Montreal Gazette

Lyme dis­ease cases jump, but in­fec­tion risk low here

- AARON DER­FEL Health · Montreal · Ontario · United States of America · Quebec · Lyme, NH · Laval · West Island

The num­ber of Montreal Is­land res­i­dents who were in­fected with Lyme dis­ease jumped by 84 per cent last year from 2016, say au­thor­i­ties who are brac­ing for an­other big in­crease in the in­ci­dence of the tick-borne ill­ness this sum­mer.

How­ever, of­fi­cials with the Montreal Pub­lic Health Depart­ment note that only two Mon­treal­ers ac­tu­ally con­tracted Lyme dis­ease on the is­land last year, with all the oth­ers having been bit­ten by a tick in other re­gions of the province, On­tario or the United States.

In fact, the risk of in­fec­tion in Montreal and Laval is con­sid­ered low to very low, ac­cord­ing to a map pub­lished by the In­sti­tut na­tional

de santé publique du Québec. The map sug­gests that the risk is the low­est on the West Is­land.

“Lyme dis­ease is some­thing that in­ter­ests us be­cause the por­trait of the dis­ease is changing,” said Dr. Cather­ine Ha­bel, of the pub­lic health depart­ment. “We’ve seen in­creases in the last few years. It’s an emerg­ing ill­ness in the con­text of cli­mate change.”

De­spite the ris­ing in­ci­dence, of­fi­cials want to re­as­sure Mon­treal­ers that they can still en­joy the out­doors — even hike in the woods — pro­vided that they fol­low some pre­cau­tions.

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