SUDBURY – One blacklegged tick that was found in Greater Sudbury has tested positive for the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. This is the first positive tick reported in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) service area this year.
PHSD is reminding everyone of the importance of taking precautions to protect themselves and those in their care. For example: avoid walking in tall grass and make sure yards are kept clear of debris and overgrown vegetation, grass, bushes, and trees; keep wood piles and bird feeders away from homes; wear a long-sleeved, light-coloured shirt, pants and closed-toe shoes; use insect repellants that are federally regulated and contain DEET, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for their safe use; check your clothing, body, and pets for ticks and change your clothing upon returning home from the outdoors; take a shower to help wash off ticks that have not yet attached themselves to the skin.
The health unit explains that if someone finds a tick embedded in their skin, use tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. It is recommended using a fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick close to the skin and gently pull straight up. Next you should wash the area with soap and water. Then put the tick in a dry container and bring it to your local public health unit to be sent for identification and testing for Lyme disease.
As well, you should follow up with your health care provider to determine if you need treatment, especially if the tick has been attached for more than 24 hours.
One of the typical signs of Lyme disease is a rash that looks like a bull’s eye; the bite area is surrounded by a round, red rash. Other symptoms of the disease can include fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious problems to the heart, joints, and nervous system. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
For more information on Lyme disease and ticks, call Public Health Sudbury and Districts at 705-522-9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200) or visit www.phsd.ca.