A Lyme disease-positive tick has been identified by Peterborough Public Health.
“The public health lab confirmed this week that a tick submitted recently by a local resident tested positive for Lyme disease,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Environmental Health programs. “Ticks can be as small as a sesame seed and their bites are usually painless, so this serves as a good reminder to be on the lookout for ticks and to bring in any ticks you find on people to Peterborough Public Health for identification.”
The exact origin of the infected tick is not known, but it is believed to have come from either southern Peterborough County or northern Northumberland County. Peterborough Public Health says it is is closely monitoring for evidence of infected ticks in our area, and encourages residents to submit ticks. Only ticks found on humans can be submitted for identification and testing. Any ticks found on pets or other animals should be taken to a veterinarian.
Cases of Lyme disease are increasing in Ontario. According to Peterborough Public Health in 2016, residents submitted 114 ticks and three that tested positive for Lyme disease. One of those came from the local area. So far in 2017, 68 ticks have been submitted to Peterborough Public Health for examination, including the one that recently tested positive for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a potentially serious illness and growing health risk across Ontario. It is caused by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. While not all blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease, populations of infected blacklegged ticks are spreading throughout Ontario. Some areas close to the areas served by Peterborough Public Health, are already considered endemic with infected blacklegged ticks.
What to do if you find a tick:
If you do locate a tick on your body, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull the tick straight out. Save the tick in an empty screw-top bottle or zipper-closed bag and take it to Peterborough Public Health located at 185 King St., Peterborough. The tick will then be sent away to a public health laboratory for identification. A tick can be submitted to Peterborough Public Health Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
When submitting a tick you will need to provide the following information:
- Full name (including middle initial) and date of birth of the person to whom the tick was attached;
- Location on the body where the tick was found;
- Approximate length of time the tick was attached;
- Where the tick was acquired, along with recent travel history;
- Record of any symptoms; and
- Your healthcare provider’s name and city of practice.
Preventing tick bites:
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid getting bitten by ticks in areas where they live, such as tall grasses and wooded habitats. Before heading out, wear long, light-coloured clothing and tuck pant legs into socks. Spray an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes. Check for ticks when you return from the outdoors, and it’s a good idea to shower after to wash off any ticks that may be crawling on your body.
The signs of Lyme disease can be categorized in three stages. However, the first sign is usually a circular rash in the shape of a bull’s eye. Other additional symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.
For more details on precautions and symptoms of Lyme disease, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca click on “My Home & Environment” and go to “Lyme disease.”