Visit the Ottawa Public Health website for further information. The information below was obtained from the OPH website on June 7, 2017
Lyme disease is an important health concern in many parts of Canada and is spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Most people are infected with Lyme disease through the bite of an immature tick called a nymph.
The blacklegged tick that carries the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease is present in the Ottawa area, across Eastern Ontario, and the Outaouais region of Quebec. Ottawa is now considered an at-risk area for Lyme disease.
Populations of blacklegged ticks are growing and expanding into new areas. This means that the risk of contracting Lyme disease is on the rise across Canada. Though ticks can be found almost anywhere outdoors, they are often found in tall grasses, bushes wooded and forested areas.
Ottawa Public Health recommends practicing these simple steps to help minimize exposure to ticks, and help you enjoy the outdoors safely:
Blacklegged ticks are very small and not easy to see which is why you should perform a full body check on yourself, your children and your pets after being outdoors. The sooner ticks are removed from the body the less likely they are to spread Lyme disease.
If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible. The risk of getting Lyme disease increases with the length of time the tick remains attached to your body.
Since Ottawa is now considered an at-risk area for Lyme disease, it is important to contact your doctor if you believe a tick has been attached to you for 24 or more hours, or if you are unsure how long the tick has been attached to you, so that your doctor can determine if you need treatment with antibiotics. Treatment with antibiotics would be considered when:
If the tick was attached for less than 24 hours and its body does not appear swollen from feeding or if you removed a tick and more than 72 hours have passed, you should still be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease for the next 30 days. If you do develop symptoms, consult your health care provider.