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Beware of ticks and Lyme disease, Health Unit cautions

SIMCOE, ON, AUG. 3, 2007 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is urging area residents to beware of ticks that could carry Lyme disease.

“A lot of people are out and about these days and ticks are definitely active in warm weather,” cautioned Public Health Inspector Gary Nedlkou.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of a Deer Tick, which is orange to brown in colour with a black spot near its head.
“The Wood Tick and Dog Tick are unlikely to transmit Lyme disease,” Nedlkou explained. “They are more of a brown colour with a white spot near the head.”

Ticks were found initially along the northern shore of Lake Erie, particularly Long Point and Turkey Point and are now spreading to other parts of the province. Ticks prefer wooded areas, marshlands and tall grasslands and can be found on birds, mice, raccoons, deer and other species. Domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cows can also carry the tick if they have been in tick-infested areas.

“Symptoms of Lyme disease typically include a ring-shaped rash that usually appears within four to 20 days of a bite,” Nedlkou said. “However, sometimes the rash does not appear. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, joint stiffness and fatigue. Symptoms can mimic that of arthritis. In rare cases, there may be no symptoms.”

If you have been bitten by a Deer Tick or suspect you have been bitten, see your doctor.

To protect yourself from ticks, wear light-coloured clothing, pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck pants into your socks and use repellent containing DEET.

“It is important to brush off your body and your pet before going back in the house and to inspect your body for ticks.” Nedlkou said. “For safe removal of ticks, use good tweezers, grasp the tick by its head close to your skin and pull straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick out, as this may cause its mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin.”

For more information on safe removal, you may call the Health Unit at 905-318-5367 or 519-426-6170 and ask for a Public Health Inspector. Ticks may also be taken to the Health Unit for identification.

Media Contact:
Gary Nedlkou, Public Health Inspector
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
905-318-5367 Ext. 303