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Increasing numbers of Lyme disease-transmitting mites on California beachesExBulletin

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Black-footed mites carrying the causative agent of Lyme disease have been found in Chaparral on the coast surrounding California’s beaches.

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Black-footed mites carrying the causative agent of Lyme disease have been found in Chaparral on the coast surrounding California’s beaches.

James Gasunny / AP

As California’s temperatures rise and rest seekers head to the beach, there are new concerns besides harmful sun rays and strong undersea currents. It is a disease-carrying tick that appears to be prevalent along the coast of the Golden State.

Carrying black-footed arachnids Borrelia burgdorferiBacteria that cause Lyme disease are common on the east coast and are usually found in wooded areas and tall grass.But New research Experts do not know exactly why or how, but they do show that hematophages can thrive on the west coast.

Unexpected home in California

Dan Sarkeld, a biology researcher at Colorado State University Fort Collins, led a four-year study of ticks found on many coasts in northern California, from Mendocino County to Monterey County. It seems to be moving further south, such as Malibu, Manhattan Beach and Newport Beach. Salkeld told the NPR family KCRW. But he states that the threat of Lyme disease is minimal in these areas.

“Three combined studies conducted by other researchers found that one of more than 5,000 ticks was actually infected, so the risk in Southern California is very low,” he said. Told.

According to a study in Northern California, about 4% of adult ticks, which are large and easy to find, are carriers of the bacterium, according to Sarkeld.

Still, coastal shrubs and grass are amazing new habitats for the disease. This is because these ecosystems are not home to traditional reservoir hosts.

The tick itself does not have the causative agent of Lyme disease. To do this, it is necessary to draw blood from the host mammal. B. BorreliaDeer and white-footed mice are common on the east coast. In California, in addition to deer, Western gray squirrels, mice, and rats are included, but they do not live in the seaside grasslands.

Lyme disease cases surge in California

“In many places, we had more pathogens than many know,” said Leah Gartner, director of education and outreach at the Bay Area Lime Foundation, which funded Sarkeld’s research. I know there are ticks. “

Thanks to his work, Gaernter added: “Now we can match what we see from our personal experience, what we hear from doctors, and what we hear from patients.”

Ronald Owens, a spokesman for the State Public Health Service, said: Said According to SFGate, less than 50 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and their potential were confirmed in 2020. This is less than half of what is usually reported.

However, Gaernter believes this is a terribly inaccurate way of counting cases. Doctors often state that they are unable to identify or treat, are unmotivated, or are untrained.

According to a 2018 Lyme disease report by Quest, cases in California increased by 195% between 2015 and 2017, and the infections responsible for the disease were found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.Is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Estimates that approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease each year.

Symptomatology of Lyme disease and how to protect yourself

Typical symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a skin rash.

But in the latter case, Gartner warns people not to rely on the appearance of a “bull’s eye” type rash that has been said for decades.

“It’s a myth that every time you get Lyme disease, this kind of rash appears. In fact, most rashes are red oval rashes, so if you can’t see the bullseye, you should consider it uninfected. No, “she says. Said.

Also, mites can be very difficult to find, especially if they are in the larval stage. Sarkeld explained that it was as big as a poppy seed, and Gartner said it could be as small as a period on a computer screen.

In either case, there is a risk of spreading a variety of diseases, similar to adult ticks, which can be feasted for 3-4 days. According to Gartner, it is imperative to check your whole body and head with a magnifying glass or a magnifying glass on your smartphone after you go out into the wilderness.

She recommends replacing black leggings with light-colored clothing to make even the smallest creatures easily visible, and using permethrin tick repellent on bags, shoes, and socks. “And always walk the designated path,” she said, adding, “I like to” explore “at the top of tall grass, waiting for a chance to ride a hitch hike.”

Preserving mites is very important

When you get home, put your clothes in a hot dryer for about 15 minutes to kill the remaining traveler mites. By scrubbing the armpits, the back of the knees, and the genital area, you can wash away mites that have not yet adhered.

If he finds a tick, “I don’t want the tick to spit out bacteria, so the only suitable way for him to get rid of the tick is to use pointed nasal tweezers,” Gartner said.

And after removing it, don’t throw it away!

Instead, wrap it in a damp paper towel, place it in a plastic sandwich bag, and mail it to the tick laboratory. Within three days, she said, they could find out what kind of tick it was, how long it had been feeding, and what kind of illness it was carrying. “This is because people are doctors. It’s very important information to share with, “says Gaertner.

Gartner provided last-minute advice for those who are afraid to go out.

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