This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 3:11 PM
Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria that can spread to humans through the bite of an infected tick.
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease. In Ontario, the tick that is known to transmit Lyme disease is the Blacklegged (Deer) tick.
In Ontario, known endemic areas for Lyme disease are: Point Pelee National Park; Rondeau and Turkey Point provincial parks; Long Point peninsula, including Long Point Provincial Park and the national wildlife area; Wainfleet bog near Welland on the Niagara peninsula; Prince Edward Point; and parts of the Thousand Islands National Park.
In Ontario, risk areas for encountering a Blacklegged Tick include: locations around Kingston; along the St. Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec and northeast towards Ottawa; western Ontario in the region of Lake of the Woods; Pinery Park on the shore of Lake Huron; and Rouge Valley region of eastern Toronto.
Not all tick bites will result in disease and the symptoms and health effects caused by Lyme disease can vary for each person. The most common symptom is a red bull’s-eye rash that appears at the site of the tick bite between 3 and 30 days after the bite (average 10 days).
Flu-like symptoms can also develop, such as:
The later stages of Lyme disease can include:
These symptoms can occur weeks, months or even years after the initial symptoms have cleared.
If you have been bitten by a tick and develop the symptoms mentioned, contact your doctor immediately.
If detected early, Lyme disease can usually be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease that goes undetected can develop into a serious, chronic infection that is more difficult to treat.
Ticks are very small. They vary in size and colour depending on their age and whether they have been feeding. Ticks must feed on blood from an animal or person to live. They feed by inserting their mouth into the skin of a person or animal.
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease. The American dog tick, which is the most common tick found in Lambton County, does not carry Lyme disease. The blacklegged tick, which is not commonly found in Lambton, can spread the Lyme disease bacteria to humans.
Image courtesy of Public Health Agency of Canada
When entering areas with tall grass, bushes and wooded areas where ticks live, take the following precautions:
Remove any ticks that you find on the skin or clothing promptly. Ticks are most likely to spread the bacteria after being attached to your skin and feeding for more than 24 hours.
Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Save the tick alive in a jar, screw-top bottle or doubled zip-lock bag. Bring it to Lambton Public Health for identification.
Please note: only Blacklegged ticks found on humans or human related cases will be submitted for identification as of April 2016.
For more information contact Lambton Public Health 519-383-8331 or toll free at 1-800-667-1839.