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tick 560Public Health Ontario photo

The Grey Bruce Health Unit has published its mid-season Tick Surveillance Map showing the distribution of Blacklegged ticks throughout Grey Bruce. Based on data from ticks submitted from humans and participating veterinary clinics, the map illustrates the widespread distribution of Blacklegged ticks throughout Grey Bruce. Blacklegged ticks are the known carrier of Lyme disease in Ontario.

Of the 112 ticks submitted to the Grey Bruce Health Unit for identification, 55 (49.1%) were identified as Blacklegged. At the time of this report, none of these ticks had been found to be positive for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and no human cases of Lyme disease had been reported. However, the widespread distribution of Blacklegged ticks means there exists a significant risk of exposure to Lyme disease in Grey Bruce. Note too that the absence of ticks at specific locations on the map does not necessarily mean they are truly absent there. Ticks may not have been submitted for identification from those sites.

The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites:

• Wear light coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants to spot ticks more easily

• Tuck your shirt into your pants and pull your socks over your pant legs

• Use bug spray containing DEET or Icaridin on your skin and clothing (always follow the directions on the label)

• Walk on cleared paths or walkways

• Following outdoor activity, do a full-body check for ticks on yourself and your children.

If you find an attached tick, remove it with tweezers immediately. Removing it within 24 to 36 hours can help prevent infection.

Tick surveillance 560