I attended the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Lunch a few weeks ago. Since Lyme is the main driver in my PANDAS ( as far as we know at this point), I decided that education about Lyme was a good idea. I learned a lot, indeed! Here are some bullet points of information that I found helpful:
- The Western Gray Squirrel is the primary host animal in the Bay Area for ticks infected with Lyme and other bacteria harmful to humans. The common belief is that “no deer = no Lyme”— but this is not true!
- Misinformation about the existence of Lyme in the Bay Area is rampant. Even the most seasoned researchers and physicians believe wrong information. One of the event speakers, Dr. Dan Salkeld, a Colorado State Professor who studies the ecology of wildlife disease, recalled a casual conversation with a Stanford researcher who stated “there was no lyme in this part of California.” Dr. Salkeld, who captures ticks and oversees their testing for infectious disease, was able to say with certainty, “No, you are mistaken. Lyme is present in this area. I see it firsthand in the wildlife I research.”
- Preventing tick bites requires a multi-layered approach. The process of checking for ticks after outdoor activities is time consuming and requires a very careful eye. The life cycle of ticks means that during several months of the year (February to May in the Bay Area), tick “nymphs” are the size of poppy seeds! Yet, they are just as capable of spreading Lyme disease as adult ticks.
- Recovering from Lyme is a very long process. It may take several years.
Categories: The story continues