Lyme disease cases jump, but infection risk low here
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.