Lyme disease is caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. In Ontario, this bacterium is spread by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks (commonly called deer ticks). Blacklegged ticks are the only type of tick in Ontario that can consistently transmit Lyme disease.
Common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are a bull's eye rash (this occurs in approximately 70-80% of cases), fatigue, muscle or joint pain, headache, fever, stiff neck and decreased appetite. The incubation period of the disease ranges from 3-30 days but typically is 7-10 days after an infected blacklegged tick bite.
What to do if you bitten by a tick:
- Remove promptly.
- Consider contacting your primary health care provider. For further information see Bitten by a Tick?
- If the tick was acquired in Hastings County north of Highway 7, please submit it to Public Health for identification and testing.
- Contact Public Health if you have any questions.
For information on protection/prevention please click here: Lyme Disease (Health Canada)
Ontario Lyme Disease Map 2018, Estimated Risk Areas, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion Ontario Health
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNv) is a disease that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. The majority of infected individuals have mild or no symptoms. However, the elderly and those with certain chronic medical problems, including problems with their immune systems, can become ill. Early symptoms of WNv can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache, sudden sensitivity to light, tremors, numbness, or vision loss. The majority of infected individuals have mild symptoms or none at all. In severe cases, WNv can cause inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. If individuals believe they are experiencing early symptoms of WNv, they are encouraged to contact their primary care provider.
Mosquitoes acquire the West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds. You cannot get the disease from person-to-person contact. No specific treatment or vaccination is available for West Nile virus. For severe illness, supportive therapy is provided.
How do I protect myself and my family?
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. If residents need to be outside during this time, they are encouraged to wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and a hat, and use an insect repellant containing DEET or Icaridin. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, removing any sources of standing water such as small pools and birdbaths will help reduce the mosquito population. Ensuring that windows and doors are screened will help keep mosquitos outside.
If residents encounter a dead bird or other dead animal, they are advised not to handle it with bare hands, as it could be carrying WNv. Public Health recommends that dead birds or animals be buried using a shovel and gloves at a depth of at least 50cm in an area that will not be disturbed. Public Health should be notified if clusters of dead birds or animals are found.
For more information, call 613-966-5500 x 677.