New Lyme disease case confirmed
Testing suggests one-third of all deer ticks in the local area carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
In a news release, the HaldimandNorfolk Health Unit said it collected 72 deer ticks in Haldimand and Norfolk during its surveillance program this summer.
A total of 24 of these tested positive for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
The health unit also announced this week it recently confirmed one new case of Lyme disease in the local area.
“Adult deer ticks, which are the known transmitters of Lyme disease, are most active in the spring and fall,” Stephanie Pongracz, the health unit’s manager of health protection, said in the release. “They are found in outdoor areas with woods, shrubs, weeds, and tall grasses.
“This fall, health unit staff will return to areas where they previously found deer ticks in the spring. In active tick surveillance, if deer ticks are found in the same location in the spring and fall, the area is confirmed as a ‘risk area’ and mapped for public and healthcare provider reference. Accuracy is key because this mapping can be used when diagnosing Lyme disease.”
Lyme disease develops slowly and can be debilitating to the point of contributing to an early death.
The first symptom tends to be a tell-tale “bulls-eye” rash in the area of a tick bite. Persistent flulike symptoms ensue, including fever, joint pain, fatigue and headaches. Left untreated, Lyme bacteria will degrade vital organs such as the heart.
The health unit offers the following tips to avoid ticks:
• Stick to the middle of trails when walking through wooded areas.
• Wear closed-toe shoes, longsleeved shirts and pants.
• Pull your socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
• Wear light-coloured clothes to spot ticks easier.
• Use bug spray containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing..
• Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.
• Do daily full-body checks for ticks on yourself, your children and your pets.
• Consult a vet about tick-preventative treatments for your pet(s).
• Remove leaf litter and other tick habitat from around your home. The latter include wood piles and cluttered sheds.
• Place tables, swing sets and play equipment away from wooded areas, shrubs and overgrowth
The health unit would also like to remind the public that it will no longer accept tick submissions for testing at any of their offices in Simcoe, Caledonia, Dunnville, or Langton.
The public is encouraged to continue to bring attached ticks to their appointment with their health-care provider.
For more information on ticks and Lyme disease -- including personal protection measures, how to remove and identify a tick -- visit www. hnhu. org/ healthtopic/ lyme-disease .
For the Public Health Ontario map of risk areas, please visit https://www. public healthontario. ca/ en/ eRepository/ Lyme_ disease_ risk_ areas_ map. pdf