Prairie Post (West Edition)
Tick-related inquiries and Lyme Disease on the rise in Canada
With summer fast approaching and people spending more time outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Abell Pest Control sees an increase in tick activity across the country and the potential for an increase in the spread of Lyme disease.
“We are seeing a record number of tick inquiries coming into Abell over the past year,” said John Abell, President, Abell Pest Control. “The number of tick calls has increased by more than 1000% and we want people to take extra precautions in parks and wooded areas to protect themselves from ticks and reduce the transmission of Lyme disease.”
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month in Canada. Lyme disease is spread through the bite of infected ticks and is becoming more common in Canada. Since 2009, reported cases of Lyme disease in Canada have increased 14-fold according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Several provinces are considered hotspots including Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
“The best prognosis for Lyme disease is achieved when it is diagnosed and treated early, but many people don’t recall a tick bite and may be unaware of their risk. Prevention is the best strategy to avoid Lyme and its potentially serious complications, including those affecting the heart and nervous system.” Dr. Melanie Wills, Director, G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab, University of Guelph.
Lyme Disease Statistics
Lyme is the most prevalent vector-borne infection in the northern hemisphere
• Ticks carrying the Lyme bacteria can live in urbanized landscapes including parks, playgrounds, and residential areas
• Lyme can initially present like flu with headache, joint and muscle pain • Only an estimated 9% of people develop a classic “bull’s eye” rash at the tick bite site
While tick populations tend to gravitate to wooded or bushy areas with tall grasses, they are also found around homes in shrubs or leaf piles around the house and parks and trails.
Reduce your chance of being bitten by wearing protective clothing to prevent ticks from attaching to your skin. Wear closed-toed shoes, long sleeve shirts that fit tightly around the wrist, and longlegged pants tucked into your socks or boots. When out hiking or walking, try and stay in the centre of the trail. Wear light-coloured clothes to make spotting ticks easier. Always use insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing, And when you return home put clothes immediately in the dryer on high heat to help kill any ticks that may remain.
The G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab brings together leading scientists with the goal of combating Lyme and related diseases. Abell Pest Control has established a scholarship in Lyme Disease research. For more information on their work, or to donate, visit: gmagnottafoundation.com.