The trails in Santa Barbara, CA are beautiful and amazing this time of year, especially after our recent rainfall. We must, however, share them with many other creatures including ticks. May through June and October through December are the designated tick “seasons,” but ticks are present year-round. Ticks can transmit certain diseases through their bites including Lyme disease and a number of known coinfections.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease today. It has been reported in all 50 US states and more than 65 countries. There are 329,000 new cases each year in the US. On the West Coast, Lyme is carried by the Western black-legged tick, more commonly known as the deer tick, which is prevalent in the Santa Barbara area. Its primary host is the gray squirrel.