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USA TODAY (Arlington, VA) – Saturday, June 8, 1991
Author: MARILYN LEARY: (c) Gannett News Service

The first confirmed case of tick-borne Lyme disease caught in Southern California – at Cucamonga Peak –
has been reported by the San Bernardino County Public Health Department.

Two other cases this year, one in Lytle Creek and one in Forest Falls, are strongly suspected of having
been caught in the county.

“We suspect other cases, but a bite wasn’t confirmed or the tick wasn’t kept. Lab tests confirmed the
disease , but the site couldn’t be proven,” said Gary Euler, county epidemiologist.

Lyme disease , transmitted in California by the bite of the black-legged tick, can cause a sometimes
deadly heart disorder as well as dangerous neurological illnesses and severe, lifelong arthritis.

Early symptoms include a rash where the bite occurred and headache, fever and malaise.

If treated early with antibiotics, the disease usually can be cured.

Thirteen cases have been reported in San Bernardino County since 1989, when reporting began for
Lyme disease .

Most occurred in people believed to have contracted the disease in other states – particularly the
Northeast, where Lyme disease is prevalent – or in Northern California.

Orange County officials recently announced that a tick captured in San Clemente harbored the bacteria
that causes Lyme disease , but no cases originating in Orange County have been confirmed, Euler said.

Confirmation of the Cucamonga Peak case came from the state Department of Health Services after
it tested ticks collected on the mountain by county environmental health services workers.

The victim, a 55-year-old Fontana teacher, was hiking in February with Sierra Club friends near an
area known as Tick Outlook.

He found a tick on his abdomen when he returned home, removed it and kept it. When a bull’s-eye rash
appeared, he consulted his doctor at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana.

Blood tests showed he had been infected with Lyme disease and the state confirmed the tick carried
the disease. The patient was given 14 days of tetracycline antibiotic treatment and has recovered,
Euler said.

A second case of Lyme disease was diagnosed in a 10-month-old girl who lives in Forest Falls.

A black-legged tick was found on her back in April. It was removed, but then discarded.

The baby, who never has been away from Forest Falls, was given antibiotic treatment and recovered.

A Riverside woman diagnosed with Lyme disease probably contracted it on a 1989 fishing trip to Lytle
Creek, but a tick bite could not be confirmed.

Two other cases likely contracted in San Bernardino County occurred in Chino Hills residents, one in
1989 and the other in 1990. A tick bite could not be confirmed in either case.

Statewide, more than 200 cases of Lyme disease have been reported this year, most in the northwest
coastal areas. California had 250 cases in the last six months of 1989 and 345 in 1990. Nationwide,
1,511 cases of Lyme disease have been reported so far this year.

The black-legged tick has been found in 53 of California’s 58 counties, but only about 1 to 2 percent
carry the Lyme disease bacteria, said Robert Murray, epidemiologist with the infectious disease
branch of the state health department in Oakland.

In California, black-legged ticks are active October through May and usually are found in San Bernardino
County at elevations of 3,000 feet or more.