The county’s mosquito and vector district is warning county residents to take precautions against tick bites after a Belmont resident possibly contracted Lyme disease following a trip to Water Dog Lake Park.
The risks of exposure are greater in warmer weather because people venture outdoors for hiking, camping and other activities, said Dr. Nayer Zahiri, laboratory director of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The district issued its warning Thursday after the reported Belmont incident and is also posting warning signs and information brochures at all main trailheads and coordinating with the Belmont Park and Recreation Department to reduce tick populations.
Ticks are small, insect-like creatures found in naturally vegetated areas throughout the county and prefer cool, moist environments; shaded grasses; shrubs and leaf litter. They attach to humans and other animals and feed on their blood over several days.
Bites from an infected western black-legged tick, the only tick in California that transmits Lyme disease, can lead to human infection. Early symptoms often include a spreading rash accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever and body aches. Tick bites can also cause a variety of other human illnesses besides Lyme disease.
To cut down on risk of tick bites, the district recommends people in tick-prone areas stay on trails, wear light-colored long clothing so ticks can be easily spotted, use a repellent and inspect oneself frequently.