Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has confirmed a case of Lyme disease in an adult from the Sudbury East area.
In a press release issued on Monday, the PHSD revealed that it had received laboratory results verifying the positive test for the disease.
Although reports of locally acquired Lyme disease are uncommon, the PHSD is warning residents to take precautions when outdoors.
“People enjoying the outdoors need to check for ticks immediately after activities like gardening or hiking. This is one of the simplest ways you can protect yourself from Lyme disease,” Ashley DeRocchis, an environmental support officer with Public Health Sudbury & Districts, said in the release.
Lyme disease is typically transmitted by blacklegged ticks carrying the bacterial infection.
These ticks have been previously identified in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts, but they are more commonly found in rural regions along the northern shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, the St. Lawrence River, as well as the Rainy River area of northwestern Ontario.
These ticks neither jump nor fly. Instead, they wait on grass and bushes for animals or humans to brush against the vegetation.
In addition, they vary in size and colour, making them hard to detect until they become engorged with blood.
To prevent tick bites, the PHSD has provided the following recommendations:
- Avoid walking in tall grass.
- Maintain clear yards by removing debris and overgrown vegetation, including grass, bushes, and trees.
- Keep woodpiles and bird feeders away from residences.
- Wear long-sleeved, light-colored clothing, pants, and closed-toe shoes.
- Utilize insect repellents approved by Health Canada and follow the application instructions on the packaging.
- Perform a thorough tick check.
- Shower after outdoor activities to wash off ticks that haven’t yet attached to the skin.
If a tick is discovered attached to an individual:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and gently pull upward.
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Place the tick in a dry container and bring it to your local public health unit for identification and Lyme disease testing.
- Consult your healthcare provider to determine if treatment is necessary, especially if the tick has been attached for more than 24 hours, as Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to severe complications affecting the heart, joints, and nervous system.
If bitten by a tick, signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include a characteristic rash around the area of the bite that looks like a red bull’s eye, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, stiff neck, and swollen glands.
The health unit is asking anyone concerned about Lyme disease and ticks to call PHSD at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 or visit www.phsd.ca.