The District collects western black-legged ticks, Ixodes pacificus, to test for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacterium that causes Lyme disease) and Borrelia miyamotoi. The district also collects Dermacentor spp. ticks for collaborative research efforts and disease case follow-ups.
Collecting and testing ticks
District staff collects ticks at various parks and other publicly owned lands in Marin and Sonoma counties by a method called flagging. Ticks are sorted by species, gender, and collection location, and are frozen until they are tested.
Western black-legged ticks (I. pacificus) are tested for the presence of B. burgdorferi and B. miyamotoi DNA using Real-Time PCR technology. The District also collaborates with other agencies and educational institutions on various research projects related to ticks and tick-borne disease.