Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tick Tales
During the last two weeks, I've had several people emailing or talking at various meetings about finding ticks on themselves, their children or their pets. The last three events were in the Kawartha Lakes area (found a tick in a child's ear), in the Font Hill area (ticks on teenagers) and in the St. Catharines area (ticks on an adult, twice in one week). Many were grateful for having had brochures or cards from various talks about Lyme Disease and able to take care of the problem. One woman was just walking in a Home Depot when she found a tick in her hair! Remember that ticks can be very small.
Picture from Public Health Agency of Canada
The picture above is from the PHAC website, where there is also an updated list and maps of known endemic areas. No longer is only Turkey Point mentioned in Ontario, for instance. Do stop by and take a look at THIS link and protect yourself and your family.

I'm really excited about the news following below, and which has now been made public!

NEW Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases

A new Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases (carried by ticks, mosquitoes, etc.) to support research, accurate testing and proper treatment of Lyme Disease has been founded in Canada. The foundation is partnering with the new Humber River Hospital in Toronto, opening in 2015, to develop a world-class facility in the country.

Rossana Magnotta, who worked hard to establish the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases, says: "It'll be the Mayo of Canada, when it comes to Lyme disease research. We're not out to panic people, just to spread awareness and get accurate testing - that's the biggest hurdle."

Gabe Magnotta lost his battle against this devastating disease in 2009. It took years for him to get diagnosed and even when treatment started, it was too late for his body to overcome the ravages inside. Since then, Rossana has worked tirelessly alongside CanLyme to bring more awareness about the often misdiagnosed disease. The foundation is named in his memory.

CanLyme urges public to be “tick aware” this season

Tick season has begun in many parts of Canada. Ticks are on the move above -2 degrees C / 28.4 F.

Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in North America. The United States reports over 30,000 cases annually, and estimates the disease can be underreported several fold. Disease carrying ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in Canada and are on the move.

Ticks are found Canada wide. The species of ticks that transmit Lyme disease to humans are only about the size of a poppy seed when they are in the nymphal stage, and only about 3 mm in length in the adult phase. Different species of ticks are capable of transmitting several different diseases to humans including Lyme disease. These ticks are transported randomly throughout Canada by our friendly migratory birds that can also harbour Lyme disease and other diseases in their blood. Remember, no tick is a good tick.

Lyme disease can cause long‐term health issues if not identified and treated early. It can affect the brain, eyesight, hearing, heart, nervous system, muscles, joints, digestive tract, and lymph nodes. Because Lyme disease is a multi‐system disorder many systems of the body can be affected at once, therefore, it can often be misdiagnosed.

Lyme disease is being missed in Canada as doctors are not told of the limitations of blood tests used here, and are not educated as to the complex symptoms that result if not caught and treated early. Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), several forms of arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, bowel disorders, and many other diagnoses.

Ticks can be found anywhere that birds fly: in your lawn, on your pets, in tall grass or brush, on logs or
If outside do not brush up against brush or tall grass, walk in the centre area of trails, and wear a repellent containing DEET.
Pets can carry ticks into your home. Talk to your veterinarian about protecting your pets.

Use fine tipped tweezers to remove an attached tick, being careful not to touch the body of the tick (get as close to the skin as possible then pull backwards). Apply antiseptic to the area immediately. Save the tick if possible and call us, or your local health department. Waiting for blood tests is the wrong way to deal with possible Lyme disease as detectable antibodies do not develop for several weeks, when the disease has disseminated into deep tissue making treatment much more difficult.

Prevention is the best medicine. Be tick aware, NO TICK IS A GOOD TICK!
For more information on prevention please visit

Lyme disease is a serious threat Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada, yet treatment and public awareness are largely inadequate. Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting Lyme research, education and treatment.

**Information from Press release by CanLyme, and from personal discussions with Rossana Magnotta.
** Article in the Toronto Sun

1 comment:

angiejoy said...

I live in the Kawarthas and the ticks were so bad last year that they were crawling up the doors of our local public school. The secretary at the school removes from 1 to 6 ticks daily from the children and staff; last week a kindergarden child had a tick removed from her ear after an EA happened to catch a glimpse of it while the child was running by. I spend a lot of time checking the animals every night before bed.

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