Malibu Creek State Park ticks test positive for Lyme disease

This tick species recently tested positive for Lyme disease in Malibu Creek State Park.

County and National Park Service officials are advising visitors to check their clothing and exposed skin for tiny creatures after a tick species in Malibu Creek State Park tested positive for Lyme disease.

The western black-legged ticks also tested positive for the infectious disease in Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills and Tapia Park, officials said.

“This is a good reminder for visitors to stick to the trail and avoid the vegetated areas where ticks like to hang out,” said Evan Jones, a chief ranger for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Though Lyme disease can be very serious, simply following a few basic steps can greatly minimize exposure.”

Jones also advised visitors to wear long-sleeves, pants and light colors.

Lyme disease symptoms include flu-like illness and severe chronic health problems over long periods of time. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early on, but if left untreated Lyme disease may lead to long-term health problems. 

“We’re finding that about 1 or 2 percent of western black-legged ticks in the area carry the Lyme disease bacteria, so it’s important for us to identify where the problem is occurring,” said Robert Saviskas, executive director of the L.A. county agency responsible for conducting the tests. “This particular tick is most active from late November through May.”