In 2022, the District started a study to assess tick presence on residential properties in San Mateo County. Information from the study will be used to develop more targeted outreach materials to address knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding ticks and tick-borne diseases in San Mateo County. The cities of focus in late 2022 to early 2023 will be Pacifica and Hillsborough. If you live in either city and would like your property to be considered for this study, please complete this form.
It is currently assumed that residents of the San Francisco Bay Area are more likely to encounter ticks through outdoor recreation or outdoor occupations away from home than in their own yards. However, we do not currently know how often ticks are infesting yards, or what factors may contribute to the presence of ticks in yards. While the relative prevalence of tick-borne disease is low in San Mateo County, research is necessary to provide accurate information to residents.
Goal #1: Assess the prevalence of ticks in yards
All participation will be voluntary. SMCMVCD will reach out to residents prior to and during adult Ixodes spp. season (November – March) and encourage them to make appointments for a yard assessment. Residents may be invited via social media, phone calls, school outreach programs, newsletters, door hangers, or other means.
Properties will be assessed for ticks using standard tick sampling methods which consists of dragging a white flannel cloth over and around vegetation where ticks may be present. Properties will be surveyed for no more than 60 minutes total search time. Some households may be sampled in the spring (March - May) for Ixodes spp. nymphs. Ticks will be grouped by the city they are collected for disease testing, so individual property results will not be available.
Goal #2: Assess the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of residents regarding tick bite prevention and tick mitigation practices.
An online survey will be made available to the entirety of San Mateo County assessing knowledge, attitudes, and practices about tick-bite prevention and tick mitigation in backyards; the survey will also include questions to help us understand how participants' careers, recreational activities, and activities affect knowledge, attitudes, and practices surrounding tick-bite prevention.. The survey will be advertised through multiple online applications such as the District website, newsletters, and social media platforms. The survey methods and questions have been reviewed by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) and determined to be exempt from CPHS review (Project number 2021-220).
Page last reviewed: November 9, 2022