The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is advising residents that blacklegged ticks, which can spread Lyme disease to humans, are being found in a growing number of locations across Cornwall and the five eastern counties.
In the EOHU’s jurisdiction, at least 20% of blacklegged ticks are carrying the Lyme bacteria, which is why the disease is now considered endemic (or established) in Cornwall and the five eastern counties. However, not all ticks in the area are blacklegged ticks.
Lyme disease is a serious illness that can cause the following symptoms, usually within 3 to 30 days after a tick bite:
- Muscle and joint pains
- Numbness or tingling
- Facial paralysis
- Swollen glands
- Expanding skin rash (although many people never get or see a rash)
The risk of Lyme disease transmission from a tick to a human is very low if the tick is attached for less than 24 hours. The risk of developing Lyme disease goes up if an infected tick is attached for over 24 hours. “It is important to contact your health care provider if you believe a tick was attached for more than 24 hours or if you develop flu-like symptoms or an expanding rash in the weeks following a tick bite” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “If Lyme infection is not recognized and treated, symptoms can last from months to years and include serious health problems affecting the heart, nervous system or joints”. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Ticks are most active in the summer months, but can be found any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing, usually in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes. To learn more about the presence of ticks across the five eastern counties and Ontario, check out the map of estimated risk areas for Lyme disease at www.eohu.ca/lyme.
There are measure you can take to discourage the presence of ticks around your home and to keep ticks off of you, your family and your pets. Check out www.eohu.ca/lyme to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from ticks and Lyme disease.
For more information about this press release, please contact Nicholas Fiscina at 613-933-1375 ext. 252.