Point Edward, ON – Lambton Public Health is seeing an increase in the proportion of Blacklegged (Deer) ticks through surveillance activies. Currently, close to 40 percent of all ticks submitted and collected in 2014 have been identified as Blacklegged ticks. This is an increase from previous year's surveillance.
Blacklegged ticks are potential carriers of Lyme disease.
Active surveillance activites were recently conducted at Pinery Provincial Park and the presence of a Blacklegged tick population has been confirmed. The ticks collected at the park were sent for testing to determine if they were carriers of the Lyme disease bacteria. Results are pending.
Residents are encouraged to take precautions when visiting the area in and around the park and during any outdoor activities as the presence of Blacklegged ticks have also been confirmed sporadically in other areas of Lambton County.
"Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria," said Lori Lucas, supervisor with Lambton Public Health. "Even If the tick is positive, the risk of getting Lyme disease is low if it is removed before 24 hours."
Blacklegged ticks are most likely to transmit infection after being attached for more than 24 hours. Prompt detection and removal of ticks helps prevent Lyme disease. Symptoms usually occur within 1-2 weeks, but can occur as soon as three days, or as long as a month after a tick bite. Common symptoms include:
muscle and joint pains
red bull's eye skin rash
Long-term health risks include arthritic, cardiac and neurological complications.
Detected early, Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease does not spread person-to-person. Anyone who develops these symptoms after being bitten by a tick should see their health-care provider.
Adult blacklegged ticks are tiny, slow-moving bugs, about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks live in wooded areas and fields and attach when a person or animal brushes against plants, bushes or tall grass. Once attached, ticks feed on blood; most people will not feel the bite.
For protection against tick bites:
Be aware of tick habitat – tall grass, bushes and wooded areas. Stick to trails and avoid direct contact with plant growth.
Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt, socks, closed-toed shoes and a hat. Tuck shirt in pants, and pants in socks. Light colours make ticks easier to spot.
Apply an insect repellent containing DEET to clothing or skin. Follow label instructions.
Use a tick and flea collar for pets; check pets periodically. Pets can bring ticks inside.
After an outing, wash your clothes, have a shower and wash your hair. Do a "tick check" on yourself, your family and pets. Pay extra attention to scalp, groin and armpits.
If you find a tick, use tweezers to grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out using steady pressure. DO NOT twist, squeeze or burn the tick. Only ticks found on humans, or human-related cases, can be submitted to Lambton Public Health for identification and further testing.
The American dog tick is the most common tick in Lambton and is not a transmitter of Lyme disease. Dog ticks are larger in size, about the size of a pencil eraser.
For more information about ticks or Lyme disease call Lambton Public Health at 519-383-8331, toll free 1-800-667-1839 or visit www.lambtonhealth.on.ca.
For more information about Lambton County, visit www.lambtononline.ca.
Supervisor, Health Protection
County of Lambton
Telephone: 519-383-8331 ext. 3574