The Regional Municipality of Durham


News Release

Health Department reminds the public to take precautions against Lyme Disease

WHITBY, ON September 07, 2016 - Durham Region Health Department is reminding the public to protect themselves against Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious bacterial illness that is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged tick or “deer” tick.

The Health Department has submitted 50 ticks to date this season, resulting in 26 identified as black-legged ticks with three testing positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

The Health Department has also received reports of 13 human cases of Lyme disease in Durham Region to date this season, which is an increase from the total of 11 human cases reported locally for 2015.

Although the risk of becoming infected with Lyme disease is still considered to be low, people can reduce the risk by taking precautions when visiting and enjoying outdoor activities, particularly in brushy or wooded areas, where ticks are found. Precautions include:

“A thorough check of your body and the quick removal of ticks from the skin will help prevent infection, as transmission of the Lyme disease causing bacteria usually requires the tick to be attached to the skin for at least 24 hours,” explained Ross MacEachern, Manager, Environmental Health with the Health Department. Ticks removed from skin can be submitted to the Health Department for identification and further testing, if applicable.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease usually occur within one to two weeks after a tick bite, but can be experienced as soon as three days or not happen for as long as a month. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and a red rash that often looks like a bull’s-eye target. If detected early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Anyone who develops these symptoms after being bitten by a tick should see their health care provider.

For more information on Lyme disease, please call the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613. Information can also be found at durham.ca/vectorbornediseases.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999, or glendene.collins@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.