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
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.
Chris Gravel is a lawyer presently working for the Canadian Federal
government who lives in the 1000 Islands region of Eastern Ontario.
She has Lyme Disease and
tells her story on YouTube to Joe Lor editor of tdc's FarmGate.
For 6 years she has been treated for Lyme disease. The 16 minute
interview was recorded in January 2015. Chris is interviewed by Joe
Lor editor of tdc's Farmgate about some of her aspects of her disease
and what she believes needs to be done to combat the 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
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
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
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
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:
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
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,
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?
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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”.