Chomel and graduate student Chao-Chin Chang, working with colleagues from the Santa Clara County Department of Health Services, collected ticks and tested them for Bartonella DNA. Almost 20 percent of the ticks collected were infected with Bartonella species found in cats, dogs, cattle and other animals.
Although there is no clear evidence that humans can develop the disease from tick bites, there were some reported cases of cat scratch disease where the only risk factor was a tick bite, said Chomel.
More research is needed to find out the role of ticks and other animals in transmitting these bacteria between animals and to humans, Chomel said.
The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
MATH PROFESSOR WINS GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIP
Art Krener, professor of mathematics at the University of California, Davis, has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for his work on "Normal forms and bifurcation of control systems." Control systems are widespread in the modern world, for example allowing us to steer cars, fly airplanes, and run factory assembly lines. Bifurcations are "forks in the road" where a system suddenly changes from one state to another, such as an engine stalling when the fuel supply is reduced.
"Art is one of the giants of the field," said Alan Laub, former dean of engineering at UC Davis. Krener's groundbreaking research had brought this technology to the point where it could be used by design engineers, Laub said.