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Tick bites should be seen ‘as a threat to health’

More than 100 people attending Quinte Conservation’s tick information night on Tuesday learned a bite should be seen as a serious threat to an individual’s health.

Tuesday at the organization’s head office in Belleville, Public Health Inspector Aptie Sookoo informed the public about the dangers associated with blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, and Lyme disease.

“A tick bite should not be seen as a casual occurrence, rather a serious threat to an individual’s health,” said Sookoo. “A tick bite does not necessarily guarantee that an individual will contract Lyme; however it does greatly increase their risk. Ticks should be removed and brought to a local health unit to assess their general threat to the public.”

Sookoo said ticks throughout Prince Edward and Hastings counties have tested positive for Lyme disease.

“So it is important that when enjoying the outdoors to not only wear long pants and long sleeved shirts, but also to check over your body for potential ticks after returning home.”

Ticks are generally are found in moist, hard-to-see areas such as armpits, behind the knees, hair and groin areas. Unlike most other bugs, ticks typically remain attached to your body long after having consumed their blood meal.

A tick surveillance program in Prince Edward County found endemic populations over a three-year study but was discontinued last spring by the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. Sookoo stated then that “continuing the program in PEC will not provide us with any new information about the established black legged tick populations.”

Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area has endemic tick populations.

In 2014, there were 101 submissions of ticks from the County and 25 were found to have the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria (species believed to cause Lyme disease).

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis said Tuesday he was pleased to see Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announce an investment of up to $4 million to establish a Lyme disease research network in Canada.

“Our government is addressing the emergence of Lyme disease through education and awareness, national surveillance, work with medical professionals and provincial laboratories and research.”

For more information on Lyme disease, visit canada.ca/lymedisease

 

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