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Ticks endemic in County, surveillance program to end

A tick surveillance program in Prince Edward County has found endemic populations over a three-year study but will be discontinued this spring.

Public Health Inspector Aptie Sookoo is scheduled to give an update at Wedneday’s board meeting of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health in Belleville.

“Continuing the program in PEC will not provide us with any new information about the established blacklegged tick populatons within that geographic location,” states Sookoo in a presentation scheduled for the board.

While there are established Black Legged tick populations in the County, Prince Edward Point National Wildlife area has endemic tick populations. Sookoo’s presentation notes a highly significant percentage of all ticks submitted annually from the County have repeatedly been identified as Black Legged, or Ixodes Scapularis.

The study, 2013-2015, examined ticks that were removed from people and brought into health unit offices and from capturing ticks in their habitat.

Tick collection and Borrelia Burgdorferi DNA testing were used for surveillance and research purposes, not as diagnostic tools. Borrelia Burgdorferi is a bacterial species believed to cause Lyme disease in North America. In the County in 2012, 14 per cent were positive; in 2013 11 per cent; 2014 26 per cent and in 2015, 31 per cent.


In 2014 there were 101 submissions of ticks from Prince Edward County, 98 were Black Legged ticks, three were others. Twenty-five, or 26 per cent were found to have the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria.

tick-info-health-unit-28There were 29 submissions from Quinte West; 19 from Belleville (two with the bacteria); seven from Tweed; five from Centre Hastings and Tyendinaga and Deseronto; four from Stirling Rawdon and two from Bancroft.

In 2013 there were 70 submissions of Black Legged ticks from Prince Edward County; 15 from Quinte West; seven from Centre Hastings; six from Bancroft and Belleville; five from Tyendinaga and Deseronto and four from Stirling Rawdon.

In the County, 11, or 16 per cent were positive for the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria. One per cent positives were found in Belleville, Centre Hastings and Stirling Rawdon.

Sookoo’s presentation notes 20 per cent positive ticks is “a critical threshold level at which there is scientific and expert justification in discontinuing the program.” Surveillance will continue in all the other communities.

Sookoo notes people should not be afraid of ticks but should “enjoy the outdoors, be vigilant and protect yourself and family.”

Sookoo provdes this link to test your Lyme disease knowledge:

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