Tick Surveillance


How to Interpret Tick Surveillance Data

The District currently tests for several tick-borne diseases., including Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, and Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes a similar, less-common tick-borne disease.

The results of these tests are reported as the minimum infection rate, or MIR. This is a way of describing the proportion of ticks tested that are infected with a particular pathogen. The table shows the MIR for Borrelia burgdorferi, the MIR for Borrelia miyamotoi, and the total MIR for Borrelia bacteria. These are reported for each park surveyed (with the exception of parks where there were not enough ticks collected to complete testing), and for the parks as a whole.

A MIR of 2-3% is considered normal for our county, and does not indicate an elevated level of risk.

For more information on how the District collects ticks for disease surveillance, visit the Tick Control and Monitoring page.


Tick-Borne Disease
Water-Year 2016-2017 Surveillance Results

From January to April of 2017, laboratory staff from the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District collected ticks from 15 different parks and open spaces around the county.  Ticks were tested for three different disease-causing bacteria using the districts quantitative PCR machine.  Results displayed on the graph are Minimum Infection Rates (MIR).   MIR is an estimated percentage of infected ticks that used when ticks are pooled together before testing to save time and cost.  The following pathogens were tested for in the 2017 tick-born disease surveill

Post Theresa Shelton

Tick Surveillance
2016-2017 Winter Season

The District laboratory is taking advantage of breaks in rainy weather to collect ticks from parks and open space areas in San Mateo County.   Ticks are collected by dragging a tick flag – a large white piece of flannel attached to a wooden rod – over the vegetation alongside trails.  The main target species of tick is Ixodes pacificus, the western black-legged tick, which vectors Lyme disease, Borrelia miyamotoi infection, and anaplasmosis.  The ticks collected will be tested for the presence of bacteria that cause these diseases.  The Ixodes pacificus ticks are in


Tick Testing Results
2015-2016 water year, San Mateo County

Tick testing is completed for the 2015-2016 season.  Staff flagged for ticks at fifteen parks this season, although only 10 parks had sufficient numbers for estimating infection prevalence.  Ticks were tested for the presence of two disease-causing bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme Disease and Borrelia miyamotoi which causes a relapsing fever type illness.  As seen in the table below, infection prevalence of either of the two Borrelia ranged from 2.6% to 0%, and was highest at Thornewood Open Space Preserve near Woodside.

General information

Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance Data 2014-2015

Please see the attached spreadsheet for the latest tick-borne disease surveillance data for 2014-2015.

The MIR with Borellia bacteria for Ixodes pacificus (western black legged tick) in parks in San Mateo County was 1.49%. A MIR of 2-3% is considered normal for our county, and does not indicate an elevated level of risk.