Lyme disease is a multi-system illness caused by B. burgdorferi, a bacterium transmitted by certain species of ticks, specifically the blacklegged tick. A typical sign of Lyme disease is an expanding rash usually within 7-14 days post infection that can persist for up to 8 weeks. Other symptoms of the disease include low-grade fever, fatigue, headache and joint pain. (www.phac.aspc.gc.ca)
LYME DISEASE IN ONTARIO
Lyme endemic areas include Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, Turkey Point Provincial Park, Long Point Peninsula, Wainfleet Bog near Welland on the Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward Point, and parts of the Thousand Islands National Park.
Lyme risk areas are locations around Kingston and along the Saint Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec that extend northeast toward Ottawa. Risk areas have also been identified in Western Ontario in the region of Lake of the Woods and at Pinery Park.
PREVENTING TICK BITES
- Avoid Direct Contact With Ticks
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter
- Walk in the centre of trails
- Repel Ticks With DEET
- Use repellents that contain 20-30 % DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours.
- Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply product to their children.
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin surface.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin.
- After removing the tick thoroughly, clean the bite area and your hands.
- Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your finger. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015)