Local ticks carry multiple diseases, study finds

Mar 2, 2014

Tick flag used in field collections.
Credit courtesy Lia Gaertner/Bay Area Lyme Foundation

For many, checking for ticks after coming back from a hike is a ritual. Now there is an extra reason to be cautious, as Stanford researchers report finding local ticks are carrying a newly detected disease. 

Lia Gaertner, an advisory board member of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, helped collect some of the ticks. 

"I put on a full painters suit and rain boots and gloves and swept my hair back in a tight bun and put a hat on," she says. "We carried these white flags, like sheets on sticks, stop every 20 feet and count and remove the ticks and put them into vials."

An analysis of the ticks revealed that some were carrying not just Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, but also B. miyamotoi, which causes relapsing fever sickness