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
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
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,
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
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
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.