Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The ticks of our lives

Dr. Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada who specializes in zoonotic diseases, says the populations of the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease (sometimes called the deer tick) are growing. 
[Marlene's note: Full article is HERE but the link they have to his video doesn't work any more. The link below gives the text of his video interview, though.]

Lindsay says it appears that while ticks are spreading, the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi is still low. In some areas of Canada between 10 and 50 percent of blacklegged ticks are now carrying Lyme bacteria. Read more

Talking to Wendy from Kingston about all the exciting things happening on the Lyme front. For instance, there is a newly created National Lyme and Associated Diseases group in Canada! The domain name has been registered, but the website isn't up yet. Soon, though, soon. 

However, that's not what this blog post is about. Wendy, who has been sick with Lyme disease for 17 years, has been checking outside her house for ticks. Today she dragged a white cloth outside for just ten minutes .... and this is the "harvest" she collected below! 

She has the fabric inside double ziplock bags to be sure they can't escape. Within minutes the ticks started mating inside the baggies! Clearly nothing puts them off and nothing stresses them. 

Wendy took a picture with a Canadian coin (small 10c) to show how tiny the ticks are. And these are adults - you can at least see them where the nymphs are so tiny that they are hard to spot. 

This is scary stuff. These ticks were found in a residential area, in a back yard of an ordinary house.

But, just to freak out some people --- below is a picture I took in 1996 when we were still living in South Africa. The hand belongs to my then 6 year old son, Theo. We were walking around the school area where they had some of the typical large tortoises. The ones around there were around 50 pounds in weight or so and can live for 100 years or longer. Ticks love to bite them. They hide themselves in the neck fold, where the poor tortoises can't reach to get them off. The ticks drink their fill and then drop off the host. This is what Theo picked up - a resting tick, waiting to digest his meal before finding another host. 

What do you think of that size tick then?

NEWS: On Thursday, I have to delegate to the Regional Councillors about Lyme disease. Hope to update as soon as it is done. 


FiOnion said...

Can I go down to the vlei and pick up some SA ticks that I can mail to you? That'll scare the Canadian little f*ckers to death when they see hoe moerse groot is daai Suid-Afrikaanse bosluise! They'll run around biting each other to get cases of Double-Lyme Disease so they vrek from it before they can bite people.

[TRANSLATION: Can I go down to the marsh and pick up some South African ticks that I can mail to you? That'll scare the Canadian little f*ckers to death when they see how bloody huge the South African ticks are! They'll run around biting each other to get cases of Double-Lyme Disease so they expire from it before they can bite people.]

It's only me said...

hahahaha - good one!

LymeZoner said...

FiOnion and Meerkat...
I am still laughing!!!!!
You have great friends Meerkat...I am willing to introduce the ticks...and watch them get double LYME...watch out David Suzuki hahahah...
You really made my day :O)
I will have to watch out for any mating...we would have an international incident!! (hmmm hopefully this is not possible...the mating I mean..hehehehe..
Waving to FiOnion in SA...so nice to meet you!

Wendy Yaxley Aitken

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