Be cautious about Lyme disease: Ministry

18 May, 2019, 04:15 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • A blacklegged tick found at Morningside Park in Scarborough on Thursday

Huron County Public Health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from ticks and mosquitos.

"The overall risk of acquiring Lyme disease in Toronto is considered relatively low but it is increased if you are doing activities in wooded and bushy areas in eastern parts of Toronto such as around the Rouge Valley", she said.

Lyme disease is a serious infection that comes from being bitten by an infected blacklegged tick (also called a deer tick), they noted.

"Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of black-legged ticks found due to dragging and this increase is mostly like due to climate change".

"These include wooded areas, tall or unkempt grass, areas covered in brush and piles of leaf litter".

Most people who report contracting Lyme Disease to Toronto Public Health came into contact with ticks in other areas of the provinces, but there are established populations in the city, Navarro said. "The most effective way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites".

They'll often climb to a warm place like an underarm, the groin or hairline to start feeding on blood, she said.

The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predict there will be 329,000 reported new cases of Lyme disease this year, making it one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United States and Western Europe.

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Toronto Public Health has posted signs in areas where there is a known black legged tick population to advise residents of precautions that can be taken to avoid the transmission of Lyme disease. Ticks are not usually found on well-kept lawns, sports fields or paved roads.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health urges people to take precautions when outside.

Symptoms of the infectious disease can include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and a circular, bull's eye rash. In some cases, however, symptoms can appear as soon as three days or as long as a month.

Treatment: Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics, especially if tick was on body 24 hours or more.

Using insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin, which should be applied to clothes as well as skin.

Researchers at the University of Guelph are trying to develop a better way for an early diagnosis of the disease.

"If you find blacklegged ticks on your body, remove them as soon as possible with tweezers and clean the area with soap and water".

After care: Check yourself, your children and pets for ticks right after possible exposure to ticks, shower when you get home. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or the Huron County Health Unit for identification and testing if needed.

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