Many Canadian city-goers are unaware of the dangers of Lyme disease in their own surroundings. It is a common misconception that only those who trek deep in the woods are prone to hosting infected ticks. It is also widely believed that symptoms can disappear with basic antibiotics. Unfortunately, the circumstances aren’t so simple. Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada and is more dangerous than one might think; we feel it important to communicate its causes, symptoms, and prevention methods with the rest of the population.
What is Lyme Disease?
Also known as Lyme Borreliosis, Lyme disease is an infectious disease which is caused by Borrelia bacteria. Small, watermelon seed-sized ticks are responsible for spreading it; these ticks originally caught it from their deer, bird, or rodent hosts. Western blacklegged ticks and blacklegged ticks are the culprits, and once they leave their initial hosts, they can find their way onto unsuspecting humans or pets, onto whom they latch and feed on blood for up to two days. Rodents that carry the ticks often find themselves infesting homes and increasing the chances of transferring them to people. Once a person has been infected, their initial symptoms include rash, fever, and headache. If left untreated, which happens quite often due to its common symptoms, chronic Lyme disease can cause neurological problems, meningitis, palsy, and muscle and joint pain.
A Cause for Concern
In 2015, more than 700 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Canada compared to the 128 cases in 2009. Scientists believe that the number of disease-infected ticks has risen dramatically because of the increasing amount of birds migrating to Canada, where climate change is making our backyards more suitably warm.
Not only is the staggering growth of tick population a concern, but our level of knowledge regarding Lyme disease is scarily low. Even doctors are unfamiliar with the disease and deem it unfamiliar territory. Having gone to medical school in Canada, they were not as educated on the disease because it has seldom been an issue in the country before. This leads to doctors giving the wrong diagnosis and many people going for years without proper treatment.
In the meantime, prevention is incredibly important. If you’re going out on a long trek, we strongly recommend taking these precautions:
- wear closed shoes
- wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing
- tuck your pants into your socks
- spray on bug repellant containing deet
These simple actions can help reduce the chance of attracting ticks. Be especially wary in the woodlands or anywhere with tall grass or leaves. Ticks love dark, quiet areas, usually off the beaten path, and hang out in grass or shrubs that make it easy to jump onto unwary victims. It is also crucial to know that they look like little freckles and that, if removed fast enough, can prevent the transfer of disease.
If you are heading out into tick territory, make sure to follow these simple tips on how to prevent becoming a host to one and potentially getting a dangerous disease. Inspect your body afterwards to make sure that nothing got through your clothing barriers, and if they have, consult a doctor right away.
If you have a rodent infestation in your home, there is a possibility that they are carrying ticks. Calling the experts to get rid of your infestation is highly recommended. Our team at Raider Wildlife Control are quick and efficient. Contact us as soon as possible.