Aided by his Stanford students, Salkeld's initial research focused on assessing the risk of Lyme disease at the university's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and in the neighboring towns of Portola Valley and Woodside.
Salkeld and his fellow researchers went on to test 12 Bay Area recreational areas. They found B. burgdorferi in about 2 percent of adult ticks, an expectedly low rate of infection for the region, according to Salkeld. By comparison, about 35 percent of adult ticks in the Northeast U.S. carry the bacterium.
Salkeld was surprised to find ticks infected with B. burgdorferi not only in woodlands, but also in grassland chaparral habitat far from wooded areas. He was more surprised to find that ticks were infected with B. miyamotoi at slightly higher rates than those infected with B. burgdorferi.
Salkeld's research is funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national nonprofit founded in 2011 by residents of Portola Valley, Calif. Alarmed at the number of people with Lyme disease in their community, the group's founding members began an informal research initiative. They read all they could about the disease and invited medical authorities to discuss Lyme at neighborhood gatherings.
"At the beginning, we were just trying to learn about Lyme disease and why people were getting it," said Bonnie Crater, the group's co-founder and vice president. Crater and others were frustrated with the apparent lack of regional medical knowledge on the issue as well as the difficulty of getting a diagnosis and treating the disease. "This is not cancer. It's bacteria, and we've had antibiotics for over 100 years."
"Diagnostics is the No. 1 thing in terms of getting care," s
|Contact: Rob Jordan|