Black-legged ticks possibly carrying Lyme Disease were found at California beaches, according to a study by researchers at Colorado State University.
Dan Salkeld, an ecologist for the Colorado State University in Fort Collins and lead of the study, was involved in a four-year field work across the San Francisco Bay area and nearby wine country where his team found nearly 3,000 Western black-legged ticks.
The researchers said it is unclear how the ticks survived and bred in coastal areas as its host, the western gray squirrel, typically do not frequent seaside areas.
The research has yet to be published, but experts consider it valuable in evaluating whether the risk of getting Lyme disease is increasing in the Bay Area.
California, so far, has a lower incidence of Lyme disease-carrying ticks than other parts of the country.
Estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that roughly 476,000 people contract Lyme disease each year. Early symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis, heart irregularities and facial palsy.