in the coastal chaparral,” said Colorado State University co-author Daniel Salkeld in a press release.
In their work, he and his colleagues explain that the “archetypal” habitat for Lyme disease in California is the oak forest area, home to gray squirrels that serve as hosts for ticks. “A few years ago I would have said the ticks [near the coast] would not have been infected because there are no gray squirrels that are the source of Lyme in California, ”says Salkeld NBC Newsand added that voles or rabbits could be the host in coastal habitats.
Found Salkeld’s group BB burgdorferi adult ticks collected from Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Cruz counties, while adult ticks from Mendocino and Santa Clara counties tested negative for the bacterium. All counties included sampling sites in both coastal and wooded habitats, with the exception of Napa and Santa Clara, which included forests only.
According to NBC News4.1 percent of adult ticks in shrubby coastal areas of Counties Marin and Sonoma were infected with BB burgdorferi and 3.9 percent of adult ticks in forests in the same counties were infected.
“Let’s go to more beaches and other places where we think there won’t be ticks and I bet we’ll find them,” said Eva Sapi, the director of the University of New Haven’s Lyme Disease Research Program. who was not involved in the study study, recounts The Washington Post.