Lyme Disease on the rise in Newfoundland Labrador
Province recommends precautions against ticks
Two cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador this year. The black-legged tick, or deer tick, that carries the disease was found on two pet dogs this spring, and the province is encouraging residents to take precautions to prevent tick bites, which can lead to Lyme disease.
Although the province has lower rates of Lyme disease than the rest of Canada, the aberrant tick has recently invaded several sites in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and is steadily migrating to Newfoundland
Officials with the Department of Natural Resources have been collecting samples found on dogs and cats across the province to track the tick populations and determine risk of Lyme disease for many years.
In 2010, the population of ticks in the province increased.
This year, surveillance has been expanded to include the capture of migratory birds from the Burgeo area to determine if these birds are carrying ticks as they move north.
As more ticks migrate through the Mar- itime provinces, the chances of permanent populations becoming established in Newfound and Labrador increases, say officials.
While Lyme disease is rare in the province, the infection can lead to long-term medical problems if left untreated.
The disease starts when a tick finds a new animal or human host, and injects bacteria into their bodies as they feed. Flu-like symptoms begin 24-36 hours after the start of feeding, and produce flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, the illness can become very serious.
Dogs bitten by an infected tick are 50 per cent more likely to become affected than humans. A dog’s symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, loss of appetite, acute lameness and sore joints. The province recommends residents seek veterinary services if they find a tick on their pet.
The province also suggest that take precautions such as examining exposed skin areas after walking in the woods for ticks, wearing long pants and sleeves and wearing insect repellent which contains DEET.