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tdc's FarmGate
- Lyme Disease
in Eastern Ontario

All four stages of Ixodes scapularis, the black-legged or deer tick with dime for size comparison that can transmit Lyme
Disease. Adults ticks are 3 - 5 mm in length.

Info on Lyme Disease Testing

The rash in this picture is the typical bulls eye symptom of a tick bite that produces Lyme disease. It should be noted that there are tick bites that DO NOT produce such a rash.

See a Doctor immediately to get antibiotics 

The absence of a rash does not necessarily mean that you do not have Lyme disease. A blood test is necessary to determine whether or not you have Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease - it is spreading into Eastern Ontario and if you are exposing yourself while walking in the woods there is a small possibility that you will contract some or all symptoms of this disease.

Check out Ticks and Lyme Disease Present in 1000 Islands Area

What is Lyme Disease ?

It is an acute inflammatory disease characterized by a rash with joint swelling and fever; caused by bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick

Check out W5 Video about Lyme Disease

How do people get Lyme disease?

Ticks become infected with the Lyme disease bacterium by feeding on infected animals, such as mice, chipmunks, and other wild rodents. Lyme disease is passed to humans and other animals when a tick infected with the bacterium bites the person or animal and stays attached long enough (usually more than 36 hours) to take a blood meal.

The bacterium then lives in the gut of the tick. If you are the tick's next meal after it's ingested infected blood, you could show symptoms in three to 30 days.

Most cases are reported in late spring and summer, when the young ticks are most active and people are outdoors more often. Ticks often feed on deer but don't infect them very often. Deer are important to the tick population because they provide them with a lot of food — and a mode of transportation over long distances, which is important in maintaining the tick population.

The tick that spreads Lyme disease has a 2-year life cycle, and feeds once in each of its three life stages -- larvae, nymph, and adult. In the tick's larvae stage, it is tan, the size of a pinhead, and feeds on small animals like mice. During the nymph stage, the tick is the size of a poppy seed, beige or partially transparent, and feeds on larger animals such as cats, dogs, and humans. Adult ticks are black and/or reddish and feed on large mammals such as deer, dogs, and humans.

Ticks get infected when they feed on mice, squirrels, birds and other small animals that can carry the bacterium. Ticks then spread the bacterium to humans. Two types of ticks are responsible: the western blacklegged tick in British Columbia and the blacklegged tick, sometimes called the deer tick, in other parts of Canada. People can’t spread Lyme disease to each other. Although dogs and cats can contract Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they can spread the infection to people. Pets can, however, carry infected ticks into homes and yards. Hunters may be at greater risk, because they spend more time in woodland and brush areas where ticks tend to live. However, Lyme disease cannot be contracted from eating deer.

What are ticks?

Though closely related to insects, ticks are actually a type of mite. Ticks vary in size and colour; blacklegged ticks are very small. Before feeding, adult females are approximately 3-5 mm in length and red and dark brown in colour. Ticks feed on blood by attaching to animals or people with their mouth parts. Females are a little larger than males and when they’re full of blood can be as big as a grape. Younger tick life stages are smaller and, when unfed, are lighter in colour. People and pets can pick up ticks by brushing against vegetation.

There are established populations of the tick that transmits Lyme disease in Canada. Though western blacklegged ticks are widely distributed in British Columbia, populations are largest in the lower mainland, on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Established populations of blacklegged ticks, on the other hand, have been found in southeastern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, southeastern Manitoba and parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Blacklegged ticks can be found in many areas of Canada, even where tick populations have not been identified, These ticks are introduced into these areas by migratory birds. About 10 percent of these ticks are infected with the Lyme disease bacterium. So, while it is possible to be bitten by an infected tick almost anywhere in Canada, the chances of this happening in places where tick populations are not established is very low.

Health Canada estimates that about 10 per cent of blacklegged ticks in any infected area carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in humans?

The symptoms of Lyme disease usually happen in three stages, although not all patients have every symptom. The first sign of infection is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans or EM. This rash occurs in about 70-80 percent of infected people. It begins at the site of the tick bite after a delay of three days to one month. Other common symptoms include

fatigue
chills
fever
headache
muscle and joint pain
swollen lymph nodes.
If untreated, the second stage of the disease can last up to several months and include

central and peripheral nervous system disorders
multiple skin rashes
arthritis and arthritic symptoms
heart palpitations
extreme fatigue and general weakness
If the disease remains untreated, the third stage can last months to years with symptoms that can include recurring arthritis and neurological problems.

Fatalities from Lyme disease are rare.

Lyme Disease Testing

Blood tests to support a diagnosis of Lyme disease are performed at the Ontario Public Health Laboratory. The diagnostic tests that are used are approved by federal regulators in Health Canada. The testing protocol follows the recommendations of the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA. The CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada caution health care professionals and the public regarding the use of private laboratories offering Lyme disease testing in the USA, as these “for-profit” laboratories may not follow the same testing protocols as most Canadian provincial and federal or United States federal or state laboratories. For more information on this, please see the following link:
http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5405a6.htm

What treatments are available for Lyme Disease for Humans?

Lyme disease is treatable at all stages, with either oral or intravenous antibiotics. There is some complexity in the treatment decisions, and these differ somewhat for children and adults. There have been few randomized clinical trials of treatment, so optimal choice of antibiotic or optimal duration of treatment are not known. In general, early Lyme disease in adults is treated with doxycycline 100 mg orally twice daily or amoxicillin 500 mg orally three times daily for 20 to 30 days. Doxycycline should not be used in children under age nine years or pregnant women. Other antibiotic choices include phenoxymethyl penicillin, tetracycline, cefuroxime axetil, erythromycin, or azithromycin, with the latter two considered to be second line choices.

What should I do if I find a tick?

If the tick is embedded in your skin, using tweezers, carefully remove it without detaching its mouth. It's virtually impossible to identify species of ticks without the mouth part. Health Canada labs will not analyze ticks if they are missing the mouth.

There is a tool available from most pet stores and veternarians which has a little hook that is used to twist the head of the tick before removal.  If you live in an area where there are ticks, get one of these tools and keep them around so that you can remove ticks on yourself, kids and animals.

"If you can't remove it, - see your family physician."

A School Nurse has written the info below--good enough to share--and it really works!

"I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a tick. This is great because it works in  those places where it's sometimes difficult to get to withtweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc."

"Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.


This technique has worked every time I've used it  (and that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic
for the patient and easier for me.."

"Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor's  wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say,

"It worked!"

Please pass on. Everyone needs this helpful hint

Do ticks tend to seek out specific areas of the body?
Blacklegged ticks need about 48 hours for a proper feeding. They tend to seek out more secluded parts of your body, like "behind the knees and points further north."

Despite the risk, there's absolutely no reason you should avoid the woods or stay away from trails.

"When you come in, just wipe yourself off and take a gander, see if there's anything moving."

What other steps can I take to minimize the risk?

Tick Preventive

There are several steps you can take to make sure your yard does not become a haven for ticks that might be able to infect you with Lyme disease.

Keep grass on your property well cut to reduce the amount of habitat suitable for ticks.
Remove leaves and brush around your house and at the edges of lawns.
Create a barrier of wood chips between lawns and wooded areas to restrict the migration of ticks.
     Ticks love cool, damp areas. They hate hot, dry places.
Check your pets regularly for ticks.
Keep the ground around bird feeders clean.
Stack wood neatly and in dry areas.
Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from the edge of your yard
      and away from trees.
Discourage deer: if they come on your property, don't feed them.
     Construct barriers to prevent them from coming on to your property.

What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs?

•Because the borrelia burgdorferi organism is well-suited to live in the canine body, a majority of dogs host the bacteria without ever actually getting sick. Dogs with an active lyme disease infection often don't show any symptoms for two to five months after being bit from an infected tick. The most typical symptoms of lyme disease in dogs include swollen joints and arthritis, sudden lameness and swollen lymph nodes.

Other common symptoms are lethargy, appetite loss, depression and a fever that runs between 103 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Uncommon Symptoms
An untreated lyme disease infection can cause severe progressive kidney disease, which is a type of kidney failure that is difficult to treat and frequently results in death. Lyme disease also can affect the cardiovascular system in dogs and cause serious heart problems. Some dogs suffering from a lyme disease infection will develop nervous system issues. Neurological and heart problems are rare, however, because dogs with the infection typically respond quickly to the proper antibiotic treatment.

Long-Term Effects
The most serious long-term effect of Lyme disease is known as "glomerular disease." This disease is a type of kidney damage that occurs when the dog's immune system is forced to be constantly active while trying to remove the borrelia burgdorferi. A dog with an active lyme disease infection should undergo routine urinalysis to check for significant protein loss. Dogs suffering from glomerular disease typically take a special kidney disease medication prescribed by a vet.

Important Events

May is huge for Lyme disease - there are about 30 countries participating in the Worldwide Lyme Awareness Rally. 

1.  The Toronto CN Tower will be lit May 11th - green, of course, for Lyme awareness. 

2.  There is a LymeSavers Walk in Whitby the same day to raise money to help Lyme patients. See
www.lymesavers.ca.
 
3.  Ottawa, ON, May 11 – Dusk to dawn, The Heritage Building, on Elgin St. between Laurier and Lisgar in Join the Capital Region Lyme Disease Support Group. From dusk to dawn, the Heritage Building will be lit up with green lights, and we will be there to distribute information on Lyme Disease.

 
4.  Mon. May 13 – 7-10pm, Saint John Lutheran Church, 270 Crichton St., Ottawa, --  info session given by Lyme Disease expert, Dr. Murakami, B.C. physician and Lyme disease hero!      Donations are appreciated to help cover Dr. M's travel expenses.
 
4.  May 17th - Niagara Falls and the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie will be lit in green for Lyme Awareness.
 
5.  The next day is the 2nd Annual Brampton Lyme Walk.
 
6.  Fri. May 24, 7-9:30pm, The Rama Lotus Yoga Centre, 342 Gladstone Ave., Ottawa, FREE – session and movie screening. The info session will be led by Ottawa Naturopath, Dr. Marie Matheson ND, followed by a screening of the award-winning documentary “Under Our Skin”. 
 
See www.CanLyme.com  for more events for May re Worldwide Lyme Awareness Events.

Our thanks  to Linda Kelso who is a facilitator for York North Lyme Support Group for this information

Other Information Links

Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease
Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8 PM on CBC-TV

Lyme Disease Information Session – Monday, June 3rd
Roebuck United Church - (7025 County Road 21)  6:30p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

An 'unheard' trouble that spread

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

Dr. E. Murakami Centre for Lyme Research, Education & Assistance Society

N.J. Woman Becomes First In U.S. Diagnosed With New Deer Tick Disease

Lyme disease ticks likely breeding in Ottawa

Lyme disease patient needs U.S. treatment

The Tick Key by Lea Valley Tools

Canada Bill C 442

"Under Our Skin" - An infectious movie about Lyme disease

Tick Removal Tool

Purchase the Movie - " Under Our Skin "

 
 

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