Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium known as a spirochete. People get Lyme disease when a tick infected with the Lyme disease bacterium attaches andfeeds on them. Lyme disease has been reported from many areas of the country, including California. The western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus, transmits the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in humans in California. The ticks do not jump or fly, but will attach themselves to people who brush up against grasses or leaf litter where they live.
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease range from a characteristic “bulls-eye” rash (shown here on the image to the left), fever, chills and body aches to joint swelling, weakness and temporary paralysis. Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics, especially in the early stages. The potential for long-term complications increases if the disease progresses untreated.
There is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease. Prevention measures include:
Butte County Public Health can identify the western black-legged tick and test for Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. The fee for tick identification is $15.00 with an additional $28.00 charge (total of $43.00) to have the tick tested for Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick can be alive or dead, but needs to be kept moist. Put the tick in a zip lock bag with a piece of paper towel moistened with water only. If the tick dries out, it cannot be tested.
Inform your health care provider if you develop a rash from a tick bite and you are concerned it may be Lyme disease. It is important that your health care provider see the rash, measure it, and document the measurement.