ROSEVILLE, Calif., January 25, 2012 – Eight tick samples in Placer County have tested positive for the Lyme disease organism in the past two weeks. This announcement comes on the heels of a tick advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health last week.
“These results certainly support the warning from the state health officer,” said Joel Buettner, General Manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District. Buettner states that there is a Lyme disease risk during this time of year, even though most people associate ticks and Lyme disease with the summer months. District surveillance activities have picked up an increase in the tick population since the late fall, and ticks are capable of infecting humans with the Lyme disease pathogen even when temperatures are colder.
“We are concerned that with the milder winter we have been experiencing, a lot of folks will be taking the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, such as hiking in tick habitat, and potentially putting themselves at risk for tick-borne disease,” Buettner continues. Although it is not a clear representation of the distribution of ticks or prevalence of Lyme disease, five surveillance sites have come up with infected ticks:
- Driver’s Flat
- Placer Nature Center
- Stephen’s Trail
- Hidden Falls
- Auburn Overlook Trail
The District advises residents who may be working or recreating in tick habitat to exercise caution and implement the following tick-borne prevention strategies:
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck pant legs into boots or socks and tuck shirts into pants.
- Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen.
- Apply a repellent, such as DEET, registered for use against ticks. Always follow directions on the container and be careful when applying to children. Before entering tick habitat, permethrin spray may be applied to clothing to kill ticks.
- Stay in the middle of the trail. Avoid trail margins, brush and grassy areas.
- Inspect yourself frequently for ticks while in tick habitats. Once out of tick habitat, thoroughly check your entire body for ticks up to three days after being in tick areas. Parents should examine their children, especially on the scalp, hairline and skin folds.
For more information on ticks in Placer County, contact the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District at (888) 768-2343 or visit www.placermosquito.org.