After battling Lyme disease, Dana Parish believed she was safe from ticks when she left New York for the California coast. Now she’s coming back from the beach and looking for ticks.
“Sadly, I hate to tell you this, but that’s exactly what you need to do,” she said.
According to a study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, disease-carrying ticks appear in areas that have long been thought to be tick-free. Researchers covered brush along northern California beaches and were surprised to find large numbers of ticks in the chaparral.
Typically, the forested areas of the northeast are the epicenter of ticks in the United States. Scientists expect an explosion of ticks this year due to a hot, humid winter and more mice they feed on. More ticks means more tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
Cases of Lyme disease have been reported in 48 states, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly half a million Americans are treated for it each year. Finding ticks early is essential to avoiding Lyme disease.
The parish was infected seven years ago in New Jersey. “And within five months of that tick bite, I lost everything I was,” she said.
At one point, she suffered from heart failure.
“I hope this study sheds light on the fact that it’s here,” Parish said of California beachgoers more aware of the presence of ticks.